Saint Patrick’s Day

Posted in Holidays on March 17, 2012 by esmay013

Shugo Chara

The feast of St. Patrick is celebrated on March 17.

Saint Patrick (387-461) is the Patron Saint of Ireland

The Life of Saint Patrick

As a boy, St. Patrick was kidnapped from Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave.  Several years later he heard the voice of God telling him how to escape.  He eventually returned to convert the Irish people to Christianity.  He died March 17th, 461 in Saul, County Down, Ireland, but was buried in the nearby town of Downpatrick, Country Down, Northern Ireland on Down Cathedral’s Cathedral Hill; visitors can visit the Saint Patrick Visitor Centre to learn about the saint.

Symbols of St. Patrick

To help the Irish people get used to the idea of Christianity, St. Patrick explained the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of the Irish shamrock (clover) and possibly creating the Celtic cross by adding a sun or sun cross to the Christian cross.  

Besides the shamrock, snakes are also a symbol of Saint Patrick, because he is thought to have chased the snakes out of Ireland.  In National Geographic’s article “St. Patrick’s Day Facts: Snakes, a Slave, and a Saint” by John Roach, “classics professor Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa,” author of Saint Patrick of Ireland: A Biography, explains that the stories of Saint Patrick “were likely spread by well-meaning monks centuries after St. Patrick’s death”:

It’s true no snakes exist on the island today, Freeman said. But they never did.

Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.

But since snakes often represent evil in literature, “when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland [and] brought in a new age,” Freeman said (Roach, John. “St. Patrick’s Day Facts: Snakes, a Slave, and a Saint.” National Geographic News. 16 March 2009.)

Green is also associated with Saint Patrick and Ireland, 

 But in Ireland the color was long considered to be unlucky, says Bridget Haggerty, author of The Traditional Irish Wedding and the Irish Culture and Customs Web site.

As Haggerty explains, Irish folklore holds that green is the favorite color of the Good People (the proper name for faeries). They are likely to steal people, especially children, who wear too much of the color.  (Markey, Sean.  “St. Patrick’s Day Fast Facts: Beyond the Blarney.” National Geographic News. 13 March 2006)

St. Patrick was traditionally associated with blue:

St. Patrick’s blue, a lighter shade can still be seen on ancient Irish flags and was used on armbands and flags by members of the Irish Citizen Army, whose 1916 Easter Rising attempted to end British rule. But the use of green on St. Patrick’s Day began during the 1798 Irish Rebellion, when the clover became a symbol of nationalism and the “wearing of the green” on lapels became regular practice. The green soon spread to uniforms as well. That evolution, combined with the idea of Ireland’s lush green fields, eventually made blue a thing of the past. (Romero, Frances. “10 Things You didn’t Know About St. Patrick’s Day: St. Patrick’s Blue.” Time Specials. 16 March 2010)

Saint Patrick’s Day in anime (or lack of)

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t show up in animes.  Irish folk are rarely even in animes; most foreigners are just clumped together, but if they do have a nationality, most are English or American.  So one might think that they don’t celebrate St Patty’s Day (not like American cartoons have Irish characters or anything, but hey, can’t say I ever really thought about if it was or was not celebrated in other countries until I started writing this post), but that is not true apparently; the Japanese have St. Patrick’s Day Parades too.  Surprisingly, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in the US, not Ireland, in 1762:

“Until the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was a minor religious holiday…Eighteenth-century Irish soldiers fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War held the first St. Patrick’s Day parades. Some soldiers, for example, marched through New York City in 1762 to reconnect with their Irish roots” (Roach).    

First promoted in 1992 by Irish Network Japan, the Japanese still celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with several parades and festivals all over Japan with four large parades, including one in Tokyo.  

But back to anime, there actually are a couple of Irish anime characters and animes with Irish settings:

Irish Anime Characters:

 Irish Settings:
  • Kigeki (Comedy):  An 10-minute short set during the Irish War of Independence.  A little girl goes out in search of the Black Knight who she hopes to pursued into saving her town using a book as payment. 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Double Zeta (ZZ): colony falls on Dublin in Episode 33“Afternoon in Dublin”
  • Fractale: futuristic Ireland with “certain scenes…directly taken from Galway city in the west of Ireland”

Comedy

Resources:

White Day

Posted in Holidays on March 14, 2012 by esmay013
Beth and Ed

Dear My Girls

Marshmallow day (White day), now popular as a day of returning the favor of Valentine’s day gift, was originally an idea of the third owner of Ishimuramanseido. ”  The marshmallow is actually tsurunoko, which is a marshmallow surrounding a sweet yellow bean jam center.  Marshmallow Day started in 1977, but in 1978, the National Confectionery Industry Association improved upon it and renamed it White Day.

White Day is celebrated in Japan and South Korea on March 14th.  Men thank the women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day with a present with greater value than what they received; sanbai gaeshi, “triple the return” to be precise.  Popular gifts are cookies, “a necklace, a ring, a handkerchief, a bouquet of flowers and a stuffed animal,” but also presents that are white such as  “white chocolate, white lingerie and marshmallows.”

This day is not as popular as Valentine’s Day; many gifts are not reciprocated.

Anime/Manga:

  • Case Closed (Detective Conan) File 725-727 White Day Murder Case: “White Day Murder,” “The Miraculous Trick,” “Happy White Day”/ Episode 608- 609 White Day of Betrayal
  • Fruits Basket Episode 12 “White Day”
  • Hayate the Combat Butler Season 2 Episode 18 “People Who Nevern Learn on White Day”
  • Shugo Chara! Doki Episode 74 “An Exciting White Day”
  • Strawberry 100% Episode 10 “A Big Thank You”
  • Sgt. Frog Season 01 Episode 49 “Momoka, White Day Operation / Momomka’s Full-proof Love Plan Plan” and Season 3 Episode 151 “Chiruyo Checking up on White Day”
  • xxxHolic Chapter 24, 27 and 32

Happy Birthday to the Pisces

Posted in Astrology/Zodiac on February 20, 2012 by esmay013

Mermaid Melody

Pisces (The Fish)

February 20 – March 20

The Feast of Saint Valentine

Posted in Holidays on February 14, 2012 by esmay013

The Feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated on February 14th, the day Saint Valentine was supposedly martyred.  “Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D. 

Belldandy from Oh! My Goddess!

Saint Valentine (Valentinus), healer and Christian priest:

Patron Saint of beekeepers, engaged couples, greeting card manufactureers, happy marriages, love, lovers, young people

Invoked against: epilepsy, fainting, plague (Calamari 38)

Symbols: a pair of doves symbolizing faithful unions, the sword he was martyred with, the sun of honest knowledge, and the rose of ardent love, martyrs’ palms (Calamari 43).

270 AD To maintain an army, Emperor Claudius II (213-270) of Rome outlawed young men from getting married, believing married men were “unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.”  Valentine continued to wed young couples in secret; when it was discovered, he was executed by being “beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.”

Wedding Peach

Legend says that Saint Valentine sent the first Valentine greeting, signing it “From your Valentine,” to his jailer’s daughter.  The yellow crocus sent with the card was the first thing the blind girl saw after her eyesight was miraculously restored.

“[The jailer’s daughter] is said to have planted an almond tree on Valentine’s grave, and to this day the almond tree is considered a symbol of friendship and devotion” (Calamari 41).

Nunnally (who is Blind) from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

February as the Month of Love

Valentine’s Day may have been used to replace Lupercalia (February 1-15), a Roman fertility festival in honor of the goddess Februata Juno, the god Pan, and the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, who were raised by a wolf in the cave Lupercal;  “The Romans considered this the official beginning of spring, a time of reawakening fertility and warming weather” (Calamari 41).  Single men would choose a woman’s name from an urn and the two would remain a couple for a year, usually resulting in marriage.

Maid-Sama

The Langue d’Oc poetry movement in 12th century southern France had gallants, noble youths, send galantines that were confused with valentine due to pronunciation.  The men were expected to protect the chosen woman’s honor while ” providing her with flowers, poems, and gifts throughout the year”; though in the end, the couple were not permitted to marry each other( Calamari 41-42).

February is also considered a month of love due to the English considering the middle of February as the beginning of mating season since it is when birds begin pairing (Calamari 42).

References:

History Channel’s Valentine’s Day.

Hallmark’s Holidays & Occasions: Valentine’s Day.

Calamari, Barbara and DiPasqua, Sandra. Saints Ancient & Modern. Viking Studio, 2007. pg. 38-43.

Valentine’s Day in Japan

Posted in Holidays on February 10, 2012 by esmay013

Who started Valentine’s in Japan?

Sevearl companies seem to claim they started Valentine’s Day in Japan.

Whoever actually brought in Valentine’s Day or made it successful doesn’t seem to change the fact that Valentine’s Day was merely used as a marketing tool to sell chocolates.  “Now the chocolate companies in Japan sell more than half of their annual sales during the week before Valentine’s Day.

Full Moon

Different from the West

Unlike the West, sending a Valentine’s cards is not common in Japan, and the phrase “Happy Valentines” is not widely used. ”

Valentine’s Day in Japan is not associated with couples going on a date; instead Christmas is seen as a romantic night for couples.

In Western countries, men are expected to give presents–flowers, chocolates, etc.–to their lovers on Valentine’s Day, but not in Japan.  Women are expected to give out chocolates on Valentine’s Day to all of the men in their lives.  During a survey, Morinaga found that both men and women are interested in changing this tradition to the Western tradition.  The company decided to create a new trend of gyaku choco for the lose of chocolate sales from “Japanese women [being] fed up with feeling pressured to buy chocolate for men they don’t care about.”  The company hopes their made up word chokomen, men who give women chocolates, will become popular.

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny

Choco, “chocolate”

The price of the chocolates seem to be related to how much a woman likes the recipient.

  • Giri-choco (“duty/obligation”) are given to bosses, colleagues, family members, and any other men in a woman’s life who nonromantic; if Valentine’s falls on a weekend, co-workers won’t receive chocolates.
  • Cho-giri choco (ultra obligation) are cheap chocolates given to unpopular co-workers.
  • Honmei-choco (“”probable winner/the favorite”) is the chocolates given to a loved one and is the most expensive kind of chocolate or home-made.
  • Tomo-choco (“friend”) is the chocolate given to a female friend.
  • Gyaku Choco (“reverse”) are given by men to women.

Other Information:

Valentine’s Day in Anime/Manga

Posted in Holidays on February 4, 2012 by esmay013

Anime

Fruits Basket

Manga

The Wallflower

Note: It seems like there is always a Valentine’s Day episode in anime, but off the top of my head I can’t remember most of them.  So the list is compiled of whatever I could find and verify as having a Valentine’s Day plot.

HAPPY Chinese NEW YEAR!

Posted in Astrology/Zodiac on January 23, 2012 by esmay013

“The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend. A symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power, the Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine beast – the reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners felt necessary to find and slay. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. Therefore, those people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.” (US Bridal Guide)

23 January 2012 – 9 February 2013: Water Dragon

“Water calms the Dragon’s fire. Water Dragons are able to see things from other points of view. They don’t have the need to always be right. Their decisions, if well-researched, are usually better since they allow other’s to become involved “(Chinese Zodiac).