March Break Slide In the City

tulips_127926050

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” ~ Robin Williams

Spring comes but once a year, and it comes with a rebirth of flora, warmer weather, and a week (or two) dedicated to enjoying the change.

As far back as history has been recorded, people have celebrated the arrival of Spring—including the ancient Greeks and Romans, who were all about self-indulgence. Of course, those rowdy crowds centered their jamboree on their respect for Dionysus or Bacchus, the Greek and Roman gods of wine. But what we now know as Spring Break really began because of two events: When Fort Lauderdale built Florida’s first Olympic-size pool in 1928, and when MGM released Where The Boys Are in 1960.

College Coaches' Swim ForumFort Lauderdale’s pool, considered mammoth at the time, brought the nation’s top competitive swimmers to the city during their break from classes, and by the late ’30s, more than 1,500 student athletes were flocking to the city’s College Coaches’ Swim Forum. The first of these forums was hosted in 1938, and droves of college swimmers made Fort Lauderdale their exclusive Spring Break home well into the ’60s. By that time, non-student athletes began to take part in what these swimmers had created; Time first mentioned the phenomenon in their 1959 article titled “Beer & the Beach.”

Where The Boys AreA year later, MGM released Where The Boys Are, a coming-of-age film that followed four college women during their spring vacation. And just like everything in a postmodern society, reality reflects art. Spring Break became a very real thing for any collegiate male or female who wanted to escape to sand and sun. In 1986, MTV launched its first Spring Break special in Daytona Beach, Florida, and found an annual tradition in showing what really happens on this mid-semester get-away.

By the end of the ’80s, the city that first made Spring Break famous—as evidenced by the 370,000 students who invaded in 1985—said it had had enough of the raunchy and unruly guests it had invited all those years ago. The city adopted stricter public drinking laws, and then-mayor Robert Dressler went on Good Morning America to say that Spring Breakers weren’t welcome anymore. Of course, by that time, there were plenty of other cities hosting their own annual parties—ensuring that Spring Break is a tradition that won’t die out anytime soon.


Mississauga PoolPlanning on visiting Mississauga this March Break?

Stay at Sandman Signature Mississauga Hotel and enjoy a family-filled getaway sure to keep your kids busy and happy.

With an indoor, heated swimming pool and 3-storey waterslide, let your kids splash around while you relax poolside with your favourite book. What a perfect way to let your children blow off some steam!

Book now before this deal slides away.

Book Dates: now – March 21, 2015
Stay Dates: March 13 -21, 2015

Rate:

  • March 13 – 14, 19 – 21, 2015: starts at $139
  • March 15 – 18, 2015: starts at $149

Includes:

  • Accommodations
  • Access to indoor pool & 3-storey waterslide
  • Complimentary continental breakfast for up to 4 people per night (based on 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years of age)

For more information, click here. See you this spring!

Terms & Conditions: Rates based on two (2) adults and two (2) children under the age of 16 sharing accommodations. Subject to availability, taxes, and applicable fees. Cannot be combined with other offers. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. New bookings only.

Happy Chinese New Year!

year of the goatThe Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is the most important festival for Chinese people. Legend has it that in ancient times, there was a monster called “Nian” (“year”) that would come out to eat people and animals on the eve of every New Year. To avoid the monster’s attack, people would flee to the depth of the mountains and call this day “Nian Guan” (meaning “the Pass of Nian”). On one New Year’s Eve, there came an old beggar in Peach Blossom Village, where an old lady gave him some food and asked him to hide himself in the mountain to avoid the monster Nian. The old man promised that he could drive the monster away as long as he was put up for the night at the old lady’s home. Being unable to persuade the old man into hiding in the mountain, the old lady went alone. In the middle of the night, the monster Nian dashed into the village. He trembled and cried when he saw the red paper on the door of the old lady’s house, which was brightly lit. Just as the monster reached the entrance, there came blasting sounds that prevented him from moving any further. At that time, the old man, wearing a red robe, opened the door and the monster was scared away. After that, on every New Year’s Eve, every household would paste red couplets, lit off firecrackers, and lit candles, as well as stay awake all night, to avoid being attacked by the monster.

chinese new year

China’s most important holiday

Chinese New Year is the longest national holiday in China, spanning a total of fifteen days, and New Year’s Day is the most important date in the Chinese calendar.

Although China has used the Gregorian calendar since 1912, Chinese New Year is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar, and it falls on the second new moon after winter solstice – somewhere between January 21 and February 19, meaning it changes from year to year.

It is pronounced “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in Mandarin and “Gong Hey Fat Choy” in Cantonese, although both are written the same way.

Roughly a sixth of the world will celebrate it

As well as being celebrated in China itself, celebrations occur in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and all countries where there are significant Chinese populations.

London and San Fransisco both claim to host the largest celebrations outside of Asia but celebrations occur in most Western countries.

year of the goat3

Goat or sheep?

2015 is the year of the goat, but you may see it referred to as the “Year of the Sheep”.

The confusion stems from the Chinese character “yang”, which can translate in colloquial Chinese as either sheep or goat.

Those born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1967, 1979, 1991, or 2003 are goats, who can count their lucky colours as brown, red, and purple.

Their characters are kind and peaceable, while their best months are August and November and their lucky flowers are primroses and carnations.

Year of the Goat

The Year of the Goat is just one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and each animal is matched to the elements (gold, wood, water, fire, and earth). This, coupled with different emperor reigns, helped people to remember who was when, enabling the Chinese to trace back 3,000 years with great accuracy.

Personality of the Goat

People born in the Year of Goat are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle, and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. They are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation.
chinese red envelopeChildren will sleep with money under their pillow

Children will be given red envelopes filled with money to bring happiness and good fortune.

The envelopes themselves are good luck, as well as the contents, and some children will sleep with their envelopes under their pillow for up to seven days to increase their luck.

A common misconception is that everyone receives money from everyone as part of Chinese New Year celebrations. In fact, only people who are not married receive the red packets of money (hong bak) and only those who are married give them out.

chinese red lantern1

Lantern Festival

The final day of Chinese New Year celebrations, Day 15, is the Lantern Festival, where red lanterns are released into the sky. The Lantern Festival is one of China’s important traditional festivals and can be traced back more than 2,000 years. At the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Hanmingdi was an advocate of Buddhism. He heard that some monks lit lanterns in the temples to show respect to Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Therefore, he ordered all temples, households, and royal palaces to light lanterns on that evening. This Buddhist etiquette gradually formed a grand festival among people.

Another story states that the Lantern Festival was originated from the Torch Festival. During the Han Dynasty, people in rural areas held torches to scare away beasts and insects to reduce insect damages and pray for a good harvest. Nowadays, during the Lantern Festival, people in some areas of Southwest China still have the tradition of lighting torches made of branches or reeds and dance in groups in the fields. The Lantern Festival became very popular during the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties about 1,000 years ago. According to historical records, during the festival, hundreds of thousands of singers and dancers participated in the celebration which lasted from morning until dawn.

Happy Chinese New Year from all of us at Sandman Hotel Group!

How ‘X’ became the universal symbol for a kiss

Reposted from mashable.com

Kiss

IMAGE: LUKE LEONARD/MASHABLE

You’ve certainly seen it at least once today, if not actually used it yourself. The “X” as a universal symbol for a kiss is firmly rooted in our lexicon. It’s become so familiar that we barely think about it, but how did this letter become shorthand for a sign of affection? We take a look at why X’s equal kisses, and ponder whether they still will in the future.

History and theories

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the modern alphabet’s 24th letter says the X can be “used to represent a kiss, esp. in the subscription to a letter.” But it’s not just letters or notes anymore. We sign off our text messages, emails, and even comments on social sites with X’s.

Oxford’s earliest written reference of the X used as a kiss dates back to 1763, in a letter from the naturalist Gilbert White. In 1894, Winston Churchill also sent kisses in a letter: “Please excuse bad writing as I am in an awful hurry. (Many kisses.) xxx WSC.”

There are many theories as to how this came to be. One visual theory holds that an X looks like puckered lips.

We cut to the chase and asked Marcel Danesi, professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto and author of The History of the Kiss! The Birth of Popular Culture, about his take on the tradition.

“The X has always been a Christian symbol, and it is the first Greek letter in the name of ‘Christ,'” Danesi says. “As far as I can tell, official letters in the medieval period and even after were literally sealed with the X — sealed with a kiss of faith, I guess.”

Danesi also explains that illiterate people used the X to sign documents. It was customary for them to plant a physical kiss on the X.

“From this domain, the X jumped into another domain, also to signify kissing but a different kind of kissing — romantic, rather than religious. At some point, this became a symbolic practice among everyone,” he says.

This shift from religious to secular meaning seems to parallel the shift to secularism in the Renaissance. Danesi is quick to say that this is all speculative. “But if you look at the historical documents, it seems like a plausible scenario,” he says.

So if X means “kiss,” why does O mean “hug”? Said to be a North American invention, this seems to have a relatively simple reason. X’s and O’s go together (as in tic-tac-toe or naughts and crosses) and an O looks like circled arms creating a hug.

The future

There is no doubt the X is still being used today as the symbol for a kiss — or more loosely, affection — but will the cool kids of 2115 still be signing off their holographic texts with an X?

As software and mobile platforms get increasingly better at presenting graphics, emoticons and emoji have become more and more popular. There are a wealth of fun options available to anyone on iOS, for example, to represent a kiss.

And this may be the problem. There isn’t one clear contender for the most commonly used icon to take the place of an X — nothing as instantly recognizable, or so beautifully simple as a good, old-fashioned X.

But the X has represented a kiss on paper, and now on screens, for centuries. It’s not going to be edged out by an upstart emoticon any time soon.

Glitter & Glitz in the UK’s Northeast

 Written by Laura Ferry, curator and writer of WhatLauraLoves

Ladies and gents, if you haven’t sorted out your plans for a loved up Valentines Day, then look no further than Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel.

The day of love has conveniently fallen on a Saturday this year, and with many of us off work for the weekend, it is the perfect opportunity to escape our everyday lives for a night of luxury at a top city centre hotel.

Arrive at the hotel for your overnight stay as part of the Loved Up Experience and be greeted by a beautiful single stem red rose and a bottle of Moet Champagne, waiting patiently in your King Room for your arrival.

Feast on a luxurious box of chocolates from exclusive chocolatier Hotel Chocolat as you plan how you’re going to spend your £50 Eldon Square shopping voucher after your full English breakfast the next day.

I was lucky enough to preview one of the rooms and let me tell you, they’re beautiful, especially when the scene was set with a gorgeous dress and accessories from local designer boutique, Love Niche.

With large windows letting an abundance of light flood into the room, crisp white premium bedding and a bright, spacious bathroom with a walk-in rain shower and complimentry designer toiletries, I couldn’t help but beam when walking into the room. If my husband treated me to this Valentines Day package, I would certainly feel like a princess.

What is really unique about Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel is that over 50% of the rooms have fitted kitchens and the ones that don’t still have a microwave, fridge, wine glasses and tea and coffee making facilities.

The hotel offers a unique service at no extra cost where you can tell them the foods that you would like and they will pop to Waitrose and have them waiting for you in your in-room fridge. What a fabulous idea; why pay a small fortune for a bottle of wine in a hotel bar when you can have your favourite brand chilling for you in your room? This also gives you the option of cooking for your other half this Valentine’s Day or taking them out for a meal to one of the many fabulous restaurants in Newcastle if you want a night away from the stove.

With busy lives, many of us don’t have the time to organise a luxurious romantic getaway but with this Valentine’s Day Package, all you need to do is make a quick phone call to the hotel and the rest will be taken care of for you.

I’m sure you’re wondering how much a night of luxury costs at the Sandman Hotel? Much, much lower than I thought that’s for sure. Most hotels seem to inflate their prices spectacularly for February 14th but not the Sandman, as their Valentine’s Day Package provides very good value for money. Last week, we stayed at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester where the breakfast alone, for two plus tray charge, came to an eye watering £48.90.

You can spoil your loved one with rates starting from only £219 for a King Room and upgrades to suites are available for only a small amount more. I’m sure you’ll agree that you’ll be getting a night of splendour at an affordable price in a hotel that’s conveniently located in the heart of Newcastle.

Call the hotel on 0191 229 2600 to book and let your Valentine’s Day be the best one ever!

Love is in the air And it smells romantic!

love_124610029 quote

Valentine’s Day = Love & Romance.

Every February, across the world, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones all in the name of romance.

Roses
The rose, which is undoubtedly the most popular flower in the world, speaks of love and has been the choice of lovers in every century. If you rearrange the letters of the word rose you get Eros, the god of Love.

Cupidcupid
Cupid was one of the gods of mythology. In Latin, the word Cupid means “desire”. Cupid is typically represented as a chubby, naked, winged boy or youth with a mischievous smile. He possessed a bow with a quiver of arrows by which he transfixed the hearts of youths and maidens. Cherubs are descendants of Cupid. They are depicted as lovable little winged creatures without arrows and quivers. Cherubs were typically not mischievous like Cupid.

Dinner and a movie are nice, but why not step it up? February 14th is the perfect excuse to go all out for a loved one and do something you normally wouldn’t do.


love_114016054Sparkling, wine, chocolates, breakfast in bed… No matter where you are in Canada, Sandman has the perfect, romantic packages to spoil your loved one.

Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary Airport has an ideal romantic weekend getaway for you and your significant other. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations
  • $30 gift card to Moxie’s Grill & Bar
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Late (2 pm) check-out

Celebrate love at Sandman Hotel Langley this Valentine’s Day with the ideal romantic getaway. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in an Executive Queen Suite
  • A dozen roses
  • $10 gift voucher to Denny’s per night
  • A bottle of sparkling wine

Sandman Signature Langley Hotel would like to make this Valentine’s Day your best one yet. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in the Executive Jacuzzi Suite
  • Sparkling wine
  • A dozen flowers
  • Chocolates

Every day is Valentine’s Day at Sandman Hotel Penticton. With beautiful surroundings and an array of activities, we know you will create unforgettable, romantic memories. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Chocolate covered strawberries

Book Sandman Signature Prince George Hotel‘s Romance Package and let us take care of the details. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in the Honeymoon or Executive Jacuzzi Suite
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • A dozen roses
  • A box of chocolates

Everyone deserves a special Valentine’s Day which is why Sandman Hotel Saskatoon is offering two amazing packages, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Package 1

  • A box of chocolates
  • $50 gift card to Shark Club Bar & Grill
  • Complimentary upgrade to the next best room type

Package 2

  • $40 Denny’s gift card
  • Kids amenities (chocolates, chips, and candy)
  • Complimentary upgrade to the next best room type

Sandman Signature Toronto Airport Hotel would like to present you with the ideal romantic getaway for you and your significant other. Each Romance Package includes:

  • Accommodations in one of our romantic Signature Suites
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Breakfast in bed

Enjoy a night of decadence in a Penthouse Suite at Sandman Signature Vancouver Airport Hotel & Resort. Each Romance Package includes:

  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • $20 gift certificate to Chop Steakhouse & Bar

love_151436003