Articles by guest

Tomb Sweeping day in China

Two PocketCultures readers from China wrote in with this post about tomb sweeping day in China, which was on April 4th this year.

Tomb-sweeping Day has a very long history in China. It is an important day which shows that we Chinese value family ties and our ancestors. For the older generation, the most common practice is to return to their birthplace and to visit the cemetery of their ancestors. In the countryside, many tombs look like small piles of earth.

Tombs decorated at a cemetery in Beijing


April 17, 2013 Comments disabled

Guy Fawkes, Traitor Or Framed?

The story and reputation of Guy Fawkes is well established. Part of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and assassinate King James in 1605, Fawkes and his co-conspirators’ failure led to the tradition of Bonfire Night. As a symbol, Fawkes is remembered through effigies, and has more recently been used as part of the Occupy Movement to represent anti-establishment feeling, an image that is derived from Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. However, is there more to Fawkes’ story than being a traitor, and is there evidence to suggest that Fawkes was framed?

Bonfire night celebrations in the UK


November 30, 2012 Comments disabled

Celebrations at 60

|| Mangalyam tantunanena mama jeevana hetuna: kanthe banbjj hhjggdhnami subhage twam jeeva sarada satam ||

This is a Sanskrit shloka chanted by the priest whilst the groom ties the mangalsutra or taali around the bride’s neck in a Hindu marriage.  It means “This is a sacred thread which is essential for my long life. I am placing this around your neck so that you can live happily for a hundred years (with me)”. Taali is a sacred thread or chain which when tied seals the marriage and the couple is termed husband and wife. (more…)

July 4, 2012 Comments disabled

The good, the bad and the ugali

Sitting at Malawi’s Kamuzu international airport in this year’s already singeing summer has me bored, constipated and wishing I was somewhere else. I’ve been dropped off an hour and half early and am finding it difficult to breathe. This has nothing to do with my premature arrival, but with a rather wild weekend in Nairobi a few days prior that will remain a story for another day. I’m on my way back home though, which is good.

The reason I’ve whipped my laptop out is really a mixture of envy, nostalgia and arrogance.

I’ve just been watching someone whom I think to be a Malawian on his way out of his country for the very first time.

Photo credit


May 7, 2012 1 comment

Spring in the Netherlands: the tulip mania, old and new

Finally, it is spring in the Netherlands. The trees are in bloom, lambs are being born as we speak and those born in the past week are already gambolling in the meadows; people are out enjoying walks, riding their bikes or filling the café terraces in the cities.

Tulip field in the Northeast Polder in Flevoland (The Netherlands)


April 19, 2012 6 comments

Infographic: Top languages on the Internet

As the number of web users grows around the world, languages on the internet have continued to expand resulting in an increasingly multilingual internet. The Internet used to be English centric and even today; English remains the dominant language, but the remarkable growth of languages such as Chinese has changed the online language landscape.

Continuing on from a previous post on the Top 10 languages on the internet, which listed the growth of various languages on the web, I thought of revisiting the topic and look at the changes that have occurred since then through an infographic.


October 14, 2011 Comments disabled