World Laughter Day

May 3, 2020

Today is World Laughter Day:

The first “World Laughter Day” gathering took place in Mumbai, India, on 11th of January 1998. 12,000 members from local and international Laughter Clubs joined together in a mega laughter session (the number is valid because that’s how many meals were served.)

“HAPPY-DEMIC” was the first World Laughter Day gathering outside India. It took place on 9th January 2000, in Copenhagen, Denmark and more than 10,000 people gathered in the Town Hall Square . The event went into the Guinness Book of World records.

World Laughter Day is now celebrated on the first Sunday of May every year in most large cities around the world. Hundreds of people (oftentimes thousands) gather worldwide on that day to laugh together.

The usual format of a WLD celebration is the congregation of laughter club members, their families and friends at some important landmark in their city like big squares, public parks or auditoriums laugh collectively. In India, Laughter Club members often do a peace march. They carry banners and placards such as “World Peace Through Laughter, The Whole World Is An Extended Family, Join a Community Laughter Club – it’s free!” etc. During the march all chant “Ho Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha” and “very good, very good, yay!” clapping and dancing. After walking some distance, they stop to do a few Laughter Yoga exercises and then move on. At the end of the march, they laugh together for 10 minutes or so and then read Dr. Kataria’s message for World Peace. This is followed by a variety entertainment program of music, dance and laughter contests e.g., best laughing man/woman/child/senior, etc. Winners are those with the most infectious, natural and effortless laughter. See how a laughter contest is organized here.

Learn more about World Laughter Day and watch videos here. There are lots of pictures here.

 


Contradictions and confusion still undermining confidence

April 14, 2020

A good news story of a wedding under lockdown has highlighted the confusion and contradictions over what is an isn’t essential:

A furore has erupted among the country’s wedding celebrants after a North Shore couple were allowed to tie the knot at their home despite the nationwide lockdown.

Jeff Montgomery, the Registrar-General for Births, Deaths and Marriages, is standing by his decision to let the couple go ahead with their special day, sending an email to all celebrants today stating it is up to them and their clients if they decide to get married during the 4-week lockdown period. . . 

But the Registrar-General emailed celebrants later saying it wasn’t up to him to decide if weddings should go ahead or not.

Weddings have occurred recently, for example when one of the couple is about to pass away, or because of religious requirements.

“It is up to the couple and the celebrant to consider how essential the wedding is and to work within the level 4 rules”.

“It is not the role of the Registrar-General to make decisions about whether or not a ceremony occurs. ‘Permission’ or ‘exemptions’ are not something that I have authority to issue and I do not make judgments on what services may or may not be essential.

“My role is to issue licences where the couple meet the requirements, to register celebrants who are expected to abide by the law, and to register relationships that have been legally solemnised,” he wrote.

That’s quite clear, so who can make decisions about whether or not a ceremony occurs?

In today’s briefing with media, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said weddings could go ahead as long as they abided by social distancing rules.

That seems clear, but what does the Covid-19 website say?

All indoor and outdoor events cannot proceed.

This does not include workplaces of people undertaking essential businesses.

If a wedding celebrant was running an essential business that might be okay but:

These requirements apply to family and social gatherings such as birthdays, funerals, tangi or weddings. These gatherings can not go ahead.

We are asking you only spend time with those who you are in self-isolation with, and keep your distance from all others at all times.

So there we have it – the Registrar-General quite rightly says it’s not up to him to say if a wedding is essential.

The DG of Health says weddings could take place as long as people obeyed social distancing rules.

But the COvid-19 website says weddings can’t take place.

The confusion and contradictions over this provide more grounds for having the guiding rule for what can take place under Level 4 lockdown what’s safe rather than what’s essential.

Providing everyone involved took the proper precautions to maintain social distance and either wash their hands or use sanitiser before and after touching the pen and paper work, it ought to be safe to have a wedding with just the couple, two witnesses who were already in their bubble and a celebrant.

But under the Level 4 rules no weddings are supposed to be taking place.

Changing to safety as the guide rather than essential would not only allow very small wedding ceremonies to take place, it would allow a lot more small businesses to open again.

That could save jobs, and businesses, take pressure over businesses like supermarkets that are open, and get rid of the confusion and contradictions over what is and isn’t essential.


Have a blessed Easter

April 10, 2020

A friend speaks of being blessed, rather than being lucky.

Whatever it means to you, may your Easter be a blessed one.

Stay home, stay well, stay safe.


Things I’m not doing on Boxing Day

December 26, 2019

1. Going to a sale.

2. Shopping at all.

3. Serving any food requiring more effort than Christmas leftovers.


Away In A Manger

December 25, 2019


When A Child Is Born

December 25, 2019


Te Harinui

December 25, 2019


Oh Holy Night

December 24, 2019


Oh Come All Ye Faithful

December 24, 2019


The First Noell

December 24, 2019


Little Donkey

December 24, 2019


The reason for the season

December 24, 2019

Jim Hopkins remembers Christmases past:

. . . Christmas always stirs strong feelings and vivid memories for me.

I grew up south of the tracks in Christchurch when coal was king and fired the steam trains that thundered through. Dad was the vicar at St Mary’s Addington and, for him, Christmas was one of the most important times of the year.

Which should come as no surprise, though it may do now.

A birth in Bethlehem is, after all, the reason we actually have a Christmas holiday. And that birth used to be an integral part of the celebration.

Recognised in school nativity plays, on the wireless, in newspapers, its story touched most people’s lives.

Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men shared the limelight with Mr Claus and his elves.

Needless to say, the vicar’s offspring took their place in the pews – along with the rest of the community. Service first, pud and presents later. That was the drill.

I can still see the interior of that old church, dark timber beams, dust motes drifting in the light filtered through stained glass windows. I can hear the carols. I can smell the Christmas lillies. These memories return every year, as time grows longer, becoming ever stronger.

But the Christmas I remember is a faded thing. As the churches have lost (or surrendered) their influence, so faith has left the festive season.

Christmas today is a strictly secular affair with scant public recognition of its religious roots. The establishment avoids them and the media simply ignores them.

Bad for business or just old hat, anything biblical is off the agenda. Those who run the fourth estate may argue that’s because fewer people say they’re Christian, to which the reply might be, maybe that’s because you’ve spent decades dismissing their beliefs.

Whatever the reasons, it saddens me that the spiritual dimension of Christmas has withered as it has. Because the nativity story literally marks the beginning of a faith which, whatever the woke folk may say, is a core piece of our heritage and the foundation of our morals, manners and laws. For that reason alone, it has a place on Christmas day. . .

A few days ago I read a media release from a government entity (which I now can’t find) explaining how it’s sensitive to employees who don’t celebrate Christmas.

Fair enough, but sensitivity shouldn’t mean pretending it’s something else, especially when it’s not applied to celebrations for other religions.

No-one pretends that Diwali isn’t a Hindu festival, we’re not asked to skirt round, we shouldn’t be offended if someone wishes us happy Hanukkah so why the pussy-footing around Christmas?

You don’t have to be a Christian to understand and acknowledge the reason for the season.

You don’t have to believe what Christians do.

And Christian or not, we’d all be better off with more reflection on the real message of hope, joy, peace and love.


Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)

December 23, 2019


Flower of Scotland

November 30, 2019

Music for St Andrew’s Day:

 

St Andrew is probably best known as the patron saint of Scotland.

He’s also the saint of:

Greece, Russia, Italy’s Amalfi and Barbados. As well as other countries, he’s the patront saint of singers, spinsters, maidens, fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, gout and sore throats. St Andrew is also the patron saint of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest ranks of chivalry in the world, second only to the Order of the Garter. . . 

 


Saturday soapbox

November 30, 2019

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Image result for quotes st andrew's day scotland

Happy St Andrew’s Day


Dog

September 1, 2019

A few days late for International Dog Day, Dog by Nat Johnson:


Cheers for chocolate

July 7, 2019

It’s World Chocolate Day.

Every day she bought something nourishing, like chocolates, and put them in her special box.  Tomorrow she was going away. That was when she would first open her box, because she would be feeling lonely. It was wonderful how unlonely chocolate made you – A.A. Milne


Easter’s late

April 19, 2019

It’s Good Friday, one of the holiest of days in the Christian calendar, though probably just another holiday for many in an increasingly secular country.

But why is it so late this year?

The Bible doesn’t spell out the exact date that Easter occurs on, but it does say that Jesus was crucified during the Jewish holiday of Passover. According to the Catholic magazine America: The Jesuit Review, in the year 325, the Council of Nicaea decided to celebrate Easter “at the very time of Jesus’ Passion,” the Christian term for the final days of Jesus’ life before his death and resurrection. The Jewish calendar is calculated based on lunar months, so to link Easter with Passover, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be observed “on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.” Basically, because the moon affects when Passover falls, the moon also affects when Easter falls.

But this year the northern hemisphere equinox and the full moon we’re on March 20th. So why wasn’t Easter last month?

Back in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII made some additional rules about calculating Easter’s date when introducing the Gregorian calendar. According to Space.com, these rules said that Easter would always fall between March 22 and April 25 — and that the Catholic Church would always mark the vernal equinox on March 21, even though the astronomical vernal equinox can be anywhere from March 19 to March 21. This year, the first full moon after March 21 was on April 19, which is a Friday — meaning that this Easter will be on the following Sunday, April 21. . . 

That’s this weekend.

Whether or not you are Christian, May your Easter be a blessed one.


Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019

You can get carried away by the commercialism, ignore it, or focus on what really matters – true love that, in Shakespeare’s words, alters not when it alteration find.

Wishing ewe  love and laughter.

And love and laughter to moo too.


Things to do on Waitangi Day

February 6, 2019
  • Celebrate
  • Pontificate
  • Recreate
  • Think
  • Read
  • Speak
  • Listen
  • Tramp
  • Swim
  • Sail
  • Row
  • Protest if you must
  • Enjoy it because you can.

Whatever Waitangi Day means and whatever its significance to each of us, we’re free to do what we want and that’s something for  which we can be grateful.


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