Tag Archives: culture

More Than Four Seasons?

Next week it is Easter. The shops are filled with chocolate eggs and bilby bunnies.

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Already the Australian days are cooler and soon, on the 31st March, all Victorians will turn back their clocks one hour and embrace daylight saving. Of course this will put my time at odds with our family in Queensland. Queenslanders argue that they have enough daylight as it is, so their time stays the same. However, all states in Australia agree that the continent has four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

However, the first Australians understood that this continent has more than four seasons. Daylesford Nature Diary: Six seasons in the Foothill Forests is based on the six seasons Aboriginal communities used to understand the changes occurring in the flora and fauna around them. Tanya Loos, Daylesford naturalist and local newspaper columnist, lovingly illuminates the world within and around a Wombat Forest bush block – from that mysterious bonking at the bottom of the garden to why there are suddenly so many green parrots in late summer.

 

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Acutely observed, the Daylesford Nature Diary reintroduces the six seasons for Victoria’s southern foothill forests in all their splendour.

Part What Bird Is That?, part Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, the 36 tales of nature contained in the Daylesford Nature Diary are insightful in the knowledge they impart, while whimsical in tone.

Starting with early spring and heading round to winter, Tanya provides a series of sketches of the birds, plants and animals putting in an appearance each season. Not simply the rare and endangered, but those you might commonly expect to catch sight of from the back door.

Gently threading her way, Tanya instructs us on how the natural order of things is attuned to the rhythm of the six indigenous seasons. Life beats to their pulse.

The diary also includes a full colour, beautifully illustrated wheel calendar by Anne Mason of wall poster size as a reference and guide

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All my life I have enjoyed regular camping visits to the area known to me as The Grampians, now referred to by their original indigenous name, Gariwerd. I love every inch of these beautiful mountains, in particular a scary outcrop called The Jaws of Death. Two ledges of rock cantilever over a massive drop to the valley floor below. How could any man, woman or child resist testing their courage?

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At the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre is featured the six seasons of Gariwerd.

Six distinct weather periods are recognised in the Gariwerd seasonal cycle. These are genuine seasons that relate to climactic features as well as referencing environmental events such as plant flowering, fruiting and animal behavioural patterns.
For thousands of years, the lives of the Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung have been intimately linked to this seasonal cycle.
Understanding the land through seasonal observations was once essential to survival. Today the cycles are a vital tool and contribute to the management of Gariwerd.

 

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By understanding the six seasons, you can begin to understand Gariwerd and its people.

This morning I struggled into my wet-suit and plunged into Patterson Lakes for my early morning swim. It was cold, darn cold and I decided that from now on I would either kayak or bike ride until  warmer days arrived. But whether I wait six seasons or four for warm weather to return, I really don’t mind. Every season has its beauty and I love them all.

Ben, Hoda and their Kabt Ill Katab

How wonderful is a wedding in any language.

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Hoda and Ben recently realized they had found their soul mate. Last Friday, surrounded by family and friends  they joined hands and declared their love in a magical wedding ceremony against a backdrop of the sun setting in a blaze of glory over Port Phillip Bay.

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Living next door to an Egyptian Family for over fifteen years has been a delightful experience. We have learnt so much over those years and been included in many celebratory occasions: cakes at the end of Ramadan, sweets and gifts exchanged at Christmas and bowls of nuts, spices and snacks during the year have not only expanded our culinary tastes but also our knowledge of a different culture. Both families respect and understand their different religions. To be Christian or Muslim simply means trying to be the best people we can be.  To me, we are taking different paths that lead to the same destination.

It has been a privilege to watch Hoda grow from a vivacious little girl into a beautiful young woman. We met Ben for the first time on Friday night and immediately fell in love with his outgoing friendly nature and happy smile. His entire family were supportive, fun loving people.

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We wondered how different this marriage ceremony would be compared to the others we had attended and were amazed at the similarities. Out of respect for the English and Arabic cultures present, the Imam conducted the ceremony in both English and Arabic . Both fathers gave their blessing, the happy couple said ‘I do’, papers were signed, cake cut, and, instead of a soprano singing Oh Perfect Love, Hoda and Ben had an Australian belly dancer who, much to the delight of the guests, managed to entice the recently married couple to join her dance.

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The wedding breakfast was superb. How wonderful to be able to taste a portion of all the entrees, mains and sweets, instead of having to choose one or the other.  Sometimes it’s impossible to decide

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We have a special relationship with Hoda’s grandmother.and were delighted to see her surrounded by her lovely daughters and son. I wanted to take a picture of them all together but we were all so busy having a good time the evening was over before we realized it.

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The most fun came from a photo booth set up to one side of the restaurant. We wandered over to see what all the shrieks of delight were about only to be dragged in front of the hidden camera. Hats were plonked onto our heads. Because you had no idea when the photo would be taken some of the photos were hilarious. Ours included.

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Several seconds later we were handed a strip of photos which we then put into a book  and were asked to write a message to Hoda and Ben . Our photos followed a collection of very funny pictures complete with rabbit ears and hysterically laughing faces. The caption  underneath was ‘Your crazy cousins’. I loved that Hoda’s name had the Wonder Woman sign beside it and Ben was obviously Superman.

We had a wonderful evening and wish Hoda and Ben a long and happy life together

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