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APAHM – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
As it is nationally known, May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – a month where Asian and Pacific Islander traditions, cultures, and people are highlighted. Not only is defining one’s Asian or Pacific Islander identity during this humbling time important, but it’s one more avenue for us to join in unison to celebrate and promote what Asian and Pacific Islanders have to offer to the world. In honor of this rewarding month, I’ll be going from A to Z and giving a brief blurb about aspects from other Asian and Pacific Islander cultures around the world!
***Refer to NBC Asian America Presents: A to Z http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/asian-america-a-to-z
Ao dai – Vietnamese national costume typically worn by women. The ao dai is a form-fitting tunic dress worn over pants and extending down the body. These dresses come in all colors and designs, including flowers and other graceful symbols.
Bali – Bali is most likely the most known spot in Indonesia. It is an island to the east filled with tourist destinations, rice paddies, volcanoes and mountains, and all the beaches you could imagine.
Chutney – Chutney is a type of sauce usually used in East India. It can include all types of sweet and sour ingredients, fruits, herbs, and purees.
Diwali – Hindu festival of lights. It is celebrated throughout South Asia and festivities include fireworks, lights and oil camps all over the cities, colorful artwork, and family feasts.
Es Campur – Es campur is an Indonesian drink/dessert that everyone loves as a treat. It’s a combination of all types of sweet foods: grass jelly, young coconut, condensed milk, ice, jackfruit, and any type of syrup.
Fale – Fale is the Samoan word for house or houses. Samoan architecture usually consists of rounded domes/huts, and usually no walls. Beams are the support! Ropes, coconuts, straw, stones, and leaves are key elements to building a fale.
Gamelan – Gamelan is an ensemble of typically metal, percussive instruments from Indonesia. Instruments almost always include bronze or iron gongs, cymbals, drums, and chimes. A kendhang, or a two-headed drum, is usually included in the orchestra to set the beat for the gamelan pieces.
Hula dance – The hula dance is one of Hawaii’s oldest traditions. Many hula dances are performed all over from celebrations, weddings, religious ceremonies, and parties, depicting some type of ancient story or folk tale. The dance is also known for the colorful tops, festive leis, and grass skirts.
Indian elephant – Indian elephants are extremely prominent symbolically in Indian culture. Especially with Hindus, as they also have a god in the form of an elephant, Ganesha, elephants are a symbol and representation of mental strength, responsibility, and the embodiment of perfection.
Jakarta – Capital of Indonesia! Home of the world’s worst traffic, endless list of malls, and tons of tourist attractions to visit. One is called Monas, or Monumen Nasional.
Kebaya – A typical blouse-dress combination worn by Indonesian women. The blouse consists of a tight-fitting one and long-sleeves, while the skirt can be made of any type of material or pattern. Many blouses can consist of beds, embroidery, or sequins, and the skirts, or sarongs, of locally known textiles.
Lechon – Roasted whole pig known as one of the national and most popular dishes of the Philippines.
Muay Thai – Muay Thai is also known as Thai boxing. It’s the national sport and martial art of Thailand, using techniques such as clinching, using more than one limb, and using the entire body as a weapon towards the opponent.
Nippon – How to say Japan in Japanese characters!
Origami – The Japanese art of paper folding. The word origami comes from the Japanese word, oru, or folding, and kami, or paper. Many folds in origami can turn into one beautiful, unique creation.
Parol – During Christmas season, you’ll see parols, or Christmas lanterns, hung up all over the Philippines. The star-shaped lanterns can be seen in busy cities, in front of a house, or even in small villages. The symbol brings about hope, liveliness, and the emphasis of light over darkness during this season.
Quail egg – A little unexpected, but quail eggs are known as a delicacy to East Asia. Quail eggs can be eaten as a quick snack on the go, or can be used as parts of intricate dishes for over-the-top celebrations. Its uniqueness in form and taste add all types of flavor to the experience of eating one.
Roti: everyone’s favorite food! Roti is a type of bread/flatbread eaten all over South and Central Asia. Many countries have their variation, but what’s very common is roti. It’s made out of wholemeal flour and can be eaten with virtually anything! Soup, salad, curry, vegetables, or meat, you name it.
Sipa Takraw – Southeast Asian sport also known as kick volleyball, or volleyball with your feet! Players can only use their feet, head, chest, and knees to touch the ball at any given moment.
Tok Pisin – Tok Pisin is the Creole language derived from English that’s mainly spoken in Papua New Guinea. A pidgin, or pisin in this case, language is a language that is simplified, in both words and grammar, that for means of communication of two groups that don’t have a language in common. Usually, these languages are formed as a result of environment, trade, and migration patterns. For example, Tok Pisin is derived from English: tok meaning talk, pisin meaning pidgin. Other word examples include haus for house, plis is please, and mi lavin yu is I love you. As you can see, it sounds like English!
Ukiyo-e – Ukiyo-e is a type of Japanese art that emerged in the 16th century. It’s known as an art form for using woodblocking printing techniques. The woodblocking process has 3 steps: painting a design with ink, carving the design onto wooden blocks, and applying ink to the blocks, finally pressing them onto the paper to create the picture. Many ukiyo-e paintings have subjects such as women, landscape, sumo wrestlers, or erotica.
Vovinam – Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art. Using the concept of hard versus soft, this martial art uses a lot of mind over body as well. No weapons are used, but combat, grappling, and basic striking techniques are integrated into the sport.
Wonton – A wonton is a type of dumpling used in Chinese culture. Like dumplings, wontons are made with a square wrapper of flour, egg, and water, filled with any type of meat, spices, and vegetables.
Xi’an – One of the most ancient cities in China! The museum of the famous Terracotta Warriors are held in this city.
Yurt – A portable, round tent made out of skin or felt used for nomads in Central Asia, including Mongolia, Turkey, Afghanistan. Traditional yurts have specific patterns or sacred ornaments either surrounding them or on the skin of the tent.
Zhongguo – How to say China in Chinese characters!