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The Hidden Meaning Behind November

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The Hidden Meaning Behind November

+ November’s birthstones are Topaz and Citrine. Topaz symbolizes friendship and Citrine symbolizes the mind

+ Its birth flower is the Chrysanthemum

+ November has been designated “National Novel Writing Month” and “National Blog Posting Month”

+ November is National Pomegranate Month in the USA

+ All Saints Day is on 1st November. Christians remember all “men of goodwill” (saints) – great ones and forgotten ones – who have died through the ages

+ All Souls Day is on 2nd November. Christians remember all those who have died; not just the saints, but the ordinary men-in-the-street. Families visit graves with flowers on this day. In church, names of the dead may be read out on request. All Saints Day, together with All Souls Day, are collectively known as “Hallowtide”

+ Guy Fawkes (Bonfire night) is on 5th November

+ Armistice Day is on 11th November. People remember the millions who died in the two World Wars and other wars

+ St. Andrew’s Day is on 30th November. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland

The Story Behind Guy Fawkes

In November 1605, the infamous “Gunpowder Plot” took place.

When Queen Elizabeth the 1st took the throne of England, she made some laws against the Roman Catholics. Guy Fawkes was one of a small group of Catholics who felt that the government was treating Roman Catholics unfairly. They hoped that King James the 1st would change the laws, but he didn’t.

Catholics had to practice their religion in secret. There were even fines for people who didn’t attend the Protestant church on Sunday or on holy days. James passed more laws against the Catholics when he became king.

A group of men led by Robert Catesby, plotted to kill King James and blow up the Houses of Parliament – the place where the laws that governed England were made.

The plot was simple; the next time Parliament was opened by King James, they would blow up everyone there with gunpowder. The men bought a house next door to the parliament building. The house had a cellar which went under the parliament building. They planned to put gunpowder under the house and blow up parliament and the king.

Guy Fawkes was given the job to keep watch over the barrels of gunpowder and to light the fuse. On the morning of 5th November, soldiers discovered Guy hidden in the cellar and arrested him. The trail of gunpowder at his feet would never be lit.

Guy Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London.

He was tortured and questioned about the other plotters. To start with, he didn’t tell the soldiers anything about the plot. But eventually he started to tell the truth. All of the men were then executed for treason.

In celebration of his survival, King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the night on 5thNovember.

The event is still commemorated annually in England on 5th November by fireworks and burning ‘guys’ (effigies) on bonfires.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.

By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?
Burn him!

The history of Guy Fawkes
Photo by Paul Sutton, Cape Town

Asia, Blog, Thailand

South African In: Thailand

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Thailand Phuket Jetskii

Thailand is one of the best places for South African travellers – airfare is affordable, night markets offer bargains and you can find good food in both fancy hotels and street-side stalls. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island. You won’t have trouble getting around! I spent New Year’s Eve in Thailand once. It was fantastic because it took me totally out of my comfort zone which I loved.



Where South Africans Should Spend NYE 2014

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New Year 2014

If you’ve just seen the New Year in in style and are having withdrawal symptoms already, then check out some of my top picks for South Africans for New Year’s Eve … 2014!

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, South Africa

The V&A is host to some of the most exciting celebrations in the country, with its annual show legendary across the nation. Last year’s NYE party (it still feels strange saying that!) officially kicked off at 18:00, with the Pants on Fire comedy performance.

The waterfront and stage alike is always buzzing with entertainers all night, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to pick up drinks and food from the nearby restaurants and bars. Make sure you get a good spot for the fantastic fireworks show, which takes place at midnight.

Nieu Bethesda, South Africa

Nieu Bethesda’s annual Festival of Lights offers a unique way to wave goodbye to 2014. People parade through the village with lanterns – which you can make at a Bethesda Arts Centre workshop beforehand – and then gather to enjoy dancing beneath the stars to a live band.

Sydney, Australia                                           

Sydney’s New Year’s Eve party is renowned around the world, so why not be part of the celebrations? South African Airways offers direct flights to the city from Johannesburg, and Travelex offers great deals when converting rand into Australian dollars – check out the exchange rate here.

The Sydney NYE party is jam-packed with entertainment you don’t want to miss out on, such as aerial acrobatics performances and an Aboriginal smoking ceremony show, but the highlights are the Harbour of Light Parade and iconic midnight fireworks, which illuminate the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

New York City, USA

Celebrating the strike of midnight seven hours later than South Africa is New York City, where you can see the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descend from Times Square. There’s world-class entertainment, a jubilant countdown and the obligatory fireworks show too.

Plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs around the bustling square will be hosting NYE celebrations of their own, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to an after-party. Keep an eye out here for just some of the options and start planning the ultimate NYE!

My Life in Africa

A Night of Fun at the G-Star RAW & FHM Parties

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I went to a couple of fun functions this past week. Two of them were on the same evening; the G-Star RAW launch & the FHM 2014 Calendar launch. G-Star RAW is a Dutch designer clothing company that, founded in 1955 by Oliver Lewis, produces urban clothing. Models for the brand include Liv Tyler, Girls’ Generation &World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. Both events were great. See FHM South Africa’s Facebook page here. See G-Star RAW’s Facebook page here & and their online shop here. FHM saw a trendy crowd of young models & photographers enjoying the sunset & view of Table Mountain from the outside deck of The Office in Buitengracht street. At the G-Star RAW party I found the exhibition by Daniel Popper entitled “Robots” alongside exclusive denim art objects from G-Star’s Atelier in Amsterdam particularly intriguing. The night was complemented with a combination of live musical performances by AKA featuring DA L.E.S, Nakhane Toure and DJs Binary & Wildbeats. The event was hosted by Vivid Luxury which did a great job in creating what has been dubbed “the party of the summer”. Thank you to both of these hosts for a great evening. See the official G-Star RAW party album here.

G-Star RAW is known for innovating denim and exploring the endless possibilities of this product.

Brand Promos

Planning the Perfect Kids Party: Top Tips and Advice

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It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you’ll always be faced with a children’s party or two. As they head towards school age, the number of parties that they’ll be invited to will increase massively and, while you won’t be able to make all of them, it’s good practice to ensure your child can attend the parties of their close schoolmates to build on their friendships further.


Brand Promos

Lucky Charms

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The All Important Birthday

I’ve recently been invited to a 21st birthday celebration. I always get excited for occasions because it’s a reason to spoil your loved one and show them how much you care. Of course, the quest to find the perfect gift for my friend has begun and I’ve just struck gold with a fabulous idea!


Blog, New York, USA

South African In: New York


After studying in New York, I arrived home in South Africa inspired and changed. I love New York! Every single day felt like I was in a fairytale. The flight to New York from South Africa is 14 hours. I can honestly say I was welcomed into the city with open arms. I’d always imagined New York to be an intimidating place. I was thinking “Sex in the City” and famous stars like Beyonce and Jay Z walking the streets on the flight over. Not to mention that it’s the financial capital of the world – the Wall Street Stock Exchange sounds scary. But I was pleasantly surprised with how friendly the people were and how do-able the city was.


Blog, My Life in Africa, New York

Six things I’d love to do in New York


new_york_skyline-wideIn just over a month I’m off to New York to study “Acting for Film” + “Film Production” at the New York Film Academy. They have schools all over the world including in Los Angeles, Paris, Florence, Harvard University, Beijing, Japan, Abu Dhabi, India and Australia. I chose New York because I’ve never been and let’s face it, it’s arguably the capital of the world. I’m very excited for the months I will be there! Aside from the actual course, I’m excited for the incredible guest speakers they get at the school (Kevin Spacey, Ben Kingsley, Steven Spielberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Billy Zane and many more). I’ve put together a list of six things I want to make sure I experience while I’m there – I get that it’s a huge city, but these are things that stand out to me. I recently did a similar article for my Madrid trip in June (see the article here). What’s great is, I celebrate my 25th birthday the day after I land in the U.S, so I would love to do something really special to celebrate (throw any ideas at me if you have!)

1. A horse & carriage ride through Central Park. I can’t think of a better way to gently introduce myself to this city. let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to go back in time for a bit? It can be located on Central Park South between 5th and 6th avenues. 

2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love art and I think I’ll absolutely love this famous museum. I’m particularly interested in the museum’s collection of ancient Egyptian art!

3. A stroll through the West Village in Manhattan. I saw an article on it by Time Magazine hereWhat appeals to me about this are the cobblestone streets which have remained unchanged since the 19th century. The Magnolia Bakery sounds amazing with their signature cupcakes. I understand their cupcake of the month this month is the “hummingbird” – banana, pineapple and pecan cake with sweet cream cheese icing topped with toasted pecans. Yum.

4. The Metropolitan Opera House. It’s located on Broadway at Lincoln Square in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It’s part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and it opened in 1966. The night of my birthday they are staging “The Sleeping Beauty” at 7:30pm.

5. Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village. What can I say, I love comedy! I hear this is a great club.

6. Film Forum. From my understanding this is a very popular independent movie house. I can imagine the films shown here are very interesting. As a film graduate, I will definitely appreciate what I would otherwise never get to see! I like the look of the original “Cleopatra” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Another one that caught my eye was “Rosemary’s Baby” starring Mia Farrow.

How about you? Do you have any suggestions for me for when i’m in New York?


My Life in Africa

Easter 2013

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Easter was awesome, exhilarating, special and delicious. For me, as a Christian, Easter is the true new year. It is the period from Good Friday to Easter Sunday (when Christ was crucified and when he was resurrected). It is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, culminating in the celebration of the resurrection of Christ (Easter Sunday) on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. He died on the cross to pay for our sins and allow us entry into God’s kingdom after death. His resurrection symbolizes the resurrection of all of us after death into Heaven, where our souls are very much alive and immortal in His eternal Kingdom. In short, his resurrection symbolizes new life. It sets Him apart from all the other historical figures in those times who claimed to be the Son of God because none of them came alive again after they died. This was a true miracle. Through doing this he proved that what he had been saying all along was true; every miracle he performed and everything he preached about God and the way man must live on earth was true. It renews your faith, this time of year, and for me it only cements it. You look again at the important lessons of the Bible and the Ten Commandments and re-commit yourself to living the loving Christian lifestyle. Satan will always be around to throw us off track and we need to be strong. Of course we will always sin, no matter how hard we try, because we live in a fallen world. What sets you apart is your repentance and prayers for forgiveness. God guarantees us He will always forgive us if we confess our sins and repent. 

 Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance which begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days (not counting Sundays). The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday, with the Wednesday before Easter being known as Spy Wednesday. The last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as Silent Saturday). Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide, or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday. The week beginning with Easter Sunday is called Easter Week or the Octave of Easter, and each day is prefaced with “Easter”, e.g. Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday, etc.

It is a very holy time for me. I really enjoy the service on Easter Sunday, before sunrise on the day of resurrection. The service is very early and I am not usually a morning person, but for this I am! The Easter Vigil is performed during this service. This is the most important liturgy of the year, which begins in total darkness with the blessing of the Easter fire, the lighting of the large Paschal candle (symbolic of the Risen Christ) and the chanting of the Exultet or Easter Proclamation. 

Easter at The Starlit Path www.tamikadoubell.com

There’s something about the lighting of the fire and the candle that makes you feel reborn in a way. After this service of light, a number of readings from the Old Testament are read; these tell the stories of creation, the sacrifice of Isaac, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the foretold coming of the Messiah. This part of the service climaxes with the singing of the Gloria and the Alleluia and the proclamation of the Gospel of the resurrection. At this time, the lights are brought up and the church bells are rung, according to local custom. A sermon may be preached after the gospel. Then the focus moves from the lectern to the font. Anciently, Easter was considered the ideal time for converts to receive baptism, and this practice continues within Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion. It is traditional for the congregation to renew the vows of their baptismal faith at this point. The Easter Vigil concludes with the celebration of the Eucharist (known in some traditions as Holy Communion). 

The whole service consists of 4 parts: 

  1. The Service of Light.
  2. The Service of Lessons.
  3. Christian Initiation, or the Renewal of Baptismal Vows.
  4. The Holy Eucharist with the administration of Easter Communion.

Here is something interesting I found: The first recorded “Sunrise Service” took place in 1732 among the Single Brethren in the Moravian Congregation at Herrnhut, Saxony, in what is now Germany. Following an all-night vigil they went before dawn to the town graveyard, God’s Acre, on the hill above the town, to celebrate the Resurrection among the graves of the departed. This service was repeated the following year by the whole congregation and subsequently spread with the Moravian Missionaries around the world, including Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

So you see then the chocolate eggs are just the cherry on top for me 😛 Eggs symbolize the beginning of new life, fertility and abundance. And of course, chicks come from eggs and represent rebirth and springtime. Rabbits are known for their rapid reproduction and therefore also represent fertility and new life. So this is why these are popular symbols at Easter and why we eat them 🙂 

How about you? How was your Easter? How did you celebrate? 

Here is a gorgeous photo I found of the celebration of the Easter vigil at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.

Easter at The Starlit Path www.tamikadoubell.com