In celebration of this year’s Lunar New Year, the folks at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau sent their Consul General Clifford A. Hart, Jr. to learn the traditional Chinese art of paper tearing with master artist Lee Sing-man. A sheep with sunglasses came along. For USCG HK’s lunar greeting videos from prior years, click here and here.
If you’d like to, you know, send a love note, to the next corridor, the one across town, or to the other side of the world, Diplopundit wants to help. This year, we will publish our readers’ valentines, so get cracking.
Submit your valentine (no more than 50 words) to diplopunditvalentines[at]nym.hush.com. Deadline is Wednesday, February 11, 2015 (midnight). If there is enough interest, the valentines received will go online on February 14.
For now, check out the Valentine’s Day candy conversation hearts. Made in Revere, Massachusetts, this classic candy has been around for almost 150 years!
Wishing all our readers a safe and wonderful Holiday Season with loved ones and friends and a new year of good health and happiness. A special shoutout to our men and women in unaccompanied foreign service assignments who will not be spending the holidays with their loved ones. Tennessee Williams writes that “time is the longest distance between two places.” May you bridge that distance soon. A few holiday greetings from our diplomatic posts in Poland, Norway, Austria, Thailand, Croatia, and Indonesia.
U.S. Embassy Warsaw, Poland
Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw and Consulate General in Krakow await the arrival of Santa Claus…but will they receive presents or rózga from Santa’s elves this year? According to Polish legend, naughty children receive rózga – twigs – from Santa. A note from the embassy says that no personnel were injured in the filming of this video, although they did help a colleague find a local tailor – watch the bloopers! Video is currently on FB and has not been posted on the embassy’s YouTube channel, but it’s online courtesy of YouTube user Interpol 1923. Three years in a row for awesomeness! Click the links for the previous videos in 2013, and 2012.
U.S. Embassy Oslo, Norway
Vi mimer julen inn og ønsker hele Norge god jul og godt nytt år! Happy holidays from the U.S. Embassy in Oslo! Del gjerne videre!
U.S. Embassy Vienna, Austria
U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand
The U.S. Embassy in Thailand counting down to the New Year with its own version of a popular holiday song. Happy New Year everyone and Sawadii Pii Mai!
US Embassy Zagreb, Croatia
Year in Review 2014! Želimo vam sretan Božić i sve najbolje u novoj godini….
U.S. Consulate General Surabaya, Indonesia
Konjen AS di Surabaya mengucapkan selamat Hari Natal dan Tahun Baru 2015. Happy Holidays!
Below is a round-up of Halloween tweets around the Foreign Service. The Embassy Canberra tweet is of Ambassador Berry dressed up as a dinosaur and his spouse, Curtis Yee dressed up as a skeleton. They’re rather cute, aren’t they? Also, something new and disconcerting this year, at least we don’t recall this in previous years, but potential arrest exists in Jordan for wearing Halloween costumes in public. According to Embassy Amman, the Government of Jordan recently announced that public celebrations of Halloween and public appearances in Halloween costume are prohibited. “U.S. citizens should expect police reaction, including arrests, at any public Halloween-themed event.” Embassy Amman advises that U.S. citizens traveling from their home to a Halloween party, or vice versa, cover up their costumes while in public or in a car. Whoa!
Also, for the first time in memory, there, apparently, are folks in Foggy Bottom who are dressing up as the State Department spokespersons this Halloween. We don’t mind adults wearing dinosaur costumes, but we draw the line on going anywhere this Halloween on ISIS/ebola get-up, and Anything reminding us that the world is falling apart.
You very special, naughty snowflakes, real life is not disquieting enough in Foggy Bottom you had to add a gingered @statedeptspox with a mustache? And there are now four spoxes? Four? Waaaaaa! What the heck are we going to do with them?
Predictably, the tweeples threwspitballs on Twitter and no one added any more Happy to Halloween.
At the U.S. Embassy in Paris, a 45-star flag returned in 2013 is now on permanent display. The American flag was donated by Jean-Baptiste Lapierre fulfilling a promise he made to his grandmother to return the flag to American hands. A U.S. soldier reportedly gave the flag to Lapierre’s grandmother during the liberation of Paris in 1944. According to stripes.com, the 45 stars on the flag suggest it was likely made between 1896 and 1908 when the U.S. had just 45 states.
The 2014 July 4th celebrations at our diplomatic missions actually started this past February, with the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu celebration of the 238th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America on February 22, 2014. This was followed by the US Embassy in Oman which hosted its independence day event on March 25, 2014 (see Open Season: This Year’s July 4th Independence Day Celebrations Officially On). Here are the well-timed red, white and blue celebrations that caught our eyes this year.
U.S. Consulate Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In an unprecedented tribute to U.S. Independence Day, Rio de Janeiro’s iconic the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro was lit with the colors of the American flag on July 3, 2014. U.S. Consul General to Rio de Janeiro John Creamer and Christ the Redeemer rector Father Omar Raposo were at the monument for the special lighting, which happens as Brazil hosts approximately 90,000 U.S. tourists for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Pretty cool!
U.S. Embassy Tallin, Estonia
This 4th of July cake was so huge that it needed six people to carry it into the event hosted by Ambassador Jeffrey Levine. We think that this cake was made by the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tallinn. We don’t know many many years the hotel has been making this cake for the annual event but just below the photo is the time lapse video showing the making of the 300KG 4th of July cake for Embassy Tallinn a couple of years ago. Amazing!
Independence Day Celebration, June 26, 2014 Photos by U.S. Embassy Tallinn
Embassy Canberra ran a social media Independence Day contest and came up with MasterChef Australia contestants akitchencat and The Bread & Butter ChefKylie Ofiu as winners to join them for the 4th of July bash. American chef Tory McPhail also arrived in Canberra last week and got the Embassy kitchen prepped and ready to feed over 600 people for the event hosted by Ambassador John Berry.
Rydhave, all ready to receive over 1.000 of Embassy Copenhagen’s closest friends and contacts. Entertainment this year was provided by Basim, and the band The Sentimentals. The Embassy’s own Sonia Evans performed the American national anthem.The food at the event was supplied by CP Cooking.
Actually no, the season officially opened last month when U.S. Embassy Kathmandu celebrated the 238th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America on February 22, 2014. Nepal’s Vice President Paramananda Jha was the main guest at the event. According to Ambassador Peter W. Bodde’s prepared speech, this was the second year the embassy celebrated July 4th early “in the hopes of escaping monsoon weather.” Also, they chose this week “because in February we honor the birthdays of two of our great presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.” Eleven members of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Band based in Okinawa, Japan entertained the guests at the chief of mission residence. More photos are available here.
Photo via US Embassy Nepal
Photo via US Embassy Nepal February 21, 2014
So, US Embassy Nepal had officially bumped off US Embassy Muscat for the first July 4th celebration of 2014. On March 25, 2014, the US Embassy in Oman hosted its 238th Independence Day event. According to ONA, Greta Christine Holtz, the US ambassador to the Sultanate gave a speech during which she affirmed the deep-rooted relations binding Omanis and Americans. In 2013, the embassy celebrated July 4th on May 24. More photos available here. In 2012, we did, Chew on This: US Embassy Oman Celebrates 4th of July (in February) with Fast Food Sponsors.It looks like they no longer display prominently the event’s corporate sponsors.
Photo via US Embassy Muscat
This year, we hope to do a Fourth of July fashion or food round-up. Give us a heads up if you have something interesting at post.
The Irish Times writes, “five ways Americans invented St Patrick’s Day, apparently.”
One YouTube commenter says, “Corn-beef and cabbage isn’t a tradition here it is potatoes and steak.” Another writes, “Obviously a joke just not funny.”
From somebody not/not happy about this:
“Americans did not invent Saint Patrick’s Day, which is an ancient Christian feast day, they just invented deeply tacky celebrations with an excess of lurid green elements (tolerable shades do exist) and inappropriate Scottish kilts (which Irish people do not wear), fake leprechaun outfits (leprechauns do not wear green) and fake-coloured quasi-“red” beards (leprechauns do not have red hair). It is noteworthy how leprechauns are never seen any more; they have been shamed into deeper reclusiveness than ever.”
From somebody who just love St. Patty’s Day Saint Paddy’s Day:
“Love St. Patrick’s Day Parades!! The one in St. Louis, Mo is great fun. Just visited Ireland and loved it. Everyone wants a bit of Ireland, so green pints, rivers and parades. Americans love to invent holidays, it means getting together for the parade and the the pints. Just glad it was invented!!”
Don’t pinch us, we’re wearing a non-tacky green leprechaun outfit on Monday!!