Return of Spring: Return of Persephone


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Spring Equinox

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Λεπτομέρεια από τον πίνακα του Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema,(1836-1912) “Εαρινή ισημερία” , 1894.


In ancient times, the spring equinox marks the time of the return of the goddess Persephone from the Underworld. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth and, at the fall equinox, she descends downward into the Underworld to visit with the dead.

In her absence, Demeter searches in vain for her daughter, and becomes consumed by grief, causing all of the earth to wither and die.  The gods later intervene, bringing Persephone back up from the Underworld to reunite with her mother at spring time, thus the blossoming of the earth anew. Grecian history marks the story of Continue reading

Léo Delibes’ Lakmé: The Flower Duet

If the word “opera” brings an image of a fat lady singing and sends you running away, you’re missing out. Many operas are so famous that they’ve entered into pop culture. In fact, you probably already know more about operas than you think.

Lakmé is an opera composed by French composer Léo Delibes in 1881, based on the autobiographical novel Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti (about Loti’s romantic liaison with an exotic Tahitian girl, how’s that for a premise of the novel?). The opera is famous for its complex and beautiful melodies. Continue reading

Stieglitz And O’Keeffe: Their Love And Life In Letters

 

 

From 1915 until 1946, some 25,000 pieces of paper were exchanged between two major 20th-century artists. Painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz wrote each other letters — sometimes two and three a day, some of them 40 pages long. The correspondence tracks their relationship from acquaintances to admirers to lovers to man and wife to exasperated — but still together — long-marrieds.

The first volume of those letters has just been published. My Faraway One, edited by Sarah Greenough, features 700-plus pages of the couple’s correspondence, sent between 1915 and 1933. Continue reading

Hong Kong Flower Show 2019

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The Hong Kong Flower Show is a major event organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to promote horticulture and the awareness of greening.

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Every year, it provides a good opportunity for hundreds of thousands of local citizens and horticulture lovers all over the world to appreciate the beauty of flowers and share their experiences in the cultivation of flowers. Continue reading

Legend Of The Dragonfly

 

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Today I saw the dragon-fly

Come from the wells where he did lie.

An inner impulse rent the veil

Of his old husk: from head to tail

Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.

He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;

Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew

A living flash of light he flew.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

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In many European cultures, however, the dragonfly is associated not with blessings, but with evil. In Sweden, it is believed the presence of the dragonfly around you indicates impending injury or tragedy.

Various culture’s language may play a part in this dark dragonfly symbolism. In Romania, the word “drac” means both dragon and the devil, and when combined with folklore, can easily result in evil implications for the dragon-fly. Continue reading