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The Art Path – Esjehi Art Gallery

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Art in the Maldives is an ongoing process with existing artistic traditions still
being dominant but open to contemporary cultural influences. The history of visual arts in the Maldives goes back centuries with some of the earliest such works being etchings on coral stones and wood. The establishment of art galleries is a significant step towards encouraging artistic talent by displaying and promoting the works of the country’s artists. The Esjehi Gallery has been set up with this in mind, appropriately occupying one of the oldest structures in Male, a house constructed in 1870 with exquisitely carved door and window panels displaying in full the skill of Maldivian craftsmen. Located in Male, to the east of Sultan Park on Medhu Ziyaarath, the gallery’s first priority is the preservation, promotion and display of traditional and contemporary Maldivian arts and crafts.

The gallery displays an eclectic collection of Maldivian works. Workshops and exhibitions are held to enable local artists to exhibit their works, interact with each other, introduce young artists to various artistic techniques and new ideas and to introduce the Maldivian public to the country’s artists and their different artistic styles. The art works at these exhibitions provide insights into the everyday life in the Maldives, its aquatic heritage and the multi-ethnic background of the country. These exhibitions are wonderful opportunities for art aficionados to purchase art works and meet the artists. Although small in size the gallery plays an important role in seeking out new talented artists, nurturing them to mature artistically and bringing the artists’ work to the attention of the public, in so doing promoting the visual arts in the Maldives.

Christmas Carols

The humble carol – such a Christmas institution, all year round it lies dormant in choir books, music Cabinets and in the backs of minds, only to be woken once a year when Christmas rolls into town!  During the festive season the air is filled with the echoes of popular Christmas carols.  Carol singers take to the streets; congregations gather in churches and school assemblies and end of term Christmas concerts all draw together to sing out the most popular carols.  Some of the best loved carols include Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O come All Ye Faithful, Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, While Shepherd’s Watched their Flocks by Night and of course Silent Night. Sometimes you just can’t help humming (or singing) along to carols when shopping for  christmas presents

However, it’s not always appreciated by those you’re shopping with, or perhaps you feel embarrassed when you suddenly find yourself singing out loud in the middle of a department store.  But if you shop online with findmeagift.com you can hum your heart out and sing your favourite carols at the top of your lungs, all from the comfort and privacy of your own home!

The stars in the night sky make an appearance in many a Christmas carol.  So how about featuring them in your Christmas gift giving song sheet this year?  The Name a Star Gift Box includes a welcome letter, full instructionsabout how to name your star, information

about it and how to locate it, as well as a star & astronomy booklet and a presentation certificate.  You can either surprise someone by naming a star for them, or allow the recipient to do so.  This gift will shine brightly over them, not just at Christmas, but the whole year through.

You might find yourself singing about travelling to a manger to find a heavenly babe.  However on Christmas morning why let children make their way to under the Christmas tree instead, where they will discover a fantastic Chatimal waiting for them!  Chatimals are some seriously cute characters.  You can choose between a Hamster and Meerkat Chatimal.  Each furry soft toy will repeat what you say, so you’d better be careful you don’t press their paws when you are wrapping it – well, otherwise the children might cotton on that you delivered it and not Santa!

Chatimals are so entertaining and will cheerily repeat everything you say in a high pitched or low pitched voice!  They may be sarcastic and slightly annoying, but boy are they fun, for all the family too.  If you’re fed up with having to repeat yourself all the time, then simply get an adorable Chatimal to do it for you!Christmas-Carols-4

Three Wise men from afar brought gifts of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh.  The opulent looking Personalised Silver Plated Antique Style Jewellery Box will shine out amongst other gifts too.  This is because not only is it polished to a high sheen, but it can be personalised with a message up to 50 characters.  This stunning Antique Style Jewellery Box is perfect for storing jewels and small keepsakes and will be treasured forever, especially with a loving message engraved on the lid.

Frankincense is known for its calming and soothing properties and the oil is thought to have stimulating and toning effects too.  So too does the fabulous Eye Massager!  This ingenious Eye Massager makes a marvellous unisex christmas presents

It provides excellent relief from stress, headaches and migraines, by using three therapies; massage, pinhole and magnetic.  The Eye Massager will massage the temples and surrounding areas to help remove tension, whilst the pinhole therapy has a relaxing effect on the eyes.  Finally the magnetic therapy will help to improve blood circulation.  All of which combined, will leave you feeling all refreshed!

Myrrh is the most mysterious of the three gifts.  Myrrh is a resin produced from trees which are indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula and portions of Africa.  Monkeys are natives to trees and hot climates too and Dave the Funky Shoulder Monkey will certainly mystify everyone!  This mischievous chap will sit happily on your shoulder or wherever you choose to place him.  He won’t wonder off on his own, but he will move his arms and head around and speak too!  Using a sneaky remote control you can get Dave to perform over 30 different actions.  These include waving, nodding his head, acting bashful as well as blowing raspberries!  You could add a twist to your carol singing by getting Dave to conduct everyone!

Findmeagift.com has got Christmas presents galore that will have you singing out loud – ‘Hark the herald angels sing; I’ve finished all my Christmas shop-ping’!

Around the World Christmas Celebrations

12033922-standardThe United States of America integrates different elements from different places in its Christmas celebrations. The Christmas tree tradition comes from Germany, parades from Latin America, carols from the English and Australians, Santa Claus from the Europeans and more. Apart from the general celebration with feasting, caroling, decorating and gift-giving, each family in the US has their individual Christmas celebrations. And even the traditions vary from one place to another within the US. In Washington DC for instance, there’s this central celebration with lighting of the tree on the Ellipse. Here you’ll find one big tree (which represents the nation) and other smaller trees (standing for other states). In New Orleans, caroling is the focus of thousands throng the Jackson Square each year on Christmas to have a huge group/ community caroling around big bonfires lit along the river Mississippi. The oldest city in the US, St. Augustine, Florida, has the whole of the city lit up in white lights on .No lights except white are allowed on

Then again, many Americans love to hit Hollywood, California to treat their eyes to the annual Parade of Stars, while others entertain themselves at Christmas concerts or caroling festivities in and around the cities.

Christmas in France

Joyeux No?l ! For all the curious, that’s ‘Merry Christmas’ in French. In France, Christmas is called No?l and Father Christmas is known as P?re No?l. Christmas trees are decorated with red ribbons and candles. Fir trees are also lighted on Christmas. People gather together and feast on meat and fine wine. The French kids put shoes and boots by the hearth for Santa to keep Christmas goodies in them. And nearly every family sets up a Nativity scene at home on Christmas.

Christmas in Spain

Feliz Navidad! Now that’s ‘Merry Christmas’ for the Spanish-speaking population. Spanish Christmas is essentially religious in spirit and celebration. Virgin Mary is the country’s patron saint and hence, Spain observes a pious Christmas festivity. Here, Christmas officially begins from December 8, the day of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Each year, the Spanish celebrate Christmas in front of Seville’s Gothic cathedral with a ceremony known as ‘los Seises’ or the ‘dance of six’.

Christmas in Portugal

Portuguese Christmas is much in the same street as Christmas in Spain. Whatever gifts Father Christmas brings to the kids, are kept at the base of the Christmas evergreen or in shoes by the fireplace. At midnight on Christmas Eve, the Portuguese have a special Christmas meal of dry and salted cod-fish and boiled potatoes. And in the early morning of the Christmas day, they have a meal called ‘consoada’, where seats are left empty at the table for the ‘alminhas a penar’ or the ‘souls of the dead’. This comes from the ancient practice

of leaving seeds to the dead ancestors in hopes of getting rewarded with a more bountiful harvest. So boas festas ! Have a great party this Christmas and New Year !

Christmas in England

England holds claim to the origin of hanging stockings on Christmas. It’s believed that Father Christmas once dropped some gold coins while coming down a chimney and the coins landed on one stocking hanging out to dry. Since then, the idea of hanging stockings on Christmas held ground and children today, make it a point to hang their stockings for Santa Claus to fill these up with Christmas goodies. In some parts, ‘pantomime’ is also a popular Christmas tradition. And the wishing ‘Merry Christmas’ and gift-giving is of course there in England.

Christmas in Germany

In Germany, the St. Nicholas Day celebration of December 6 is similar to the Christmas celebrations of the English. Apart from wishing each other a ‘Froehliche Weihnachten’ or ‘Merry Christmas’, the Christmas customs and traditions of Christmas vary from one region to another in Germany. The St. Nicholas Day is primarily a day reserved for the young ones to have fun and get pampered in gifts. After this, the actual Christmas gift-giving kicks off at the Christmas Eve night. Gifts are usually kept under the Christmas tree and people enjoy a traditional roast goose in their Christmas meal. The Weihnachtsmann (a look-alike of St. Nicholas) brings gifts on Christmas and sometimes these are brought by the Christkind (a fairy child often like baby Jesus).