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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wishes Around the World

Wishes come in many shapes and forms. Many countries celebrate a day where wishing is the main event. These holidays have always fascinated me, because I believe in the power of a good wish. 
No, I don't think that a wish will come true if you don't go after it. There's a lot of truth in Tiana's father's words when he says, "That old star can only take you part of the way. You've got to help it along with some hard work of your own, and then you can do anything you set your mind to." in the film The Princess and the Frog by Walt Disney Pictures. 
Many people who are sucessful began as wishers and dreamers. And it may surprise you to know the career path of some of the most well known people in the world. Life doesn't have a map. And there is no direct plan, but if you focus on a goal, and if you make that goal a priority, you will be amazed at how far you have come. 
I have made several wishes, all of which are secrets in hopes that I don't spoil the magic, during my travels here in South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Each wish I've made is different, but each holds a promise that I will work hard to achieve it. I have come far from where I was six years ago, and the mindset I have has been a huge part of my perspective this year. 

Wishes are powerful things. Soon wishes become dreams, which turn into goals and which eventually are achieved as memories that can be looked back on with pride and even humility. 
I still have much to learn, but I believe that I will always appreciate the power of wishes. 
The truth is, you don't have to wait until New Year, Tanabata or Chinese New Year to make a wish. You don't even have to wait for a star to streak across the sky. You can make a wish at anytime, create a goal, and then you are on your way to amazing things. But wishes don't just happen on their own. You have to make some effort to achieve them, and you have to promise to work hard for that goal. 
Each wish I have made this year is a new promise to be a better person, to grow and change into the person I want to become. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to spread these wishes around the world, and I will work hard to achieve them. 
If you would like to make wishes, or attend these really cool festivals, here's a list of the places and holidays that I have found, according to when they happen each year. 

New Year's Eve: Anywhere, but especially with fireworks involved. 

New Year's Eve is a time to make a wish on the fireworks that announce the next year. 

A Disney Park: Any Disney Park at any time

Year round Disney will accept wishes, and if they can, they'll make it come true. 

Lunar New Year: In Asia on a special wishing tree.

 Depending on the zodiac animal that falls under that year, the Lunar New Year is celebrated between January and Feburary in Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and Vietnam and many other countries in Asia. 

Typically the new year involves writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree. 
In Hong Kong, you can make a wish by lighting a lantern, or tying a written wish to an orange and throwing it at a special wishing tree. If your wish hangs on a branch, it will come true. You can also feed the dancing lion money for good luck that year, and donate to the Buddhist temples. 

The Star Festival: Celebrated in China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong on a special wishing tree

This festival takes place on a special day where both the Altair and Vega stars are visible along with the Milky Way. Typically around July 7th. This Festival has many names including Tanabata in Japan, Qixi Festival in China, Chilseok in South Korea and Seven Sisters Festival in Hong Kong. 

This is celebrated by writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree. 

There are many other wishing festivals around the world. Here are some I have added to my bucket list: 

Diwali- also called the Deepavali or The Festival of Lights takes place in Autumn in India. 
This festival celebrates light's victory over darkness, and the festival lasts over five days. People dress up and light up lanterns called diyas and they watch fireworks. 

Loi Krathong in Thailand- also known as the floating lantern festival
This festival involves creating small floating rafts into a river attached to all your worries. After letting go of the raft, you make a wish. It takes place in November.

Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Thailand - Also known as the Festival of Lights
This festival involves releasing a lantern into the sky to make a wish, and there are thousands of lanterns released all at once! This festival takes place at the same time as Loi Krathong in November. 

These festivals have always fascinated me, and they are great story sparks ^_^

Regardless of where you make your wishes, they are celebrated around the world. If you know any other wishing festivals, feel free to mention them in the comments. 

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