Hoangvantoanajc via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Hoangvantoanajc via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The Vietnamese Festival Where Ex-Lovers Reunite

Hoangvantoanajc via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Hoangvantoanajc via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Before Facebook, there was no simple way to casually catch up with exes from back in the day. That is unless you lived in the small village in Vietnam that dedicates two days of the year to reuniting with the ones who got away. 

The "Khau Vai Love Market” is held on the 26th and 27th of the third month of the lunar calendar in the isolated Khau Vai commune. The festival originates from a local legend that tells the story of an ethnic Giay girl who fell in love with an Nung boy from a neighboring province. The girl was so beautiful that her tribe refused to let her marry an outsider, and a bloody conflict between the two communities ensued. The couple agreed to split up to prevent any further bloodshed, but made a secret covenant to meet for one day out of the year. Now every year on that day, the tradition of reuniting with past loves is celebrated in Khau Vai. 

Ex-lovers were often couples who were unable to marry for one reason or another, and they use the Love Market as an opportunity to reminisce about happy moments from their past. For visitors who have since married, their spouses don’t mind because they’re catching up with old flames of their own. 

The tradition holds less significance than it did in its early years, now that flings are less taboo and exes are just a text message away. But even as its significance wanes, it's also increased in popularity due to the new roads that make the village more accessible and the curious tourists flocking in from greater Vietnam and beyond. Even attendees with no ex-lovers to meet can visit the Love Market to enjoy the regional cuisine or watch a performance of its origin story. And who knows? They may even find a future ex-lover while they’re there. 

[h/t: Reuters]

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11-Headed Buddha Statue to Be Revealed in Japan for First Time in 33 Years
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Buddha statues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The various poses and hand gestures of the Buddha represent different virtues, and any items he happens to be holding—say, a lotus flower or a bowl—have some religious significance.

But not all Buddha relics are created equal, as evidenced by the reverence paid to one particularly holy statue in Japan. The 11-headed figure is so sacred that it has been hidden away for 33 years—until now. Lonely Planet reports that the Buddha statue will be revealed on April 23 during the Onsen Festival in Kinosaki Onsen, a coastal town along the Sea of Japan that’s famous for its hot springs. The statue is kept inside Onsen-ji Temple, a religious site which dates back to 738 CE.

Al altar inside Onsen-ji temple

Patrick Vierthaler, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The big Buddha reveal, however, will be held elsewhere. For that, festivalgoers will need to ride a cable car to the top of Mount Taishi, where they’ll catch a glimpse of Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu, a name which means “11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy.” It will be hard to miss—at 7 feet tall, the statue would tower over most NBA players. Considered a natural treasure, it’s displayed in three-year blocks once every 33 years. So if you miss the initial reveal, you have until 2021 to catch a glimpse.

“The people of Kinosaki are very excited about this event, especially the younger generation," Jade Nunez, an international relations coordinator for the neighboring city of Toyooka, told Lonely Planet Travel News. "Those who are under 30 years old have never seen the statue in its entirety, so the event is especially important to them."

After paying their respects to the Buddha, festival attendees can take a dip in one of three hot spring bathhouses that will be free to use during the Onsen Festival.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Miami to Host Inaugural Canine Film Festival
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There’s an annual festival dedicated to internet cat videos, so it only makes sense that dog-lovers would create their own film event. As the Miami New-Times reports, the Magic City will host the inaugural Canine Film Festival on July 15 and 16. The fundraising event encourages movie lovers to enjoy submitted flicks with their furry friends.

The festival will take place at the Cinépolis Coconut Grove and Hotel Indigo in Miami Lakes. Festivities kick off on the first day with “A Day at the Movies With Your Dog,” featuring film screenings attended by dogs and humans alike. Other events scheduled throughout the weekend include a dog fashion show, dog yoga, silent auctions, a canine costume contest, an after-party at Miami Lakes' Hotel Indigo, and an awards ceremony.

Admission costs $10 to $1000, and 50 percent of ticket proceeds will benefit local animal rescues and shelters. For more information, visit the Canine Film Festival's website.

[h/t Miami New Times]

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