The Maldives are renowned for their legendary sunsets, but the night time celestial displays of stars and moon are equally as dazzling on the light-pollution free skies reflecting on the glass-like seas below. The full moon is always an occasion for a special celebration and tonight’s full moon marks the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in particular.
The event is a time of coming together with friends and family for prayers of thanksgiving for the harvest bounty. Like the American Thanksgiving holiday, there is plenty of feasting and to compliment the cornucopia of foods, Shangri-La Villingili offers the most exceptional range of Chinese libations…
- Baijiu (Chinese White Spirit) – Distilled.
- MOU TAI (mao – tai) Produced in Guizhou, Southwest China. Often referred to as Chinese vodka. Distilled from sorghum. Unique because of ‘sauce-fragrance’. Alcohol degree from 53 to 35 (the higher, the more expensive). Official alcohol beverage in Chinese governments. Claims to be one of the three most famous liquors in the world, besides cognac and whiskey.
- WU LIANG YE – Produced in Chengdu. Often known as the magic liquor of China. Purest, most authentic baijiu distiller. Complex with a fragrant peppery nose, soft and mellow on the palate
- Huangjiu (Yellow Liquor) – Fermented
- SHAOXING WINE (shao – sing). Produced in Shaoxing, Zhe Jiang. Shaoxing is the most internationally known high grade yellow wine, made for drinking and cooking. Traditionally drank both chilled and warm.
- NU ER HONG (nü-eR-hong). Produced in Shaoxing, Zhe Jiang Fermented from glutinous rice and wheat. Alcohol degree is less than 20 degrees. Traditionally drank warm. Nu Er Hong has a beautiful story. In the ancient times, when the baby daughter was born, the parent would carve or paint jars of wine and bury them underground until the daughter got married. Thereafter, the parents would dig the wines out for a feast with the guests, hence its name Nu Er Hong (Daughter Rice Wine)
- Chinese Grape Wine – Fermented
- White – Produced in Shaan Xi, Northwest China. Close proximity to Xi An, home of the Terracotta Warriors. Grace Vineyard is one of the most established winery in China, and has been in operations since 1997. The first vintage was produced in 2001. Grace Vineyards Tasya’s Reserve Chardonnay 2008. Color: Pale, straw Green. Aromas: Light oak, tropical fruits, cashews. Palate: Light oak, nuts, melon fruits. Mouth-filling with fresh acidity.
- Red – Grace Vineyards Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Color: Deep Ruby Red. Aromas: Blackberry, blackcurrant, subtle oak. Palate: Soft, medium-bodied red wine with blackberry notes. Fine tannins and light oak, good clean finish.
- Beer – TSING TAO BEER (ching-dao). Brewery was founded by German settlers in China in 1903. Tsing Tao is the number one branded consumer producted exported in China
The catalogue above is compliments of Winnie Toh (photo above) from Singapore who is herself a Certified sommelier by Court of Master Sommeliers and also received the WSET Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits as well as the Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.
This occasion has made me realise how much material I have on the Maldives’ biggest guest country, China, so I am adding the tag “Chinese” today to bring together all these pieces.
Tonight is the “Flower Moon”. Also called Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon. It marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.
The perfect time for one of Velaa’s “Moonlight Massages”. It is only offered once a month on nights with a full moon. And tonight’s would seem particular apt to stimulate your own personal blossoming.
With this post, I’ve added the new tag of “Moon” for all those lunar luxuries.
Coconut Full Moon today. Of all of the special “moons”, the Coconut Full Moon must be the most apropos to the Maldives. And of all the Maldives resorts, the eponymous Kurumba – which means “Coconut” in Dhivehi – is the most apropos to toast it. Kurumba offers a number of coconut specialties including its recently introduced, “Mongozo”, coconut beer. It is brewed in nearby Sri Lanka using normal processes but with a touch of coconut essence. Truly exotic brew.
Full moons have a number of colloquial names around the world. In the subcontinental region, the Coconut Full Moon is actually a cause for celebration, in particular the Coconut Day festival or “Narali Purnima” takes place in coast communities on the Indian Ocean to thank the sea God for calm waters…
“Nariyal Purnima, also known as the Coconut Full Moon, is celebrated with great merriment in many states of western India. Nariyal Purnima falls in the month of Shravana Purnima, which symbolises the end of monsoon season, and marks the beginning of the new fishing season for the fishermen as they avoid going into waters before this. Post festival, monsoon starts to recede; the sky becomes clear and the sea calm, as the tides too recede. All this makes fishing in the seas easy and safe. Therefore, the festival is very significant for the fishing community which is completely dependent on the sea for its livelihood. On this occasion, the sea god Varuna is worshipped and his blessings are sought; people offer coconuts to the sea as a symbol of thanksgiving.”
“The fishermen celebrate this festival by adorning their boats and putting flags on them, painting the coconuts and taking them to the sea to offer them to the God Varuna with prayers for bountiful fish catch and to protect them from all the risks and allowing them to sail safely…Thus, this time of happiness is rejoiced in the community gathering by singing and dancing in groups. As a coconut has three eyes, it is believed that it represents Lord Shiva and this is why it is considered an auspicious offering to the holy deity. In addition to this, it is believed that, it is the purest offering which is available on the earth and also, the water and the kernel inside it are considered to be pure. Coconut is broken in front of the divine beings as a mark of respect and also to take their blessings before setting off on to a new fishing season. The pieces of the broken coconut are given as prasad and the delicacy prepared during this festive time is coconut rice.”
The increasing ‘clear sky’ and ‘calm sea’, is something that all visitors can appreciate. So raise a glass of purest Mongozo!
Super Moons. Honeymoons. Annular Eclipes. Even “Polyp Moons” (my term for the June Full Moon). Now Blood Moons.
The Maldives, with their expansive vistas, skies clear of both particulate and light pollution make gazing at the heavens as spectacular as any panorama of paradise in the bright sunlight. The destination is renowned for a milestone event itself celestially named – the “honeymoon”. As such, I’ve posted a range of pieces on various astronomical events. The latest big event to hit the headlines is last week’s “Blood Moon”, but unfortunately this colourful variant won’t hit the Indian Ocean until 2017.
This latest celestial event has inspired the addition of the tag “moon” to the site.
Another rare “Super Moon” tonight!
While the sunrise and sunset seems to be the celestial obsession of the Maldives resort, it is the moon that really seems to evoke the romance for which this part of the world is renowned. Like the eponymous “honeymoon”, which many consider the Maldives to be the capital of, the shimmering moon has been the inspiration for lovers forever.
And nothing is as heart-throbbingly magical as the bright full moon. Many resorts offer sunrise yoga and sunset cruises, but Nika offers an excursion crafted around this monthly event. Their “Full Moon Excursion” features “Swimming in the lunar path reflected in the sea. There will be a drink to celebrate this special night. 23:00 – 1:00.” (35 euros)
It’s a bulb, it’s ablaze, it’s Super Moon.
The Maldives are renowned for being one of the top worldwide destinations for ‘Honeymoons’ so named for that time when love is sweetest. The “Super Moon” is more famous for fertility. Though recent scientific evidence has debunked that traditional belief, what science does confirm is that the moon is bigger (14%) and brighter (30%) than usual. This shift is due to the Moon’s elliptical orbit which just happens to hit its closest point to the Earth this Sunday.
Sounds romantic enough for me.
It’s that time of year again when the coral polyps become all twitter-pated with this week’s full moon (corals reproduce during the full moon in the summer). Coincidentally, Venus – the Roman goddess of Love – passed in front of the fiery Sun today to stoke even more astronomically romance into the mix.
If you want to celebrate this season of micro-organism orgasmics, then Kuramathi offers a ‘Coral Romance’ excursion…
“For ultimate relaxation, tranquillity and some pampering, take a trip to the heavenly island of Kandholhudhu, reached 45 minutes by speedboat. Surrounded by a stunning beach, this small and lush island boasts one of the most beautiful house reefs in the Maldives.”
Romance from the heavens above to the ocean depths below.
Now that I have your attention! (you know, sometimes titles just write themselves…though ‘Polypamory’ was a really close runner-up).
The Maldives is renowned for newly betrothed couples consummating their nuptials with a honeymoon celebration. But the very microscopic creatures who built the Maldives over millennia, coral polyps, will be celebrating a honeymoon of their own this week in rather distinctive style. Their rather exotic ‘bedroom’ habits certainly put the ‘moon’ in the ‘honeymoon’. That is according to this month’s Scientific American featuring a piece about Coral Polyp reproduction…
“It is hard to court the opposite sex when you are cemented in place, which explains why polyps—the tiny creatures whose exoskeletons form corals—do not reproduce by mating. Instead they cast millions of sperm and eggs into the sea, where they drift up to the ocean surface, collide, form larvae and float away to form new coral reefs. Polyps may not be picky about their “mates,” but they are sticklers for timing. The polyps in a coral reef will “blow” their eggs and sperm simultaneously in quick frenzies for just one, or maybe a few, consecutive nights a year—and they usually do so shortly after sunset on evenings closely following a full moon…A reef generally picks one day during a full moon in summer to blow, for 20 minutes or so, during the twilight hours.”
I guess if we were going to grant a ‘Best of’ accolade for ‘Reef Romance’ it would have to go to none other than the to Sheraton’s eponymous ‘Full Moon’ resort.
As it happens, this June’s Full Moon offers a special treat as well of an ‘extra long Lunar Eclipse. MSNBC reports “This month’s full moon will pass almost directly through the center of Earth’s shadow on Wednesday in what will be an unusually long total eclipse of the moon, 100 minutes. The next total lunar eclipse of exceptional length will be July 27, 2018, and will last 106 minutes.”
The Full Moon this week rises at 8:14 pm on Wednesday 15th June. It promises to be quite the eventful evening from sea to sky.
On 15 January 2010, an annular eclipse will be visible from a 300-km-wide track that traverses central Africa, the Indian Ocean and eastern Asia. Several resorts will be in the shadows path (follow the handy Google map plotting the course above), but Huvafen Fushi is the one resort where the centre passes directly over the island.
An annular solar eclipse does complete cover the sun with the moon, but it takes place where the moon is too far from the Earth to completely cover the sun’s disk. That leaves a blazing “ring of fire” shining around the moon as it passes in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective. It is not quite as dramatic as a ‘total eclipse’, but quite a dramatic celestial event nonetheless. The GIF (click on graphic to see animated version) above shows last year’s annular eclipse in the Maldives that was 93% annularity. This year, the instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 07:06:33 UT when the eclipse magnitude will reach 0.9190. At this instant, the duration of annularity is 11 minutes 8 seconds, the path width is 333 kilometers and the Sun is 66° above the flat horizon formed by the open ocean. On dramatic point is that such a long annular duration will not be exceeded for over 1000 years (3043 Dec 23). The timing in January is one of the driest periods of the year which helps to ensure an unobstructed view. Lots of people go to Maldives for the sun, and here is a chance to go for a ‘sun event’.