Raising Awareness – Pangolin Love for Valentine’s Day

Pangolin may not look cuddly but their story will melt your heart. You can help them too!

I have always been a fan of Google Doodles: the witty images, interactive games and educational material are always a great way to start the day and learn something new. This Valentine’s Day I was extra impressed because Pangolin Love is a fun game created to raise awareness! You can play it here.

Pangolins are unique mammals that look like reptiles. They can curl into balls to protect themselves from predators as well as use their sharp talons. These cute creatures need your help because they happen to be the most-trafficked mammals in the world! They are kidnapped from their homes and murdered for fashion, medicine and meat.

The World Wildlife Fund works with various organizations and governments to help protect these creatures. In 2016, 180 governments signed agreements to end all legal trade to protect them from extinction. Unfortunately, illegal trade continues to drive the species to extinction.

All eight species of pangolin are under threat. Four species live in Asia and the other four in Africa: two of these are critically in danger. Over 80% of pangolin living in Asia have been devastated by poaching. Google.org has given a grant to to the WWF that enables them to use advanced thermal imagery technology to help track poachers and stop the illegal trade.

Even you can help the pangolin from the comforts of your home. Raise awareness by sharing this article, the Pangolin Love Google Doodle, donate money to the cause or adopt a pangolin (and receive a really cute stuffed pangolin as part of the adoption kit)! Find out more about ways to help here – I got all the information for this blog post from this WWF page.

Did you know that the WWF has a bunch of free Valentine’s Day e-cards that you can send your loved ones? If you want to learn more about how the romantic holiday is celebrated in China, please read this blog post about Qixi.

Advertisements

Chinese Valentine’s Day: Tough Love or True Love?

China has it’s own Valentine’s day and plenty of other ways for singles to meet!

In a country where men outnumber women by over 33 million, finding love is not easy. The problem goes beyond numbers. According to Wang Yu, the owner of TanTan (the Chinese version of Tinder), globalization and China’s one-child policy are the main reasons for China’s single men problem.

Yu explains in an interview with Vice that shows like Sex in the City result in the naturally picky Chinese women becoming more modern, leaving millions of Chinese men forever alone.

This is great news for women who no longer feel the pressure of settling down by 27, the age when unmarried women become considered flawed spinsters. However, it passes on the unfair label “shengnu” (meaning left over) to men.

While Chinese men desperately fight the friend zone and the 10+ other men who also want the same woman, Chinese women are too busy enjoying single life to bat an eyelash. Could China be in danger of becoming the next Japan where 50% of adults are no longer having sex?

Do not fear, Qixi is here!
(I’m not even kidding, it’s actually today…)

Celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese lunar month, Qixi is the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. It’s been China’s most romantic holiday since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and was traditionally celebrated by women demonstrating their needle threading skills under the moonlight and carving intricate designs on the skins of unsuspecting melons.

Traditionally there was also worshiping of the Vega star and children hanging wild flowers on the horns of oxen. The holiday is based on the legend of Niúláng and Zhínǚ, the ox-herd married a fairy who became a weaver girl to be with him. Zhínǚ’s mother, who happened to be a powerful goddess, was unimpressed with her daughter’s decision and banished her to heaven. The goddess created a river of stars (the Milky Way) to separate the (literally) star-crossed lovers and only allowed them to meet once a year on Qixi!

You can read more cool stories about China on China Highlights – my main source for this article!  Check out a few other romantic Chinese legends here.

Today, the holiday is celebrated just like Valentine’s Day with flowers, chocolate and romantic dinner dates. It is also a popular time to organize mass blind dates for anyone still looking for their special someone. Large public dating events do happen all year long, so not falling in love on Qixi is not the end of the world. Plus, the Chinese celebrate Western Valentine’s Day too which means more flowers, chocolate and opportunities to meet “the one”.

Almost every country has their own version of Valentine’s Day. Leave a comment with your favorite V-Day alternative or feel free to tell me just how much you hate commercialized holidays 😉

MAY 1ST – THE CZECH VALENTINE’S DAY

„Večerní máj byl lásky čas“ or May twilight the time of love is the motto for May 1st, the day of love. Czechs couples celebrate the day by going out into the nature and kissing under a blooming cherry tree or birch. They also visit the statue of Karel Hynek Mácha who is known as the poet of love.

Read the full article on Prague.TV’s website. The best place to discover Prague, like a local!

http://prague.tv/en/s72/Directory/c200-Party-Nightlife/n5758-May-1st-The-Czech-Valentine-s-Day

May 1st Lovers Day

While Valentine’s Day is relatively new to the Czech Republic, globally more and more people against celebrating the overly-commercialized holiday. Czechs have a better way to celebrate love and the history of its development is quite amazing too. On May 1st you will find many couples taking walks through the park and kissing under blooming trees – they aren’t just posing for a romantic photograph or practicing for their wedding photo shoot,  it ensures fertility and beauty.

Originally couple’s kissed under a fruitful tree and this was supposed to ensure fertility.  But today it is said that if a woman is kissed under a blossoming tree then she will be attractive and beautiful throughout the year. May 1st also celebrates and welcomes spring but the romantics focus on the blooming of love and romance. However May 1st wasn’t always the day of love.

Originally Labor Day was a communist celebration where all the ‘good citizens’ paraded and waved flags to celebrate communist ideals. There were military shows and lots of flowers on this day back when Czech Republic was Czechoslovakia. It isn’t known if the kissing under trees tradition was around before the original Labor Day celebration or only formed after when people decided to keep the communist public holiday but transform it into something relevant and beautiful instead.

Many people tie the tradition to Karel Hynek Mácha, a Czech Romantic writer who was popular at the beginning of the 19thcentury. He wrote a tragic poem about two lovers, the most known verse goes like this:

It was late evening, on the first of May,
The eve of May was the time of love,
The turtle-dove’s voice called to love,
Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay.

The poem is a story about a young girl who is seduced and betrayed by a man. Later she meets and falls in love with his son, who kills his father for her. The girl then waits for him on the evening of the first of May, but is told that he will be executed in the castle for the murder he committed for her. While he waits he thinks about the beauty of nature and his life. He is decapitated the next day, and his head is placed on a pillar.

According to Wikipedia Mácha, the poet, supposedly comes across the skull seven years later and is told the story. He then returns to the place on the first of May and in the evening he compares his own life to the month of May. However the connection between the poet and the holiday has never been officially proven. But many still go to his statue in Petřín before kissing under a blooming tree. There is usually a cameraman taking a video of the couples kissing and documenting the number of those who come – don’t be discouraged, you can ask for the video of you not to be published online.

May 1st is always a beautiful day because of everything is blooming and growing, it is usually warm enough for a picnic, and love is always in the air. Try visiting the statue and join the other couples who sit on the hillside overlooking Prague. Romance, tragedy, hope and very little commercialism: Czech Lovers Day can definitely give Valentine’s Day a run for it’s money.