Once in a Blue Moon in Spain

Sahpnihn (Dou) Mfuhng Yatyeuhn: once in a blue moonIn Hong Kong, people use both the solar and lunar calendars.  There are ten days fewer in one lunar year than in a solar year, so an extra month (yeuhnyuht) is added every three years to make up the difference.  An exaggerated saying rose out of this practice: sahpnihn (dou) mfuhng yatyeuhn, meaning to not have a leap year in ten years, or "once in a blue moon."The highlight of my Spain experience happened on the high-speed train between Madrid … [Read more...]

Splendid Spanish Sights

Jeukhei Luhngpouh Dou Mchih Taaiji: even if you wear a dragon robe, you won't look like the crown princeIn ancient China, ordinary people used cotton clothes while high-ranking leaders wore official attire.  The king and crown prince, though, could put on a dragon robe (luhngpouh).Before traveling to Spain, my husband and I debated about clothing choices.  Should we wear shorts, or would that be too odd and informal?  I settled on a combination of shorts, jeans, and skirts.  What about … [Read more...]

It’s All About the Food

Sihk Chat Gam Sihk: eat and drink as much as you canIt is believed that seven days after a man dies, his ghost returns to visit his kin.  On that day, ritual ceremonies are performed by a monk ("jouh chat").  The routine repeats on each subsequent seven-day cycle until the 49th day when family and friends gather together and eat a vegetarian meal of seven dishes.  They can eat and drink as much as possible without paying.  This is known as Sihk Chat Gam Sihk.  During our recent trip to Spain, my … [Read more...]

Soaking up Spain

Paakto: to go out, date The Pearl River runs through the city of Guangdong (previously Canton).  Due to its wide banks and its busy water traffic, people use a special way to pull boats through the river.  They place two boats side by side and tie them together with ropes.  When one of them moves, the other follows.  This method is called Paakto, and the term is also used to describe lovers who walk hand in hand.Sun Moon Lake, TaiwanI am proof that you can still paakto after marriage.  My … [Read more...]