New Year Celebrations and Symbolisms From Around the World

download (69)The countdown to the New Year is a ritual that is faithfully awaited by millions of people around the world. The season of celebrating New Year begins well before the clock strikes midnight on December 31. According to the Gregorian calendar which we follow universally, New Year falls on January 1 each year and ushers in 365 days till the next New Year comes up. This is what the international community follows as an undisputed practice. However, many countries follow different calendars, such as the Lunar Calendar and as part of their beliefs and traditions celebrate New Year on different days.

Even though New Year is not a religious festivity or occasion, there is a great deal of variety as there are several customs and traditions associated with the New Year. Ushering in the New Year with fun, positivity and zest underlines all these celebrations and the essence of it includes feasting, merrymaking and praying for prosperity, happiness and good luck in the year ahead.

Let’s take a look at the different religious contexts of the New Year.

Christianity

Celebrated in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, New Year for Christians begins on January 1 and usually commences with church services and traditional New Year songs followed by family get-togethers, fun and festivity.

Hinduism

The Hindu calendar follows a luni-solar pattern and has seen several changes since the ancient days. An almanac that calculates dates marks the beginning of the New Year on varying dates every year. By and large, New Year celebrations mark the victory of good over evil and Lakshmi and Ganesh are the popular deities worshipped. Diwali, a popular Indian festival, is associated by many as the beginning of the New Year especially for trading communities. It is celebrated with wearing new clothes, lighting of oil lamps around the house, exchange of gifts and sweets between families and friends and the bursting of firecrackers. Around India, which is home to the largest Hindu population, many different states celebrated the New Year according to their customs and traditions – notable examples are Baisakhi in Punjab, Bihu in Assam, Nobo Barsha in West Bengal, Puthaandu in Tamil Nadu, Vishu in Kerala, Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Maha Vishuva Sankranti in Orissa, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Navreh in Kashmir. The diversity of Indian culture lends itself well to the colorful celebrations of New Year around India. Underlying all these diverse celebrations is the theme of the ‘triumph of good over evil’.

Islam

Muslims world over follow the Lunar Calendar which is evident in the different dates associated with the New Year each year. Generally, the first day of Muharram is considered the first day of the New Year as it is the first month in the Islamic Calendar. However, the celebrations are rather somber in remembrance of Prophet Muhammad and his flight from Medina to Mecca; time is spent in introspection on life and mortality. On the tenth day of the Muharram month, processions are carried out with replicas of the martyr’s tomb and charities are given to the poor and needy.

Sikhism

The Sikh New Year is celebrated according to the Nanakshahi Calendar, the date of which falls on March 14 according to the Gregorian calendar. Sikhs conduct worship services with devotional songs, sacred vegetarian food service to guests, dancing, martial arts demonstrations and fireworks.

Buddhism

These celebrations are dominated by religious customs and can extend to multiple days. Visiting monasteries, bathing Buddha statues, lighting of candles and chanting of hymns are commonly seen. Buddhists follow the Luni-solar calendar and the New Year date varies from one country to another – for instance, the Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese celebrate New Year in January-February, Tibetans in March while Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Thailand celebrate New Year in April. The common theme of these celebrations is happiness and merriment.

Jewish

Jews give the New Year utmost importance and reverence and the origins of their celebrations can be traced back to Biblical times. The Jewish New Year falls in the month of Tishri, which corresponds to September-October in the modern calendar. It is a ten-day celebration full of socio-religious customs and is known as the Shabbat Shuva, commencing with the Rosh Hashanah and ending with the Yom Kippur on the final day.

 

Stage Shows and Stage Management

download (68)A stage show is a live show or performance performed on a stage or deck or any designated space by actors, performers, musicians, models and so on. A stage show can also be a theatre performance which involves a collaboration of several actors and performers whose performance is watched by a live audience. The experience can be a real or imagined event which is communicated by the performers to the audience by use of dance, gestures, music, song and speech. Stage shows also involve various elements of art such as props, screens, painted scenery besides the effective use of light and sound. The integrated whole package conveys a story or an event with all the human emotions strung together – anger, friendship, humor, love, pathos, regret and so on.

The ancient Greek dramas were the forerunners to the modern theatre forms; many elements such as classification, themes, characters, plots and settings, even stage writing and theatrical language have been borrowed from the performances of the ancient days. Remains of ancient viewing galleries and theatre arenas in Green and Roman civilizations are ample evidence of the presence of stage shows and theatre performances from those days. In the course of time, stage shows evolved to include long-running plays, musical shows, ballet, operas, and various other forms.

The organization of a stage show or theatrical production is called stage management. In the modern era, stage management has become a sub-discipline of stagecraft which covers a whole range of activities such as:

• Organizing the production
• Coordinating communication channels with various personnel – e.g. director, stage crew, production management, actors, technical professionals etc.
• Managing schedules
• Ensuring proper infrastructure requirements
• Costumes and accessories

Stage show management requires a professional Stage Manager who can undertake overall responsibility of the various functions involved in the organization and execution of a stage production. A single individual can perform the task of a Stage Manager; however larger productions usually involve the presence of a professional team with several persons experienced in the different functional requirements. In such instances, usually there is an overall authority with the title Stage Manager with heads for different functions such as production, lighting, technical, personnel, etc.

Modern Stage Managers require professional qualifications and suitable experience to be accepted for the role. But the overriding qualities needed include the ability and temperament to deal with different people, an understanding of the artistic and technical aspects, good planning and organizing skills, a head for prioritizing and multi-tasking and being calm and composed even under pressure. Stage management can be a hugely demanding career.

It’s interesting to know that until the 16th century, many playwrights and actors themselves undertook management duties handling general, directorial and financial aspects of production. It was only in the 17th century that the distinct function of stage management emerged and it was in the 18th century that a separate person was hired for the specific purpose. Over the years, the role of a Stage Manager became clearly defined.

 

Examination and Its Psychological Effects on Students or Merits and Demerits of Examination

download (67)Examination is the right and most practical means of judging the knowledge and learning of students and timely feedback to teachers as well. It is also a common practice in schools and colleges to assess the knowledge of their students through various tests and examinations. They encourage hard work and promote healthy competitions among the students through tests and examinations. It provides several educational benefits to students.

Examination is helpful in every part of life. It makes the man perfect. It proves helpful in selecting the right man for the right job. Fair selection without examinations is almost impossible. However, the examinations have some advantages (merits) and disadvantages (demerits). Examination brings a lot of improvement in the knowledge of students because it provides regular feedback to them. Moreover, examination promotes the sense of competition and hard work among the students which improve their knowledge and skills. Moreover, examination is an excellent tool to determine the teaching standard of teachers because they avail an opportunity to monitor/ evaluate their teaching methodology according to the progress of their students. On the other hand, the examination has some disadvantages. It makes the candidate addicted to cramming. The students learn by heart some questions and depend upon them for their success. They accept ready-made ideas and do not use their brains openly. The students depends on luck in an examination than hard work.

The examinations have a poor predictive quality because they only judge the ability of students under set conditions and limited time frame. Sometime a student got anxious under strict examination condition and could not perform up to the mark. Furthermore, many examinations encourage teaching to the test practice. It makes the students and teachers habitual of fixed curriculum focused on passing a specific examination.

This method limits the curriculum to a set range of knowledge and skills for a student which stops the benefits of education for them. We may say that examinations confine teachers and students to the syllabus defined at the begging of the year. Examination ignore the moral side which is an essential part of personality because education does not mean knowledge of books along. It concerns the whole man with his mental and moral make up. The examinations test the knowledge and not the morals value of a student.

However, the demerits of examination do not lessen their importance. No doubt some of the universities in the developed countries like Japan and American have abolished them. But this experiment can be successful only in highly developed countries. It demands light classes so that the teacher can give personal attention to every student.

In conclusion, we must say that some improvements be made in the current examination system to remove its disadvantages and will certainly provide many educational advantages. Therefore, it is recommended that the system of examinations must be continued with some alternations. Psychological tests should test the power of comprehensions and the intelligence of a student and not only the amount of knowledge which he has temporarily stored in his brain.

 

The Benefits and Advantages of Firearms Training

download (66)Are you interested in firearms and currently seeking firearms training from certified professionals? Do you own firearms and would want to undergo training to develop your shooting skills? Or maybe just plain interested in firearms and would want to learn how to shoot? Getting training professionally by firearms instructors would certainly come with advantages. Here are some of them:

1. Knowing basic firearms safety

This is probably the first and foremost advantage of learning anything about firearms. Knowing how to shoot and operate firearms is important but without the knowledge of proper safety habits and skills, unfortunate incidents regarding firearms will continue to happen. Nobody wants that so it is essential that everyone who is involved and would wish to be involved with firearms be equipped with the proper knowledge about firearms safety. It decreases the likelihood of accidents, which can sometimes be fatal and can even cost lives. Not only would we avoid losing life or limb but we also avoid the legal, professional and even psychological implications that come with unfortunate accidents that could have been prevented by using firearms safely.

2. Awareness of how and when to apply force

In simpler and shorter terms, this is often referred to as ‘Use of Force’. If you own a firearm and know how to shoot, do you know exactly when and where you fire? Do you know the legal consequences of what can happen once the bullet fires off the barrel? Those are some questions that you can get an answer from and learn in a firearms training institution or from a certified firearms instructor. Although it might be true that you know how to shoot but awareness of how much force you use and the knowledge of applying it appropriately is one of the best things that you can learn from firearms training.

3. Measuring the accuracy of your aim

You certainly do not point your gun at what you do not intend to shoot but there would probably come a time in your life, let’s say an intrusion in your private property such as your home or business or perhaps a threat to you or your loved ones’ lives arises, that it is a necessity that you have to pull and shoot. It would be catastrophic if you cannot work on the aim when the need shall arise. You can effectively deal with an opponent if you know how to aim and shoot and such a skill requires training, essentially from firearms professionals or experienced firearms instructors.

4. Developing yourself and honing your firearms skills

Lastly, going to a firearms training institution will greatly develop you as an individual. During training, you will learn self-discipline, working on your aim, as well as physical conditioning on how to better shoot and have the mindset for it. You will also learn when to pull the gun out on appropriate situations with the legal matters in mind. Also, let us not put aside that individuals who have developed a passion for firearms can learn firearms better by getting the education that is necessary for every firearms owner and enthusiast. You can greatly develop your skills and passion for firearms by obtaining quality firearms education.