Category Archives: Culture

New Zodiac Signs for Newcomers

Worship it or not, astrology is a science. What each horoscope says is a different case though. Unless we were born more than 3,000 years ago, I’m afraid we have got to change our zodiac sign. That’s what I understand from the article below. What we knew about our star sign, either from teenagers magazines or weekend papers, is not relevant anymore after all based on these discoveries. It could be simple to change our belief on this matter. But the thing is not as simple as it sounds for those having their zodiac sign tattoos. They must be gutted!


Why your Zodiac sign might be wrong

Posted By Vanessa Green, Friday, 14 January 2011 10:58 GMT

New research shows that our astrological signs might not be what we thought they were.

If you consider yourself a classically well-balanced Libra or a typically stubborn Aries, you may be in for quite a shock – you could belong to a completely different star sign.

Over the past 3,000 years, the Earth’s shift on its axis has changed the 12 astrological signs as we know them. Astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society have discovered that because of the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth, the alignment of the stars was pushed by about a month.

Essentially, your astrological sign is determined by the position of the sun on the day you were born. This new information in effect means that what we thought we knew about our Zodiac sign is wrong. “Because of this change in the tilt, the Earth is over here and the sun is in a different constellation than it was 3,000 years ago when this study of the stars began,” astronomer Parke Kunkle told the Twin Cities’ KARE-TV. “When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it’s really not in Pisces,” Kunkle says.

In fact, astrology has had major issues since it began. Babylonians originally had 13 constellations but opted for 12 instead, completely ignoring Ophuchicus, the snake holder, which has now been reintroduced into the star sign line-up. The Libra star sign didn’t even come to exist until the time of Julius Caesar.

So forget everything you thought you knew about your star sign, and get ready for a brand-spanking new version of the astrological chart. The Minnesota Planetarium Society has revealed the following list as where the real Zodiac signs fall.

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11
Pisces: March 11-April 18
Aries: April 18-May 13
Taurus: May 13-June 21
Gemini: June 21-July 20
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20



Moroccan Hospitouchlity

It’s seen as a cultural taboo in almost the rest of the world for men to share too much physical contact. But Moroccan men have their own way in expressing close friendship or warm welcome. They touch each other as much and, can be, soulful as possible.

Photo by Ady Nugroho

I understood the real meaning of expression “keep in touch” only when I was in Morocco. Men keep touching, literally, almost all the time everywhere. They show no hesitation in doing so as if no wonder among foreigners witnessing the view. Tourists most likely get the real feeling of getting in touch with local people anyway.

Handshakes and hugs may be acceptable in most countries. But these are not enough in Morocco. Here, they walk arm-in-arm, lean, cuddle, hold hands, kiss cheeks sometimes twice for each cheek. I call it Moroccan hospitouchlity.

I remember one night when I was waiting for a bus at Regent Street in London I saw two young men interacting quite intimately just a meter away from me. It was before I knew the hospitouchlity a la Morocco. They kissed cheeks. One of them wrapped his arm around the other’s waist when they were observing screen on a digital camera. The bus stop was only a stumble away from ‘the red light district’ Soho, so no big question mark in my mind. They looked Moroccan indeed.

The similar sight was seen in a train from Fes to Marrakech, Morocco. Two veterinary students in my compartment cuddled while they were working on statistic exercise. I tended to avoid looking at them but the show was so luring. I was told by a friend beforehand that the highest level of friendship among Moroccan men might be shown by touching and flattering head. They did these gestures too.

Another ‘couple’ mended dream with one head leaned on the other’s shoulder intentionally. They didn’t know each other though.

I am trying to find the correlation between the behavior and happiness. In 2008, research conducted by the University of Michigan’s World Values Surveys placed Morocco in the 67th of the world’s happiest countries.

However, touching bottom is an insulting what so ever in the whole Moroccan land. So I could tolerate so long as they didn’t grab my bumps.

Keep in touch!

How Many Cheek Kisses? 1, 2, 3, or 4

How many kisses we should give away is depending on country we are in. The more kisses we plant doesn’t mean the more positive impression we get from others. So far I’ve been experiencing four different cheek-kissing cultures ranging from one to four times.

Photo by Simon Bottomley

Travelers are frequently faced with awkward situation when they have to share cheek kisses with local people. Pushing the other cheek for a second kiss will result in blushing face because the opponent practices only-one-time kiss. On the other hand, pulling our face away after a kiss can be regarded as rejecting warm greeting when the opponent offers more. Research prior to trips is suggested to prevent such clumsy situation.

Who do give the least kiss? British people do. Once cheek kissing is more than enough. That’s better than no touch at all though. It’s only practiced commonly between men and women or among women while cheek kissing among men is kept discreet. The gesture is given for a greeting when people meet up or for a goodbye wish.

My original culture in Indonesia practices two-time cheek-kissing between men and women or among women. Men usually share hugs indicating close friendship. A bit different from those in Britain, Indonesian people interact involving more body contacts among either different or same sexes. Hand shakings are common. They usually take place before a cheek-kissing involving the four hands altogether. Don’t be surprised to see women holding hands in public places. They are not necessarily lesbian.

Three-time cheek-kissing is practiced by, among others, Dutch people. I knew it for the first time when I was learning Dutch language back home. Conversations between men and women in the course book often ended up with “kus…kus…kus…” which means drie kussen alias three kisses. The Time mentions that three kisses are a sign of respect for those at least 10 years older than you.

It’s true that Indonesia was colonized by Dutch people, but the kissing tradition isn’t inherited by indigenous people.

Touchable society

And the most touchable-society award goes to Moroccan people based on my observation so far. I was confronted with a totally-different culture minutes after I landed in Morocco from the don’t-touch city, London. Four-time cheek-kissing, twice for each cheek, is a universal form of greeting among old or young men, a gesture may be seen in different way by Londoners. Handshakes and hugs usually take place before both persons lean forward and either touch cheek with cheek or lip with cheek.

On the other hand, kisses between men and women are quite rare regarding religion restrictions.

The practice is common in the rest of Mediterranean and Middle East countries including France and Spain by which Morocco was once controlled.

As quoted from Wikipedia, it is an alleged excuse in France to steal a few more kisses to a girl to say something like “Chez nous, c’est quatre (Where I come from, we kiss four times)” after having already kissed twice. Some girls will even push the joke by answering “Mais chez nous c’est huit! (And where I come from, we kiss eight times!).”

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