Month: December 2014

Bizarre Ways New Year’s Eve is Celebrated Around the World

“Bizarre Ways New Year’s Eve is Celebrated Around the World”

by Emily Payne via “Daily Mail

There’s more to New Years Eve than Hogmanay and Jools Holland.

Revellers around the globe will be celebrating in a number of weird and wonderful ways – many of which put party poppers and bubbly to shame.

In Siberia and Russia, there is a tradition to dive into a frozen lake, while holding a tree trunk, which is placed under the ice.

Meanwhile, in Romania farmers try to communicate with their animals on New Years Eve. If they are successful it is believed they will have good luck for the next year.

Over in Burma people splash water on one another to start the new year with a more purified soul and in the Czech Republic, revellers cut an apple in half then inspect its shape to see what the next 356 days hold.

Wearing red underwear in Italy is thought to bring love, prosperity and good luck and in Venice people gather in St Marks square to partake in a mass kissing session.

That puts us Brits to shame who see in festivities by holding hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.

An infographic of all the weird and wonderful ways that NYE is celebrated throughout the world


Items of Jewish victims of Theresienstadt discovered during house renovations

“Items of Jewish victims of Theresienstadt discovered during house renovations”

via “World Jewish Congress

Terezin (Theresienstadt), a fortress and garrison town built at the end of the 18thcentury, was used by the Nazis as a transit camp for Jews rounded up in Czechoslovakia and deported from elsewhere in Europe. They were held in the ghetto until they could be transported to camps farther east.

Nearly 160,000 Jews went throughTerezin. Most perished either there or in the death camps of Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. The camp remained in operation from autumn of 1941 till its liberation in May 1945.

The discovery of the objects, some of which bore their owner’s names, was disclosed by the Ghetto Theresienstadtproject, which is funded by German and Czech sponsors. “The unexpected finds such as these suggest that an abundance of precious legacies from the ghetto period are still waiting to be discovered in buildings throughout Terezin,” the group said in a news release.

The group said the highlight of the find was the head tefillin, a small black capsule containing a handwritten parchment scroll with the “Hear, O Israel” verses from Deuteronomy. The home owners discovered the objects while replacing a roof truss in their attic in November. “In their view, the way that the objects were concealed under the beams indicates the great importance that the prisoners gave in hiding their possessions,” the group said.


Wisteria Lamps 1901

Can I just say “JEALOUS!” I pretty seriously love these! **DB

“2 Wisteria Lamps Centerpiece of Tiffany Auction”

by “Washington Times

The Associated Press

Two nearly identical Tiffany wisteria lamps designed in 1901 have sold for over $1 million each at auction.

They sold at Sotheby’s on Wednesday. One sold for $1,205,000, the other for $1,145,000.

They were part of a group of seven Tiffany lamps collected by dealer Sandra van den Broek over three decades. The current owner acquired them over the past 10 years.

The two leaded-glass lamps are successively numbered, indicating the 2,000 pieces for each were cut from the same sheets of glass. They came into Van den Broek’s possession 15 years apart.

The shade was designed by Tiffany Studios artist Clara Driscoll.

The auction also featured 34 other Tiffany lots. Among the highlights was a 25-light lily chandelier owned by descendants of the Havermeyer family. It sold for $149,000.



Hi Everyone!

Sorry to have been absent the last two weeks.  Life has been a little crazy here in China with the end of the semester and everything.  The final exam included a 10 minute interview one-on-one with the professor (me) to discuss their final papers. In Chinese student terms, this meant a 30-45 minute interview (gotta love overachievers).  So I just interviewed 160+ students over two weeks at 30-45 minutes a pop.  Plus, my students are all leaving seniors this semester, so they have been dropping by to say goodbye before they head off to their new jobs. 0_0 Suffice to say it’s been a little crazy.  

But finals are over again, so posts will start up again next week!

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year!

**DB (Olivia)

“In the Wild North”


“in the Wild North” by Ivan Shishkin (1891)