WHAT IS TULIP FESTIVAL? WHY DOES CANADA GET TULIPS EVERY YEAR?

The Canadian Tulip Festival (French: Festival Canadien des Tulipes; Dutch: Canadees Festival van de Tulp) is a tulip festival, held annually in May in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The festival claims to be the world's largest tulip festival, displaying over one million tulips, with attendance of over 650,000 visitors annually. Large displays of tulips are planted throughout the city, and the largest display of tulips is found in Commissioners Park on the shores of Dow's Lake, and along the Rideau Canal with 300,000 tulips planted there alone.

In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered the future Queen Juliana and her family for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government, thereby allowing Princess Margriet's citizenship to be solely influenced by her mother's Dutch citizenship. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.

In the years following Queen Juliana's original donation, Ottawa became famous for its tulips and in 1953 the Ottawa Board of Trade and photographer Malak Karsh organized the first "Canadian Tulip Festival". Queen Juliana returned to celebrate the festival in 1967, and Princess Margriet returned in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the festival.

For many years, the festival featured a series of outdoor music concerts in addition to the tulips. The 1972 festival saw Liberace give an opening concert, and at the 1987 festival, Canadian singer Alanis Morissette made her first appearance at the age of 12, first became widely known after opening for Big Sugar at the 2003 festival. Montreal's General Rudie also gained valuable exposure early in their career with a performance at the 2000 festival.

For a dozen years, the Canadian Tulip Festival celebrated countries all across the world, who have also adopted the Tulip as a Symbol of International Friendship. From Turkey, the originating country of the tulip.

While the Netherlands continues to send 20,000 bulbs to Canada each year (10,000 from the Royal Family and 10,000 from the Dutch Bulb Growers Association), by 1963 the festival featured more than 2 million, and today sees nearly 3 million tulips purchased from Dutch and Canadian distributors.

Credit : Wikipedia 

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What is Kintsugi art in japan?

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of sealing cracks in broken pieces of pottery using gold powder and lacquer. A direct translation of the word means 'golden joinery'. By emphasising the cracks, the need to mend them and renew an object, the 400-year-old technique reflects the larger Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi that tells you to look for beauty in imperfections.

The art may date back to the late 15th century,  when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa returned a broken Chinese tea bowl to China to have it repaired. The bowl was given back to him held together with unattractive metal staples. At the time, staples were the main method used to fix broken, yet valuable, vessels. Tiny holes were drilled on either side of the broken pieces and then metal staples were bent and used to hold them in place.

The result was practical, but not very attractive. Yoshimasa's experience may have triggered a quest by Japanese craftsmen to find a new type of repair that could make damaged items look new — or even better.

The craft became so beautiful and so revered that collectors developed an appetite for the mended pieces. Some people were accused of purposely breaking prized items just so they could be repaired with the golden art. Some say that an item repaired by kintsugi looks more beautiful than when it was whole. When a ceramic vessel undergoes this mending transformation, its once-smooth surface becomes covered with rivers of colored zigzags and patterns. Because the repairs are done with meticulous skill (and with precious metal), the mended fractures look immaculate and artistic.

Credit : The Hugger 

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What is so special about Lake Titicaca?

The biggest knitted objects in the world are the 62 self-fashioned Uros Islands in Peru's Lake Titicaca (the world's highest navigable lake at 12,500 feet above sea level).  The most remarkable thing about Lake Titicaca is its floating Islands and the people who live there. Each island is no more than 90 feet wide and is strong enough to hold several hundred people, buildings and boats (balsas). The Uru people collect totora reeds, which grow in the lake, and weave their dense roots together to form sturdy layers called 'khili' (about one to two metres thick). These are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds at the bottom of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top constantly, about every three months. If well maintained, an island can last for 30 years.

The houses and boats of the Uro people are built from the same reeds using a similar technique to that of the islands. They also make handcrafted items that they sell to visitors to the floating islands. About every six months they have to lift up and move their houses and buildings so that they can add another layer to the reeds of the floating island. When the Totora is pulled for construction, part of the root is eaten because it’s a rich source of iodine. It is also used for pain relief, tea and to cure a hangover. Fishing and hunting for birds is one of the main ways of getting food on the islands. The Uros also eat the guinea pigs and ducks that they keep on the islands. Waterbirds are also kept on the island but for helping them fish or for their eggs. On the islands, there is a traditional school and a Christian school that are the main sources of education on the islands. As the kids get older and start looking for university they will likely leave the lake and head to the mainland to study in Puno.

The Uro’s way of living is one to marvel at but is also extremely difficult and steadily disappearing. Many still live in the traditional way, hauling reeds into their boats, reconstructing the islands, heading off onto the lake to fish, but many of the young people are leaving and start a different life on the mainland. Daily life here depends mostly around the reeds that grow in the lake, they provide food, housing and transportation.  It is a life of hard work and long days in a harsh climate.

In recent years, tourism has become an important part of the Uro economy. People have opened their homes and welcomed visitors from all over the world. Their unique lifestyle and breathtaking Lake Titicaca make the floating islands a must when passing Puno.

Picture Credit : Google 

What is the name of the Japanese man who created stunning arts using Microsoft Excel?

While most digital artists opt to use Photoshop or other similar digital imaging software, 77-year-old Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi chooses to work with Microsoft Excel to produce his beautiful works of art. His “paintings” are remarkably intricate works that mimic traditional Japanese paintings that offer scenic views of natural landscapes rich with cultural motifs.

The artist says, “I never used Excel at work but I saw other people making pretty graphs and thought, ‘I could probably draw with that.'” He adds, “Graphics software is expensive but Excel comes pre-installed in most computers… And it has more functions and is easier to use than [Microsoft] Paint.”

Horiuchi even dabbled with Microsoft Word, but found it to be too restrictive in its paper sizing. There is far more freedom for the artist to expand on his pieces in Excel. Since his discovery of the program's artistic functions and his ability to utilize the software's capabilities, Horiuchi has gone on to win competitions with his work, most notably taking first prize at the Excel Autoshape Art Contest in 2006.

Having gained worldwide praise over the last few years, Horiuchi has now caught the attention of Great Big Story. The artist invited GBS into his home, offering a behind-the-scenes look at his process. It's hard to believe that these lifelike illustrations were made on Excel spreadsheets, which are typically used to crunch numbers.

Credit : My modern met

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Which is the most expensive nail polish in the world?

 

The most expensive nail polish in the world is Azature Black Diamond containing 267 carats of diamonds and costing US$250,000 a bottle.  In August 2012, Azature launched a unique black nail polish, made of black diamonds, which is priced at an astounding US $250,000. Azature is a creator based in Los Angeles-California, who gained immense fame for his beautiful jewellery collections and fine chocolates. He has taken his signature Azature appeal up a step, with the launch of this exclusive black diamond nail polish, which only celebrities and the uber-rich would be able to buy.

The world’s most expensive bottle of nail polish contains 267 carats of black diamonds, which would add an amazing sparkle to the nails of a celebrity or an aristocrat. However, Azature will be producing only one bottle of this 267 carat - $250,000 black diamond nail polish, which seems to be sort of like a publicity gimmick to attract rich customers, rather than anything else.

In the past Azature has dressed up leading celebrities, including Rihanna, Beyonce and the royalty of some countries. He has always created unique products (like diamond jewellery and chocolates) to impress his elite clientele. With the launch of the world’s most expensive nail polish, Azature seems to be entering the high-end cosmetics business.

Picture Credit : Google