The Half-Eaten Mind wishes all its readers and community a very happy Diwali.
The Half-Eaten Mind wishes all its readers and community a very happy Diwali.
The season of new beginnings, spring flowers and chocolate eggs returns upon us again. As the days get longer, the temperature picks up (sort of) and the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs come out of hibernation, Easter is now here.
OK, well the weather hasn’t been that great. Some sunshine yes, but also rain, combined with mad and roaring winds like you wouldn’t believe. In Northolt, north west London, wind speeds there on the last day of April reached 60 mph. It’s calmed down a lot though now. The streets around my neighbourhood have practically been blasted clean.
This Easter, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you (or should that be ‘springs at you’) our great gallery of Easter-themed GIFs for 2015. From me to all of you, I wish you a very Happy Easter!!!
What will you all be doing at Easter?
Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hymn”
This Saturday marks the Hindu New Year V.S. 2072. This new year’s day is most keenly celebrated in north India and Nepal, although some peoples such as the Gujaratis, Tamils and Bengalis mark their new year’s on a different date. This new year also marks the beginning of spring and the agricultural season in the northern parts of the Asian subcontinent. It also marks the beginning of the nine-day festival of Navratri, in honour of Goddess Durga.
“The Hindu New Year 2072 or Vikram Nav Varsh Samvant,is celebrated on Chaitra Shukala Pratipada (March – April).
In 2015, the Nav Samvat begins on March 21. The New Year is first day after the Amavasi (No moon) in the month of Chaitra. The current year is known as Keelak Samvatsar.” (Sanwaliya Seth mandir, Chittorgarh)
Vikram Samvat, also alternatively termed as Vikram Samwat, Vikram Sambt, Bikram Samvat, Bikram Samwat and Bikram Sambat, literally means “Vikram’s era”. The Vikram in question was an emperor of ancient India, whose full name was in fact Vikramaditya. He ruled over Ujjain in the Malwa region of central India. This powerful local emperor created the calendar to mark his victory over the Sakas (nomadic invaders from the eastern reaches of Persia) in 56 BC (1 VS). The calendar is a solar year with lunar months.
Celebrations have begun in earnest across much of India and Nepal, where the Vikram Samvat era is official. The governor of the Indian state of Bihar, Keshri Nath Tripathi, extended greetings and warm wishes to celebrants, remarking “I earnestly wish may the New Year bring happiness, peace and prosperity in everyone’s life..” India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also gave greetings to the communities celebrating today. In a temple (mandir) in Udaipur, western India, dedicated to Lord Ram, priests presided over a two-hour long puja prayer ceremony using holy water from seven sacred rivers across their country.
For Kashmiri Pandits, an exiled community from the Kashmir region, it is ‘Navreh’. For Maharashtrians, today marks ‘Gudi Padwa‘. The Sindhis know it as Cheti Chand and for the southern state of Karnataka, it is Ugadi, while eastwards in the state of Manipur, the locals get down to marking the occasion of Sajibu Nongmapanba. Some Buddhists and Parsis also mark festivals around about this time.
In the spirit of the new year, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a gallery of cool and fun images from around the web marking the first day of 2072 V.S….. “Nutan Varsh Abhinandan” !!!
This year, the Chinese New Year will fall on Thursday, February 19, and according to the hallowed annals of the ancient zodiac from which originated the animals and their associated years, we will see the dawn of the Year of the Sheep. The sheep in question is said to be specifically the female Wood Sheep, although some will say it is the Green Sheep. Whichever material or colour the sheep of 2015 will arrive as, the New Year will be a time of new beginnings, family reunions and much excitement.
The sheep is considered a lucky animal, attached to the easy life. An important and ubiquitous creature even today in the rural areas of the world’s most populous nation, the sheep is associated with the elements of earth and wood in the Chinese Five Element theory. Interestingly enough, some users of the Chinese zodiac in fact will state it will soon be the Year of the Goat, another farmyard animal that enjoys nibbling vegetation, although with a range restricted to pastures and mountains in northern China.
The confusion over whether this new lunar year is in honour of the sheep or goat stems from the use of the Mandarin word ‘yang’ to describe this year. The problem is, ‘yang’ can be used to refer to many kinds of herbivorous animals with cloven feet, including sheep, goats, camels and even gazelles, according to Isaac Yue, a professor of Chinese religion and mythology at the University of Hong Kong (interviewed by CNN).
People born in the Year of the Sheep (or Goat or Ram) are said to be tender, kind-hearted, family oriented and endowed with an intelligent nature while being humble and polite. You shouldn’t expect too much boasting bravado or fiery tempers to come out of a Sheep. They are also said to be good with business dealings and can be relied upon to keep the household budget in the black in their everyday economics. They are also aesthetically pleasing with symmetrical faces and figures, if you believe the old legends.
Previous years of the Sheep/Goat this and last century were:- 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003.
Whichever animal takes pride of place in this year’s fantastic celebrations, I’ll be wishing you a very happy Year of the Sheep or Goat.
Here is our selection of lucky images for the occasion. Enjoy!!!
2015….new year…new beginnings….new opportunities.
I just can’t believe it that within three days, we’ll be approaching the middle of the decade, and that it has been fifteen years since the dawn of the Millennium (Year 2000). Those of you reading who were alive then might remember how everyone was harping on about the Y2K Bug and how all our electronics and computers would fail and airplanes would plummet out of the sky. Well, we survived that. Let’s hope we don’t get slain by too much cola/champagne and giant New Year’s meals.
In 2015, I’ll be in my fourth decade of life, and so I want it to be the year for me. I’m hoping that I will get a comfy job with decent pay, a nice place to live (even if it is another houseshare for now) and hopefully I’ll find love too. Never say never. What are your ambitions and resolutions for the New Year 2015?.
Anyway let’s put away the personal musings for now, and let’s get down to business. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have a tradition on the Half-Eaten Mind of offering my own hand-picked choice of the best images to celebrate the arrival of a brand new 365 and a quarter days. These images are a reminder that apart from of course celebrating New Years, we also take a clean new look at things, wipe our slates clean and start afresh.
As Wikipedia notes: “2015 (MMXV) will be a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (dominical letter D), the 2015th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 15th year of the 3rd millennium, the 15th year of the21st century, and the 6th year of the 2010s decade.
Among some of the expected events to happen in 2015 will be the commencement of the Eurasian Economic Union, a political and economic union of sorts between the countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus on New Year’s Day itself. Also on January 1, 2015, Lithuania will wave goodbye to the litas, its currency, and adopt the euro in line with many other European Union states (Latvia did the same in 2014; it’s old currency was the lat). In April, NASA‘s Dawn spacecraft is expected to arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres as we seek to build upon our rapidly increasingly knowledge of the smaller bodies in our solar system. The European Space Agency will also partner with NASA to launch other space probes in July. Finally, in May, the long-awaited trading fair Expo 2015 will be held in Milan, Italy.
2015 is certainly shaping up to be a year of achievements. I’m hoping it will be like that for me too 🙂
Without further ado, here is my choice of the best 2015 NYD pictures. As always, original copyrights belong to the original designers and websites I have obtained my images from. Have a look, fill your heart with New Year’s revelry and wave goodbye to 2014. She’s had her fun.
Gregorian calendar 2015 MMXV
Ab urbe condita 2768
Armenian calendar 1464 ԹՎ ՌՆԿԴ
Assyrian calendar 6765
Bahá’í calendar 171–172
Bengali calendar 1422
Berber calendar 2965
British Regnal year N/A
Buddhist calendar 2559
Burmese calendar 1377
Byzantine calendar 7523–7524
Chinese calendar 甲午年 (Wood Horse) 4711 or 4651 — to — 乙未年 (Wood Goat) 4712 or 4652
Coptic calendar 1731–1732
Discordian calendar 3181
Ethiopian calendar 2007–2008
Hebrew calendar 5775–5776
– Vikram Samvat 2071–2072
– Shaka Samvat 1937–1938
– Kali Yuga 5116–5117
Holocene calendar 12015
Igbo calendar 1015–1016
Iranian calendar 1393–1394
Islamic calendar 1436–1437
Japanese calendar Heisei 27 (平成２７年)
Juche calendar 104
Julian calendar Gregorian minus 13 days
Korean calendar 4348
Minguo calendar ROC 104 民國104年
Thai solar calendar 2558
Unix time 1420070400–1451606399
The Half-Eaten Mind would like to wish all our followers, readers, visitors, supporters, family and friends in advance a very happy and successful 2015.
With only a week and a half to go until old Saint Nick squeezes down our chimneys with his big bag of goodies, the Half-Eaten Mind once again brings you a special edition wallpaper and a selection of festive animated images to outshine any Christmas tree.
A good time is coming, I wish it were here,
The very best time in the whole of the year;
I’m counting each day on my fingers and thumbs –
the weeks that must pass before Santa Claus comes.
Then when the first snowflakes begin to come down,
And the wind whistles sharp and the branches turn brown,
I’ll not mind the cold, though my fingers it numbs,
For it brings the time nearer when Santa Claus comes.
While I’ve outgrown the whole Santa Claus thing, having seen my Mum come home too many times with bags of presents from Primark and Argos; and the house where I now live has no fireplace and chimney for Santa to fall through, and brandy and cookies are so extortionate in price I’d be broke before I’d even bought the Christmas cards, the legend of the bearded one in the red cardigan is still a very magical one, especially for the kids.
The HEM wallpaper for Christmas 2014 pays homage to the chubby old dude with the reindeer-driven sleigh and the cheery “ho ho ho“, by showing him at what he does best, squeezing his ample frame down chimney stacks.
I used a pre-made Christmas wallpaper from the HD Wallpapers site. This cheery and wintry wallpaper with Santa and his cute reindeer buddies was produced by Zanetine Web Design http://zanetine.com/ who mainly specialise in website building for commercial clients and are based in Amritsar, in the Punjab state of India. I then worked my Christmassy creative magic by uploading the original to the piZap image production site and added a few snowy effects and a reindeer bringing gifts for boys and girls good as gold. Add to that some blog branding with a Yuletide touch and within half-an-hour I was done and dusted. I’m sure Santa will give me an extra prezzie this Xmas just for this adorable wallpaper. Let me know what you think in the comments!!
You’ll be seeing this wallpaper as the official background of the Half-Eaten Mind up until our New Years‘ special shortly before the end of the Christmas break. It will also take pride of place on the HEM Twitter and Facebook pages too, so however you interact with the Half-Eaten Mind, we’ll be spreading some special Christmas cheer as Santa makes his way doing the same on a far grander scale through the night skies.
From myself at the Half-Eaten Mind, I would like to wish of you and your loved ones a very happy Christmas, full of joy, happiness, excitement….and mince pies!
Now….here come the GIFs.
Taken from various free animated image sites, HEM has brought you a healthy mix of the funny, sparkly and traditional, including many vintage examples from the early days of the popular internet (2000’s onwards). Hope you enjoy them, and of course they are free to borrow for your own use. After all, Christmas is about sharing!!
Yesterday, on Diwali day itself, I was able to spend time with my family at my mother’s house. It was a beautiful and magical occasion of enjoyment with some of the most special people in my life. There was lots of hugs and smiles as we greeted each other “Happy Diwali”. Mum treated me to a dish of her very delicious vegetarian chilli-con-carne and tasty Indian sweets. We had a quiz game on my brother’s PS4 (out of five players, I came top with a final score of 4,000 points) and later went around the house lighting diyas (lamps) in honour of the festival of lights.
Prompted by a blogging friend who saw my previous post on this year’s HEM selection of animated images on the theme of Diwali and suggested I post up pictures of the event, I here present a gallery of photos of Diwali in the Shah household. Many, many thanks to Anjali and Arjun for contributing pictures to this gallery, and to Suraj, who offered me a chance to take some pictures after he had lit some candles on the mantelpiece.
You can find full-resolution versions of the images in this gallery on the Half-Eaten Mind. Just look out for the square moving Flickr icon on the top of this page. Once you’re on the Flickr site, search for the “Diwali 2014/2070” album. Images refined and watermarked with piZap.
For the Gregorian year 2014 and the Vikram Samvat year 2071, the festival of lights, Diwali, will fall on Thursday, October 23. It will be a time to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi Devi into our homes to bring Her divine graces and blessings on our families and homes. Lamps (diyas/divas) are lit to welcome Her into our humble abodes and bestow upon us her gifts of prosperity and wellbeing.
Diwali also means spending time with the family, exchanging gifts and wishing each other well. Plates and thalis laden with sweets beckon hungry stomachs and sweet teeth over, while living rooms and courtyards across the world see shadows and smiling faces flicker under the glow of a thousand flames. The skies become a rapturous applause of bright colours, sparks and bangs as a million fireworks launch themselves far into the night sky. Everyone gets out their best sarees, dresses, sherwanis, kurtas and suits because for millions of people across the world, the joyous festival of lights comes but just once a year.
Here in London, the days are getting shorter and the cold is creeping in. As the last of the summer slowly drains away into recent memory, Diwali offers a unique occasion to get away from the darkness and bathe ourselves in holy light. To replace the biting cold winds with the warm scent of freshly made pakoras and roti. A festival of colour being the perfect antidote to the grey and unforgiving climes of late October.
I look forward a lot to this festival…especially as I get to raid my mum’s trays of what us Mauritians call gato Diwali…otherwise known as mithai or Indian sweets… 😛
There are many stories from Hinduism that tell of how Diwali (Deepavali) came as a gift from God to humanity. The most well known is of course from the epic Ramayaan (Ramayana) concerning the return of Lord Ram and his consort Sita to their kingdom of Ayodhya after a long fourteen years’ exile and a battle of good versus and evil against the mahasur or great demon Ravana. It is said that the citizens of Ayodhya lit lamps along the main road out of the forest of Lord Ram’s exile towards his earthly home to guide Him back to his rightful place on the throne.
Diwali also represents the celebration of the incarnation of Lakshmi Devi. She was given the grace of God to appear during the churning of the primordial ocean that begun the world, the Samudra Manthan, which is one of the few occasions where Gods and demons co-operated. The Goddess of prosperity and wealth soon established the special Lakshmi Puja, or prayer, which is now a standard part of the religious angle of Diwali. The festival also commemorates the destruction of the thieving demon Narakasur, the hellish one, by Lord Krishna, in which the God also liberated 16,000 captives from the demon’s dastardly clutches.
Since the Half-Eaten Mind brought its own brand of news reporting and colour to the blogosphere just over two years ago, we have developed our own unique way of celebrating Diwali as well as many other festivals. With the help of a bit of regular internet research and a flicker of creativity, we have established a tradition of sharing with our readers a selection of our best GIFs to mark the Diwali season as well as a wallpaper/poster image designed especially for the occasion.
For Diwali 2014, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you our top-class, top-rated Diwali GIFs gallery and a special wallpaper. On behalf of myself, and my family, I would like to wish you and yours in advance a very auspicious, happy and prosperous Diwali.
May this Diwali be as bright as ever.
May this Diwali bring joy, health and wealth to you.
May the festival of lights brighten up you and your nearest and dearest ones’ lives.
May this Diwali bring for you the most brightest and choicest happiness and love you have ever wished for.
May this Diwali bring you the utmost in peace and prosperity.
May light triumph over darkness.
May peace transcend the earth.
May the spirit of the light illuminate the world.
May the light that we celebrate at Diwali show us the way and lead us together on the path of peace and social harmony.
“WISHING YOU A VERY HAPPY DIWALI”
(Greeting by Naresh Gupta)
Our official HEM greetings poster….
The Half-Eaten Mind’s festive wallpaper for Diwali this year features a background of what most people know as ‘Big Ben’ but known officially as the Elizabeth Tower. The monument forms part of the Houses of Parliament here in London, and this is a landmark well-known among tourists and Londoners. Much of the initial work, including the HEM logo and initial text was done in the photo editing site Lunapic with the remainder added in via our old favourite piZap. The traditional lamp comes courtesy of ‘zeimusu’, a creator of open-source cliparts.
…and now…our Diwali GIFs…..
This Sunday is the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, which celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, siblings get together. The sister ties a length of specially designed string around the brother’s right wrist and prays for his wellbeing and long life, while the brother gives her gifts and sweets and re-affirms his protection and care for her. It can also be celebrated between male and female cousins and even nowadays with friends.
It is observed by Hindu, Sikhs and Jains in countries such as India, Mauritius, Nepal and in expatriate communities across the globe. In my religion it takes place on the full moon day of the month of Shravan. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Raksha Bandhan translates as “tie/bond of protection” and has its roots in the pastimes of God as mentioned in our holy scriptures. One such story is that “Deity Lakshmi tied a rakhi onto the wrist of the king Bali thus making him Her brother and therefore helping liberate Lord Narayan i.e. Vishnu. That day as per the Hindu lunar calendar was ‘Shravan Paurnima (Purnima)’.”
“By tying this wristband (raksha) onto your wrist I am binding you just like the powerful and generous King Bali was bound by it. O wristband, do not get displaced.”
The rakhi is the string adornment presented by the sister around her brother’s wrist, usually made up of silk or cotton. It can be simple or have an elaborate design featuring paste or semi-precious stones, religious symbols and beadwork inspired by Indian traditions in embroidery and crafts. They are usually coloured red, but can be of many bright colours, often in the same rakhi. There are even children’s versions that feature cartoon characters and some are equipped with miniature toys, although some feel this trivialises the sanctity of the festival.
Raksha Bandhan is a unique and remarkable festival that celebrates and highlights the unbreakable bond between siblings and between families. That even though the rakhi may eventually weaken and fall off, the importance of caring and treasuring your siblings can never fall away. The sacred bond should always remain strong. The rakhi is beautiful yet strong, just like a sister’s love, and as every sister is different and special in her own way, so is every rakhi. By seeing the rakhi firmly tied to his wrist every day, the brother is reminded that his sister is always there for him and likewise he is poignantly reminded of her love and compassion in his life and his need to support her. As a family member, as a sister, as a confidante, as his best friend.
On this auspicious occasion, the Half-Eaten Mind presents a selection of Raksha Bandhan festival themed wallpapers for you to download and send as virtual greetings for your dearest siblings today.
I dedicate this article to my sweet and wonderful sisters Sherrie, Alia, and Anjali.
Though they don’t all officially celebrate, I want to be thankful for them being in my life and being the blossoms that bring fragrance to my happiness. I am blessed to share my life with each and every one of you xxxxxxxx
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
A Sister Like You
Someone who will understand
Who knows the way I feel
In every situation
Her concern is very real
Someone who has walked my ways
Who knows my every need
Times when she would see me cry
Her heart would nearly bleed
Everyone should have a sister
Just the way I do
Richly blessed is what I am
To have a sister like you
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
It’s that time of year again.
For the second time and after a two-year gap, the blog editor in his capacity as the official representative of the Half-Eaten Mind took a trip to Down Lane Park, in north London to visit the Mauritian Open Air Festival, the biggest outdoor celebration of Mauritian culture, music and food outside of the island itself. This is my first return visit since 2012, and what can I say, it is even better than back then.
While I made my own journey there through London’s tricky weekend commuting lines, I had the pleasure of meeting up with one of my sisters (Anjali), my Mum, two of my aunts (Aunties Fifi and Fareeda), and my cousins Shaun and Soraya. We first did a tour of the stalls, sampling authentic food from our country, such as dhol puri (flat bread with a filling of lentils and with a curry sauce containing butter beans), napolitaine (cake-like biscuit with a covering of icing, usually pink), pudin vermicel (dry pudding made with vermicelli pasta) and the usual soft drinks, as the temperature was hitting 25 degrees Celsius. The youngers ones went off to get Mauritian flags painted on their cheeks, before my family managed to deftly secure themselves ringside seats near a pair of deafening woofers.
Occupying the stage was local Mauritian talent DJ Vish who played a succession of classic and new sega and soca hits in between acts. We also got to see live performances by Synergy, Belgian rapper Supershane, Mauritian singers and husband-and-wife team Laura Beg and Alain Ramanisum, who are like chalk and cheese in looks and personalities, but actually compliment each other very well in their mission to keep Mauritian musical culture as relevant as ever. Alongside them was Jean-Claude Gaspard. His longevity and back catalogue could easily make him the Mauritian equivalent of James Brown, but with less of the exuberant shouting and booty-shaking. He and Alain spellbound the hundreds-strong crowd with faithful and peppy renditions of the kind of classic songs like ‘Bhai Abou’ that my mother grew up listening to. Other highlights were the gorgeous and very elastic members of the Jalsa des Iles sega dance troupe (a reliable MOAF fixture) and the superbly breathtaking Omaz Sega Band, as well as a meet-and-greet with Mr. and Miss England. All of this plus a funfair amidst the serenity and tranquility of a inner London park. Just like myself, MOAF is a diverse and awe-inspiring amalgamation of the best of England and Mauritius. Well maybe not so much myself.
There were some funny and downright strange moments. The distinctive smell of cannabis wafting through the air at a couple of points, a malfunctioning turntable, unicorn balloons floating off into the stratosphere, crazy family dance-offs, arms stacked to the top with plates of food and a drunken fat concertgoer in a red t-shirt and Switzerland cap who couldn’t help but invade people’s personal space with his inebriated attempts at the sensuality of sega dancing. All this while a drone armed with cameras hovered across the ecstatic flag-waving crowd. It is probably no coincidence that ‘Mauritian’ and ‘madness’ both begin with the same two letters. I kid, I kid!!.
Though I nearly lost my hearing because of standing too close to the speakers, it was a great day to be had. It’s not often that I get chance to really involve myself in Mauritian culture but MOAF is the perfect time to do so. Us Mauritians certainly know how to party. This event is the latest reincarnation in a long tradition of outdoors cultural events for the UK’s Mauritian community, and I would say it is the best such event yet, that really makes me glad to have Mauritian heritage and to be a part of a very unique and positive-minded people and island. Plus you get tonnes of freebies. Everyone loves freebies.
To celebrate MOAF and all good things Mauritian, we have brought you exclusive and perfected photos of the event, taken by myself and Anjali and edited/improved using our reliable fixture, the pizap website. For those of you who have not yet had the chance to be at this spectacular festival, this will give you an idea of what it is like to be right there.
Nissa la monte!!!
The Half-Eaten Mind visited the Mauritian Open Air Festival, in Down Lane Park, Tottenham on the Sunday 3rd August 2014.
If you wish to see the pictures from the Mauritian Open Air festival in better and higher resolution, then visit this link to the “Mauritian Open Air Festival 2014” album on the Half-Eaten Mind Flickr page.
Further links and info: