Thursday, 28 March 2013

Celebrating Easter



With Easter just around the corner, we thought we would take a look at how this holiday is celebrated from country to country.

Source: Wikicommons

In Germany it is customary for people take part in the ‘Egg Dance’. This involves laying eggs on the ground and dancing around them whilst trying not to break the eggs – not as easy as it sounds we’re sure! It is also common for people to hang brightly coloured eggs from trees as opposed to countries such as the UK where eggs are hidden away to be found.

Over in Greece, it is popular to paint eggs red before using them to make Easter bread called Tsoureki whilst in village of Vrontados, on the island of Chios, it’s fireworks that take centre stage. Well, rockets actually. Just before Easter Sunday, two Orthodox churches fire rockets at each other in an attempt to hit the bells in the opposite tower creating a fantastic display that’s watched by the whole island.

In the UK it is tradition that on the Thursday before Easter, the Queen gives away Maundy Money which in modern times is a specially minted coin given to certain individuals. The value of the coin is always equal to the Queens age so this year it will be 86 pence.

Finally, and one for foodies to note is in the town of Haux in France, there is an Easter Monday tradition of serving up a giant omelette. This is not just any omelette but a 4,500-egg omelette that feeds 1,000 people. This feast apparently dates back to Napoleonic times when Napoleon travelled through the town and decided he liked the omelettes so much he ordered the town to make a giant omelette for his army the next day.
 
What are Easter celebrations like in your country? How does being an expat make Easter different? Leave us a comment in the box below.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Traditional remedies from around the world



Illness is a great leveller. No matter where you are in the world, or how hard the sun is shining, a bad cold can really stop you in your tracks. But what do you do if you have just moved to a new country and haven’t had time to stock up your medicine cabinet? Or worse still, you don’t know where the nearest pharmacy is? 

When it comes to moving abroad, nothing can beat planning ahead (that goes for sorting out the location of your nearest hospital and doctor’s surgery too). However, for centuries people have been relying on natural ingredients to help them on the path to recovery. In this post, we take a look at some interesting home remedies from around the world.

  
Source: Wikicommons

Ginger is a pain relieving, antiseptic and antioxidant and has been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid and remedy for nausea. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is used to relieve cold and flu symptoms including headaches and coughs. It can also come crystallised for those with a sweet tooth.

Source: Wikicommons

Garlic has been used as a home remedy for many years to fight cold symptoms. The cold-fighting compound in garlic is thought to be allicin, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Allicin is what gives garlic its distinctive hot flavor. Ginger is easy to come by and is used in a variety of cuisines from Japanese, Thai to French.  

Source: Wikicommons 

Chili peppers are packed with vitamin C, which is a good for a strong immune system. When it comes to medicinal qualities, chilies are believed to treat a range of illnesses, including arthritis, due to the compound capsaicin that acts as an anti-inflammatory. However, beware of using too much of this fiery little fruit in food if you can’t take spice!

Source: Wikicommons
 
Honey isn’t just good on a sore throat. This sweet treat has antibacterial properties and is used to treat wounds and infections. Manuka honey in particular is thought to be beneficial for use on minor burns when applied in a thin layer directly in to the affected area. Just try not to lick it off!

Back in September of last year, Gillian Kemmerer blogged about combatting illness abroad. Check it out for some additional tips on keeping healthy in your new home.

You may want to try out some of these home remedies, however, always be sure to check with a medical professional first.


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