Packing your suitcase can be as exciting as unpacking. We reminisce over the souvenirs we’ve crammed in amongst dirty clothes and full memory cards. But it is the customs and rituals of the places that woo us away and that don’t take up any valuable suitcase real estate that can linger long after we’ve returned.With the holiday season in full effect and ritual playing a central role to the festivities, we are taking a bit of an inventory of all that we’ve brought home from our travels to the Far East to see what rituals we can fuse with our own.
The Art Of The Offer
Ceremony is a part of each and every day in the East, both in the minutia and on a very grand scale.On the island of Bali, prayer offerings are made daily. There is a deep connection to the change in seasons, to the cycle of the moon, to the passing of time;all of which serves to determine when and what offerings are made.Elegant women in temple garb, draped side-saddle on scooters, holding baskets containing offering are a common sight. At every entranceway, on every beach and in the middle of almost every intersection, there sits an offering.
Photo Credit: Julie Trubkin
Here at home we take this idea of ceremony and apply it to our own festivities. Every day acts can be done in the spirit with which these traditional offerings are made. We create our own offering.We make a meal and prepare it with ceremony. Offerings are about presentation and the intention behind them. We deliberately choose each item on the plate. Even the choice of plate is a part of the experience. We focus on colour and placement and function. At Artemano we create with intention and we know that the intention behind our meal will enhance the entire experience.
Better To Light A Candle
Be it a flickering filament, or a flickering wick, a single light source, or thousands, we believe that light is intimately related to mood and to spirit. In India, lights are everywhere, especially during Diwali. Fireworks, candles and string lights illuminate the festivities. Diyasare one of the most definitive symbols of the festival. They are these distinctive round cups pinched at the top, filled with oil and lit.
Here at home, whether we have diyas, or a simple candle, the connection to light is a universal one. Over the holidays we light candles because a flickering flame has an effect that string lights just cannot capture.
The Great Indoors
We look to nature as our principal designer and use natural materials in our décor. Over the holidays in Hong Kong, there is a local tradition where thousands of bamboo poles are strapped together, without the use of a single nail, to form a temporary bamboo opera house. These pop-up feats of architecture,using this sustainable material, are builtto stage music and dance while people gather and eat. We find beauty in the ritual of building these grand, impermanent structures, only to take them down a month later, and repeat the process every year.
A homemade ode to this custom would be to create a simple centrepiece from found pieces in nature, such as stones, pinecones, leaves, acorns, and more.Or sprinkling them deliberately throughout our space. The ritual of bringing in natural elements is one that both surprises and inspires our guests.
The holidays are the culmination of a full year of life, ups and downs and everything in between. It is this buildup of energy and hope for the following year, expectations and obligations, family and love, social and solitude. Fusing our own established rituals with new ones is an exciting way to enhance the season. Tea drinking, moments of silence, siestas – rituals can transport us, and still make wherever we are, feel like home. At Artemano,we look beyond the pieces, to the countries where they are curated. We bring those countries and their rituals into our home. We hope that the Eastern traditions that course through each one of our pieces, through each grain of wood and that are so deeply woven into ourtextiles, inspire your holidays this year.