Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby stargazer » Jul 04, 2014 11:07 am

Fireworks are very common here in the north central US on New Year's Eve, set off around midnight to welcome in the new year. As I recall, this seems to be a relatively recent thing, becoming really popular only in the last 30 years or so.

So, when it's dark enough for the fireworks to show up they will start, probably 9:30 PM.


Around here it's still very light at 9.30 and it's closer to 10.30 before the fireworks start.

(It depends not only on how far north you live - the farther north, the later the sunset - but also where you live in your time zone. The farther west you live, the later the sun sets - and rises - all year round. I remember camping in Upper Michigan's Porcupine Mountains State Park. The time zone line is near the park. From the right spot, the sun set around 9.05 but if you walked a little ways east, it was suddenly setting at 10.05. ;)) )

Around here, people send off fireworks at New Years also, but it's mostly small stuff done privately. And late at night


That's also true here, though the fact that it can routinely be -30C here on New Year's Eve tends to dampen that a bit. This time of year, it's another story. There always seem to be the popping of "personal fireworks" for a few weeks centered on July 4.

It's probably true about Alaska, even in Anchorage the largest city in the state, there are bears and moose in the city. Keep in mind that Anchorage is about the same size of city as St. Louis, Missouri, so that's kind of crazy thing.


Bear sightings are becoming more and more common in the suburban areas of the Twin Cities (metro population about 3.5 million) as urban development spreads north towards the bears' natural habitat. In fact, just the other day a man in a town just northwest of the metro area shot and killed a bear in his backyard because he feared for his daughter.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Jul 04, 2014 5:16 pm

I love fireworks although it's against the law to fire off airburst types in North Carolina. You can do all the ground ones though, mostly sparklers. They're not quite as much fun though ;)). Across the border in South Carolina they have enormous fireworks stores that you can purchase any kind of firework imaginable, and it wouldn't surprise me if they stocked some of Gandalf's inventions too :)). They can get *quite* expensive though. Last time we were up in Wisconsin we bought $50 for 12 air bursts and a few whirligig fireworks that spin around on the ground, but it was a great time and we loved it. :)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Puddleglum » Jul 04, 2014 7:58 pm

Thank you SnowAngel.
Fireworks are all the rage around here in the midwest. Minnesota does have some restrictions as to what kind though. I myself do not fire off any, so I don't really know what the limits are. as some have commented already there are more than a few who hop the border, say to Wisconsin, where laws are a little more liberal, and bring them back.
Many are the noisemakers now popping off around the neighborhood as I type this. the festivities will continue well into the night, and as I have one bad ear I shall be sleeping on it so as to get a good night's rest. Unfortunatly there will also be those who will continue this for the next couple nights.
Which is the drawback of such merrymaking. There are always those who seek to push the boundaries, and so make the regular folks look bad.
Almost every year there are reports of someone injured due to such mishandling.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Jul 04, 2014 9:00 pm

@aileth That would be horrible. The thought of being chased frightens me.

As for fireworks. We have them on new years day and Australia Day(which are less than a month apart). So they are both summer days here. They usually show the kids ones at 8:30pm(WA doesn't have Day light savings), and the others at 12am. As for Australia day they have them around 8:30pm again since timing doesn't really matter for that one. I grew up in a small town in Tasmania, so we didn't have fireworks displays. When I moved to QLD I was so exited to see them but mum wouldn't take us. I finally went to one with friends when I was 14/15, and it was all right for the firs 10 minuets than I got bored.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby aileth » Jul 06, 2014 7:53 am

Either I'm easily amused, or else I had the best circumstances for my first on-the-ground fireworks. Maybe waiting thirty-some years helped!

The show was beside the lake; the fireworks exploded out over the lake, fired from a cart positioned on a point of land jutting out into the water. We were no more than 500 hundred meters from it, and it was very loud. The spurts of flame were pretty impressive, and of course the setting just added to the overall effect.

Yesterday Mom and I were in town at a Scottish festival. (As a side note, should the first year an event happens be called the "First annual ___;" after all, how do they know it will happen on a yearly basis?)

Now don't get me wrong. I love the bagpipes--outside, far away, in the distance. You get the picture. I must say, though, that it was not as painful as I expected. In fact, it was positively exciting.

Imagine a great field, with little canopies dotted around. No matter where you walked, there was a piper tuning up, adjusting his pipes, or just playing. As you sauntered along, the first one faded out and was replaced (or mingled) with the next one. I think there were both individual and band piping competitions, though we didn't really get the chance to observe any of that.

The best part was when all the pipe bands joined together. At first I thought there were three different groups, but on looking at the program, it appeared as though there might have been as many as five. Whatever the case, there were about a hundred in total, including the drummers.
And they were good.

As well, there was a sheep dog demonstration, heavy sports events, and a variety of folk dancing. We missed seeing the Highland dancing, which was annoying. And the mediaeval sword fighting.

Altogether, a most unusual way of spending a Saturday morning, but I think I would go again, given the chance.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Puddleglum » Jul 07, 2014 7:36 pm

Ah, How I do enjoy the sound of the pipes. at least when someone knows what they are doing.
Sometimes at a rendezvous, ( Which is a little like a festival that you mentioned aileth ) there is someone playing. Definitly adds to the atmosphere.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Jul 23, 2014 1:58 am

We half-heartly celebrate Halloween here. Some states/areas more than others. When we lived in Tasmania no one bothered with it n my area(they may do now since we left 12 years ago), when we moved to Queensland my mother was shocked when 3 groups o kids came to her door asking for lollies the same night.

Anyway I met my new house mate. He is an exchange student from Germany. He turned up in a light shirt and shorts and the first thing he said to me was "they said it would be warm" and I said " Did they check the temperature in JULY when they told you that". I thinking he was expecting clear skies and hot weather. Sorry you will have to wait to October at least.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Jul 23, 2014 8:29 pm

Halloween here is pretty popular, mostly for the aspect of getting buckets crammed with candy. ;)) Plus it's a great chance to come up with unique costume ideas and try em' out to impress one's friends. I've not worn an actual costume though since I was very young. Last year my toddler daughter won a costume contest in town though and was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. :D
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby stargazer » Jul 28, 2014 10:11 am

Your daughter is very cute, Shadowlander! Agreed about Halloween candy, though in recent years there's been an increasing market for costumes for adults attending Halloween parties as well.

I've noticed that local big-box retailers begin displaying Halloween merchandise around Labor Day weekend (the first Monday in September), with it gradually taking up more and more space.

Here's a question that came up in a discussion the other night with friends: how popular or widespread is peanut butter outside the US? And the PBJ - peanut butter and jelly (fruit preserves) - sandwich is a favorite among kids in many parts of the country. Is this something unique here, or do people in other parts of the world have PBJ sandwiches too?
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby johobbit » Jul 28, 2014 10:33 am

What an adorable photo, SL. ;))

Halloween seems to be dying out here. We never had a lot of kids at the door, living on a quiet street ... I think the most was 38, but last year we had none. Not a one. Very unusual. It seems parents are leaning more towards fall festivals and community activities these days rather than the door-to-door fun of time past.

As for peanut butter, it's extremely popular here in Canada, and one of my own personal favourites. Lately I have tried to lessen my sugar intake, so am now purchasing the natural Peanuts Only variety, which separates and needs stirring from time to time. It's delicious! Peanut butter and jelly/jam is very common, and probably used to be the most popular lunch for kids to bring to school, but with the rising peanut allergies, that has changed a lot. (Myself, I really like, erm, peanut butter and sliced green olives: the contrast between the ooey-gooey pb and the tart olives is amazing. And weird, I know. :p )
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby aileth » Jul 28, 2014 3:10 pm

Oh, jo, that's awful! Maybe I'd like it if I liked olives, though :p

We are happy to live at the end of a long, long driveway. We have yet to have kids come to our door--we always buy candy just in case, but then we know what to do with them afterwards. These days most of the parents drive half an hour into the big town, heading for the massed neighbourhoods that make it worth while. Unlike a friend of mine, who used to go out 40 years ago. Her dad would drop them at the first house and then they had to walk the rest. The driveways were long and the houses few and far between. She would go to a door, and then come back looking a little different for a second helping; she figures the adults saw through it, but had compassion on their weary legs.

Of course, it's all the marketing these days, 'gazer. Can't let the competition get ahead of you.

Cute picture, SL. Hey, you know, by the time they get to casting for MN, Sarah just might be the right age for Polly :)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 28, 2014 6:09 pm

Awwww, your Little Red Riding Hood is too cute for words, SL! Not surprised that she took home the trophy!

I went trick-or-treating a number of times as a child, but it's been a really long time. It's fun and exciting when you're a kid (who can resist the prospect of all that candy @-)), but I find the premise just a little boring now that I've gotten older. I think a spooky scavenger hunt in the woods would be more fun, or just hauling a bunch of pumpkins home and having a pumpkin carving/pumpkin pie party. =p~ Any excuse to dress up in a costume is fun, though! One of these days I want to go to a Halloween party and do the bobbing for apples thing. ;))
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Jul 29, 2014 3:25 am

Thank you all for the compliments on my kid! B-)

aileth wrote:Hey, you know, by the time they get to casting for MN, Sarah just might be the right age for Polly


Well then I will keep that in mind and read MN to her lots more under the guise of prepping her for the job. ;))

I love peanut butter, and PBJ sandwiches are the proverbial bomb diggity, as the youth used to say. I prefer crunchy over smooth (this uses bits of peanut mixed in with the butter as opposed to smooth which is just the butter) though everyone else in my family are fans of smooth. As jelly goes I think it goes best with strawberry but I love it with grape jelly too. If you've never tried it before give a Fluffernutter sandwich a go. You'll just need a jar of marshmallow creme in lieu of jelly or preserves. :D
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby johobbit » Jul 29, 2014 3:37 am

Oh goodness, I'd forgotten all about peanut butter and Fluffernutter together! That has such an awesome taste. Talk about ooey-gooey-sweet overload. Mmmm! ;)) Is Fluffernutter just North America-based? Does anyone else know of this luscious marshmallow-y spread?
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 29, 2014 4:14 am

Well now, speaking of peanut butter, yes it is popular here, but there has been quite a kerfuffle about food allergies. Especially as kids do borrow each other's sandwiches. Normally a peanut butter sandwich is just that - peanut butter filling in between 2 slices of buttered bread.

I'm finding the idea of putting something else with peanut butter something of a puzzlement, especially if you are going to put jelly on it. Perhaps jello is the term I've seen in USA books. The sort of dessert where the method is to mix some jelly crystals in hot water, mix in some cold water and let it set in the fridge for a nice plain summer dessert. Oh yes, you can get lite jelly, which reduces sugar content a little. But wouldn't it get a bit messy, to eat a peanut butter and port wine jelly sandwich? Especially if the jelly gets runny? The mind boggles. :-\

We do have jam in Australia. But which one would you eat with peanut butter? There are some varieties of jam that are more of a jelly consistency, since the seeds etc have been filtered out. Apple Jelly is the nicest version of this type of jam, and I used to make it.

But there are others. Real jam (or is it conserve?) is often made with berry seeds or sometimes skin or zest left in, as in the usual orange marmalade. Most fruits including figs, cherries, apricots, berries, of course, rosehip, and even tomatoes and chilis can be made into jam. Cumquat (Aboriginal term), an Australian native fruit, is a nice sort of marmalade-like jam, and we also make lime, lemon, whisky & orange and also ginger marmalade, one of my favourites. In the past people also made choko jam. /:)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Jul 29, 2014 5:08 am

In tasmania, in the summer you have raspberries growing everywhere, my grandma use to make jam with them. It was so nice, all I know it requires a long reducing time and a lot of sugar but it was very nice indeed.

One of my American friends from highechool told me what they call jelly is what we call jam and that is what they have with peanut butter. The stuff we call jam.

Olives and peanut butter? oh since I can't stand olives or peanut butter I doubt I would like the combo.

@jo it may be dying out due to the stranger danger thing that people didn't use to worry about as much in days past. It has changed heaps since I was a kid(when I say kid I mean 12 and beloow, that was only seven years ago). My sister and I use to be able to ride our bikes outside on the streets when I was seven, and mum wouldn't let my little brother and sister do such things to they were 11ish.
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