Column: Worth loving

Magha Puja – the full moon festival in Southeast Asia

magha-puja_198x198Māgha Pūjā is an important Buddhist holiday that is celebrated in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka, on the day of the full moon, in the third month of the Thai moon calendar, in February/March. The word Māgha refers to month and Pūjā is the honoring. Legend has it that on this day 1,250 monks congregated to meet with Buddha. [read more]

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Eugene Shoemaker and the Moon as final resting place

shoemaker_198x198Many people dream about making a journey into space sometime, or setting foot on a celestial body. And despite the fascinating images and movie footages we are able to enjoy here on Earth, the wish remains to experience this sight for ourselves. The German scientist and astronaut Ulrich Walter, recently related that the view onto the Earth in weightlessness and the realization not to be the centre, would change the individual thinking in a profound way. »Up there« in space, he was always happy. [read more]

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Moon boots

moon-boots_198x198Who does not know the »moon boots« – these bulky snow boots, which appeared in the 70′s and 80′s and have taken their claim ever since in the winterly fashion scene. The Italian Giancarlo Zanatta designed the shoes, inspired by the moon landing in 1969. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore overshoes with wide soles, which provided the formal inspiration for moon boots. Zanatta took immediate care of the production of the shoes with his company called Tecnica, which is run by his son Alberto Zanatta today, and still sells up to 700,000 pair per year. [read more]

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Moon bridges

moonbridge-taipei_198x198A moon bridge is a pedestrian bridge, of which the semicircular arch completes a full circle through its reflection in the water and reminds of the full moon. In the old days, the high arch especially, served the purpose for barges to comfortably pass through underneath. Moon bridges originate in the Asian culture and were often built in Japanese and Chinese gardens.  The mostly used materials were wood, stone and metal.

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The Chinese moon goddess Chang’e

chang-e_198x198Chang’e is the Chinese moon goddess. She does not symbolically represent the Moon, like for example the Greek moon goddess Selene, but Chang’e lives on the Moon and is befriended with the well-known rabbit that is very familiar to us. But has she always been up there?

The legend says that she got there some thousand years ago. There are different versions of the story, which we don’t want to elaborate on. In any case, her husband Hou Yi plays a central role, who came to help because of his skillfulness in archery, when ten suns threatened to burn the Earth and he shot down nine from the sky. [read more]

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The department store John Lewis and the »Man On The Moon«

man-on-the-moon_198x198The Christmas advertising campaigns of the well known English department store John Lewis, have developed into a yearly tradition since their start in 2007 and have become part of pre-Christmas Internet culture. John Lewis has been awarded the »IPA Effectiveness Award« with its 2012 Christmas campaign. This year, the video called »Man On The Moon« was published – parallel to the Christmas full moon on 25th December 2015. [read more]

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»The Moonlit Night« by Joseph von Eichendorff

eichendorff_198x198The German poet and novelist Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788–1857) counts among the foremost representatives of Romanticism. Many of his poems had been set to music and were sung.

Von Eichendorff, born in Ratibor (today Racibórz in Poland), studied originally law and worked in a variety of administrative civil service positions, up until he retired. Simultaneously, he devoted his time to his writing and publishing skills, until he died from pneumonia in 1857. [read more]

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The Roman Lunula Amulet

lunula-amulet_198x198In the Ancient Roman Empire, lunula amulets were often worn as a lucky charm, but also as protection against evil forces and demons. Special crescent-shaped jewelry pieces were made for girls, to grant them the protection of the goddess Diana. Diana is the goddess of the Moon and also of hunting in Roman mythology. Artemis is the equivalent among the Greek Gods. [read more]

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The song »Fly Me To The Moon«

frank-sinatra_198x198The jazz classic »Fly Me To The Moon«, originally written by Bart Howard in 1954, gained worldwide fame through Frank Sinatra (1915–1998). His version from 1964 accompanied the space mission Apollo 10 to the Moon in May of 1969, and was played when the spaceship orbited the Moon. Further, it was the first song ever that was played on the Moon, when Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon with a portable cassette player during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. [read more]

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The moonlight in »How to Train Your Dragon«

train-your-dragon_198x198The film is based on the book of the same title by Cressida Cowell (2003), was released in 2010 in movie theaters and became one of the most successful animations and earned nearly $500 million. Next to its impressive technical quality of the animation, it is most of all about the story of Hickup, a son of a Viking, who flies directly into the hearts of the audience, with his ability to tame dragons, which was a hostile skill to have up until then. [read more]

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»The Moon has been arising« …

matthias-claudius_198x198… this line from the poem »Evening Song« from 1778, by the poet Matthias Claudius (1740–1815), belongs to the best-known poems in German literature, not least of all because it was set to music many times; hence, it does not only remain in one’s memory because of its lyrics, but also because of its melody. Especially as a lullaby, everyone has surely heard it before or even sang it to the children:
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»Wau Bulan« – the moon-kite of Malaysia

wau-bulan_198x198As already mentioned before, the Moon assumes a special status in Asia as well. There are a few important festivals, which are closely connected to the Moon, like for example the Moon Festival and the Lantern Festival in China, or many celebrations in Buddhism and Hinduism.

In Malaysia, in South East Asia, there is a traditional kite called  »wau bulan«, whereas »wau« stands for kite and »bulan« for the Moon. The kite got its name because of its moon crescent-shaped lower part. When you fly this kite, it supposed to remind of the rising Moon. [read more]

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The full moon in »Frozen«

frozen_198x198This animation of 2013 is the most successful movie by the Disney Animation Studios yet, and supersedes the previous hit »The Lion King«. Not only in the US and Japan, but this production also received many awards in Germany (amongst other things the Oscar 2014 for ›Best Animated Feature‹ and ›Best Original Song‹) and was a box office hit. [read more]

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The Moon Child in »The Neverending Story«

moonchild_198x198When the German author Michael Ende wrote »The Neverending Story« from 1977 to 1979, he created a milestone amongst the fantasy children and youth literature. The story about the shy boy Bastian Balthasar Bux on his adventure trip through the world of Fantastica, fascinated millions of readers of all age groups and has been translated into 40 languages up to date.   [read more]

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»It was dark, the moon was shining bright« – a German poem

old-book_198x198There is a German poem called »Dunkel war’s, der Mond schien helle«, in which the first line has been dedicated to the Moon and which boasts special features. For one thing, nobody knows who wrote the poem, which is quite unusual coming from the »land of poets and thinkers«. For another thing, it is based on the principle of the »oxymoron«. This is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that are contradictory or that are created from terms which are mutually exclusive. Straight away, the first line reveals this principle, because it cannot be »dark«, when the Moon is shining »bright«. [read more]

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DreamWorks – the boy on the crescent moon

dreamworks_198x198The American film studio DreamWorks SKG was founded by movie director Steven Spielberg, Disney head of animation Jeffrey Katzenberg and music producer David Geffen, in 1994 (the initials of the founders create the »SKG« in the company’s name). The opening credits of its movies, DreamWorks shows a boy, who sits on the waxing crescent moon while fishing and being surrounded by impressive cloud formations. [read more]

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»Shrek« … the full moon again and again

shrek_198x198Who doesn’t know the bilious green, clumsy and yet endearing ogre with a heart of gold. »Shrek« is a series of computer animated motion pictures, which was the most costly computer animated production with their first part when it was released back in 2001, and awarded with an Oscar for best animation in 2002. The story is based on the children’s book »Shrek!« by the American cartoonist and children’s book author William Steig. The title derives of Yiddish and means »terror«. The movie was so successful that further sequels followed. [read more]

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The movie »Moonstruck«

»Moonstruck« is a romantic comedy from 1987, where next to Cher and Nicholas Cage, the full moon plays a leading part. It can be seen countless times in the film, in the night sky, quite differently compared to »Sleepless in Seattle« for example, where you can only see it on the movie poster. The word  »moonstruck« in the title, refers little to the subject of sleepwalking, but rather to the fact that human behavior can be quite peculiar at times during the full moon. [read more]

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»Sleepless in Seattle« – without the full moon?

Who doesn’t know this movie, a classic amongst romantic comedies? Shot in 1993, with Tom Hanks as the architect Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as the journalist Annie Reed, who do not know each other but are still able to find one another thanks to Sam’s son Jonah, who recognizes that Sam and Annie belong together and for that, he leaves no stone unturned.

On the movie poster, you can see the full moon, just above Meg Ryan and we watched this movie for the 137th time to find out whether the full moon is also visible during the movie  – wrong! Neither in the scene where Sam talks to the psychologist on the radio for the first time, while Annie listens in the car, nor in the closing scene in New York, and on the Empire State Building we can see the moonlight shining, although this would have certainly been a gain. Also with reference to the title and the addressed topic of sleeplessness, this would have been an obvious approach. [read more]

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The full moon and Marc Chagall

There are probably few painters who made use of the full moon in their paintings as often as Marc Chagall (1887–1985), the French artist of Russian-Jewish descent, who was regarded as »le poète« (the poet) amongst painters, due to his symbolic shapes and colors.
Chagall lived for almost a century and if one can classify his style at all, then it would have to be expressionism. He worked in Russia, France (primarily Paris) and in the US (primarily New York) and was on an inner and outer journey throughout his life. [read more]

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