Chinese New Year

Happy Lunar New Year!

The lunar calendar follows the cycles of the new moon. In 2020, the start of the Lunar New Year starts early, on January 25. It’s a major holiday in several Asian countries. For instance, in Vietnam, it’s called Tết.

Tết - Vietnamese Lunar Festival

New Year, in Vietnamese called Tết , is the most important Vietnamese holiday. All families come together and celebrate for three weeks.

These red gift envelopes are filled with money. They shall bring luck in the new year and drive evil spirits away. 

Year of the Metal Rat

The Lunar Year 2020 is the Year of the Metal Rat. “Metal” refers to the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water). People born in the Year of the Metal Rat (1960, 2020) “tend to be reliable and live a stable life. They may hold some power and are able to turn unlucky events into fortune.” Each Lunar Year has its specific lucky colors and numbers. This year, the lucky numbers 2 and 3 might help you to make your wishes come true. Good luck!!!

The Lantern Festival

In China and Taiwan, the celebrations last for two weeks and end with the Lantern Festival on February 8, 2020.

Mǎyǐshàngshù
Chinese Mǎyǐshàngshù
Sichuan Beef
Chinese Sichuan Beef
Buddha Bowl
Asian Buddha Bowl
Ló͘-bah-pn̄g
Taiwanese Ló͘-bah-pn̄g
Bánh Mì Xíu Mại
Vietnamese Bánh Mì Xíu Mại
Sichuan Peppercorns

Chinese New Year Celebration Live

Sweden Celebrates Midsummer

Sweden Celebrates Midsummer

The Longest Day of the Year

Going north, in mid-June, the sun doesn’t set at all.

On June 21st, the sun doesn’t set at all in the north of Sweden. On this second largest holiday, friends and families abandon the cities to come together in the countryside to celebrate Midsummer with flower wreaths, maypole, games, dances, and, of course, good food.

If you are new to these traditions, discover traditional meals and enjoy the funny videos at the end of this post.

Midsummer Bonfire
Midsummer Dance 2
Stockholm Archipelago 3

Beautiful Countryside

Everybody in Sweden leaves for the countryside to celebrate Midsummer. The celebrations start always on Friday.

A popular destination is an archipelago close to Stockholm. Do you plan a trip for Midsummer next year? Check out this travel destination.

Stockholm Archipelago 5
Stockholm Archipelago 1

Pickled Herring Midsummer Tradition

The traditional dish for Midsummer celebrations is pickled herring with new potatoes. You can make it easily at home with prepared pickled herring.

Do you have an Ikea store in your area? They have a variety of pickled herring. Serve it with new potatoes boiled in the skin, some butter, sliced onions, and fresh chopped dill and chives.

Our tip: For dessert, serve fresh strawberries with freshly ground black pepper.

More Swedish Classics

Köttbullar, the national dish of Sweden.

 Surprisingly, Sweden revealed Turkey as its origin. In the 18th century, King Charles XII fell in love with Turkish meatballs and introduced them to his home country.  

Smörgåstårta

It looks like a cake with a savory decoration. The inside is a layered sandwich filled with everything you can imagine as long as you combine it with mayonnaise and eggs on sandwich bread. This recipe is one easy version. You can also make four single “cupcakes” instead of one large cake. Popular are different fillings for each layer and rich decorations.

Swedish Midsummer Fun

The Small Frogs

A very popular funny ring dance is ‘The small frogs’. Children and adults imitate frogs, hopping around the maypole while singing the classic song. Try it yourself at home with this instruction video: 

Alexander Skarsgård Teaches Jimmy the Swedish Midsummer Dance

A Complete Guide to Midsummer Traditions

Valley of Monasteries

Meteora – The Heart of Greece

Valley of Monasteries
Valley of Monasteries

Breathtaking Meteora Phenomenon in Greece

How is the feeling visiting the Valley of Monasteries? “Serene, spiritual, magical, mystical, extraordinary, breathtaking, immense, inspiring, impressive. These are only some of the words people very often use in an effort to describe the Meteora phenomenon” in Greece. (Visit Meteora)

Climb Up To Get Home?

Remember the fun to climb up a tree house? It seems hard to imagine to get up a rope to return home every day. Even more, if your house was built on a steep mountain, right? But it’s possible!

The Valley of Monasteries

This monastery is located near the town of Kalmbaka in the Meteora region in the heart of Greece. It seems hard, almost impossible, to build a monastery on top of such a steep cliff. Tough it was an ideal place for monks in search of solitude.

Agio Triada Monastery
Agio Triada Monastery
Rousanou Monastery
Rousanou Monastery

Impossible Was Not An Option

It was not an easy undertaking to settle on the natural sandstone pillars of the Meteora region.
Driven by the need to find an isolated place for their communities, monks constructed almost 1,000 years ago an impressing number of 20+ monasteries on these sandstone mountains. No wonder they are listed since 1988 as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Dare to Visit Meteora in Greece?

If you decide to visit the Meteora monasteries in Greece, be prepared for narrow and curvy mountain roads. The monks had to access their monastery either by ladder, net or rope. Nowadays, stairs make it easier to climb up the mountain hermitages. Still – the number of steps varies from 100 to over 300, some followed by an uphill walk.

Moussaka Heart
Greek Moussaka

Visit Greece Tonight!

Cook authentic Moussaka is a casserole made with ground lamb and eggplant covered with a thick layer of béchamel sauce.


Or try mix with Kleftiko, a lamb dish baked in parchment paper. It’s easy to prepare, fun to eat, and has the rich Moussaka flavor. Get the recipes here!

Moussaka a la Kleftiko
Moussaka a la Kleftiko