At Home Projects

Japanese Rock Garden

The Japanese rock garden (karesansui) or "dry landscape" garden, often referred to as a zen garden, creates a miniature stylized landscape through the carefully arranged placement of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent rippling water. A rock garden is usually relatively small, surrounded by a wall, and is meant to be seen while seated from a single viewpoint outside the garden, such as the porch of the hojo, the residence of the chief monk of the temple or monastery. Classical gardens were created at temples of Zen Buddhism in Kyoto, Japan during the Muromachi Period. Use the directions below to create your own Rock Garden.

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Vietnamese Star Lanterns

In Vietnam, Têt-Trung-Thu (tet-troong-thoo), the Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Moon Festival and is one of the most popular family holidays. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month during the full moon.

Trung-Thu activities are often centered around children and education. Parents buy lanterns for their children so that they can participate in a candlelit lantern parade at dawn. Lanterns represent brightness while the parade symbolizes success in school. Vietnamese markets sell a variety of lanterns, but the most popular children's lantern is the star lantern. Use the directions below to create your own star lantern.

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Tissue Paper Fish Kite

Weifang City of Shandong Province is widely regarded as "the world's capital of kites". There’s an age-old custom still popular today. On the Qingming Festival, people fly kites as high and far as possible and deliberately cut the line, allowing the kites to drift in the sky with the wind. This is a symbol of letting go the unhappiness and sadness accumulated in the previous year, which is believed to keep illnesses at bay during the whole year. In addition, a kite is a carrier of hope. If a fish is drawn on a swallow-shaped kite, it has a hidden meaning of "the wish of surplus every year", because the word "fish" has the same pronunciation as that of “surplus" in Chinese. If bats, peaches, pine trees and cranes are painted on a kite, it means fortune, wealth and longevity.

Click here for a printable version.