Travel Snapshots: Thaipusam Festival

In my previous Travel Snapshots posts I mentioned what a melting post Singapore is, and today I have another post that highlights that fact.  Singapore is home to a large number of Tamil Hindus, and on a recent outing we stumbled on the Thaipusam festival.

Honestly, when we first came across it, I had no idea what the celebration was about.  There was a procession of men, women and children coming down the street and not wanting to miss the moment, I dove for my camera (which was of course at the bottom of my purse).  It wasn’t until later that day that I was able to look up the festival to better understand the images I had snapped.

img_5196Thaipusam is a holiday that honors Murugan, the Hindu god of war and victory, who destroyed a demon with a Vel (spear).  Followers celebrate the holiday by following a designated path through the city while performing various acts.  Everyone is barefoot, many men shave their heads and both men and women carry milk jugs on their head.  But what we found particularly fascinating were the acts of penance, which included piercing of the flesh with large spears while carrying a kavadi  (a decorated canopy) throughout the route.  I learned that in Singapore the route is about 4 km long!

Here are some of the men carrying their kavadis down the street:

Thaipusam  1

 

Thaipusam 2

 

Thaipusam 3

 

I love getting a glimpse into other cultures.  I am so happy that we are having these experiences in Singapore!

Travel Snapshots: Peranakan Crafts

peranakan

One of the best parts of living in Singapore is the opportunity to get to know a variety of cultures.  This photograph was taken on a recent outing to learn more about the Peranakan history.  Peranakan is the term used to refer to the descendants of the original inhabitants of the region with traders from China, India and other countries.

I love the colors and the patterns in this photo.  It was taken in a shop owned by a Peranakan woman who is working to keep the tradions of the culture alive.  The shoes are traditional to the Peranakan culture and each bead is sewn on individually by hand.  It can take her up to three months to create a single pair.  The skirt is a sarong- also part of traditional Peranakan dress.

Have you picked up any new crafts or hobbies?  Tell me about them!

Taking Time For Family (Photos)

family 1

As a blogger I take millions of photographs— all the time.  And not just for my blog, but for other projects/jobs, as well as personal photos of family and friends.  This is always a lot of fun for me and I love looking back at past moments.  The one drawback is either my husband or I are the ones taking the photos.  Which means we rarely have shots of us together.  This is even more of an issue now that we have the little one- there is so much I want a record of!

I know what you are thinking: just hire someone to take some family photos!  Well, easier said than done.  See, I am wildly picky.  Painfully.  And I am not a fan of traditional staged photos (for any major event—even our wedding photos have a slightly more candid feel to them).  I like to get a peek into someone’s reality and I want to capture a moment of life.  Call me a voyeur, but I love for photos to feel personal.  Needless to say your average photo studio wasn’t going to work for me.

Fortunately I found photographer Paulo Legaspi.  From the start Paulo and I were on the same page when it came to the overall feel of the shoot.  He had a great eye and was beyond easy to work with.  We shot this past Saturday in The Spice Garden at Fort Canning.  It was a beautiful morning and for Lukus, the baby and I it was really like a normal play day in the park.  Okay, maybe normal for say the Stefani-Rossdale clan or some other family used to paparazzi capturing their personal moments…

Here are some of the black and white images:

Family photos 1

Family photos 2

Family photos 3

Family photos 4

Seriously, though- we are thrilled with the outcome of the shoot!  We definitely now have a record of this moment in our lives.  Only problem: deciding which shots to frame!  Honestly these are just a couple of my favorite images- take a peek at some of the color photos on Paulo’s blog HERE (while you are there be sure to check out some of his other photography- love the photos from his trip to Sri Lanka!).

 

Tell me- how do you capture moments in time with your family and/or friends?  What do you think makes a good photo?

 

 

Hong Island, Thailand

I’m back!!!!!!  Thailand was amazing and I am feeling refreshed and renewed and all the other amazing stuff you hope to achieve on a vacation.  We interacted with elephants, enjoyed lots of food, visited the spa and much more.  One of my favorite activities was our visit to Hong Island.  We spent the day kayaking (we traveled around the whole island!), snorkeling (saw a parrot fish!) and lounging on the beach (I fell asleep!).  And, just as I’d hoped, it offered a load of beautiful imagery.  Of course I have to share some of the photos with you…

Hong Island

 

Hong Island

 

Hong Island

I loved the different shades of blues throughout the water, the greens in the foliage, and the vibrant colors on the boats.  The islands in the area are characterized by their vertical cliffs, but instead of being imposing the lush landscape and beautiful beaches make them the idyllic escapes (it is no wonder the move The Beach was filmed in the region!).   We traveled by speed boat to the island, but another popular means were these long boats that seemed to enrich the overall aesthetic.

Tell me, do you have any travel planned for the last few weeks of summer?

Escape To Thailand

ThailandI know!  I disappeared all week!  But with good reason!  We escaped to Thailand for a few days to get in some much needed R&R.  I promise I will be back next week with lots of fun new content (and perhaps a new look for North On Harper!).

 

Have a great weekend!!!