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

What to Name Your Kazakh Baby

In a recent group post we wrote about traditions for naming children in different countries. In today’s post, our new Kazakhstan contributor Celia talks about naming children in Kazakhstan.

I’ve always enjoyed learning about the meanings of names, and living in Kazakhstan is no disappointment. Traditionally, Kazakh parents invited relatives to a besik toi party for a new baby. After gathering around the cradle, an honored guest or relative would be invited to name the child. Without consulting with the parents, the person would decide on a name, and whisper into the infant’s ears three times: your name is… your name is… your name is… and then the child was officially named.


November 7, 2012 7 comments

A carpet shop in an old Ottoman house

Taner Sağıroğlu sits in the office of the wooden, historic Ottoman building which houses his carpet shop. Outside there’s a tranquil, vine-covered courtyard decorated with painted tiles from nearby Iznik, but winter arrived early this year and in mid-October it’s already too cold for sitting outside. The floor of the room has a warped hump rolling across it; one wall is covered in wood panelling, doors concealing handy-looking cupboards in the wall.

Inside the historic wooden building which houses Anadolu Kilim

Taner set up shop here in 1985, after ten years living in Italy, during which time he acquired a fluent Italian with a slight Neapolitan accent.

“This isn’t a big business”, says Taner. “I don’t deal through middlemen or wholesalers. That’s a great advantage because it means I know where each carpet comes from – I buy it off the original owner.”


October 5, 2012 Comments disabled

Giuseppe Boschetti – portrait of the artist

Although he does not sell his paintings, Giuseppe Boschetti is well known in his native Romagna (a region of North East Italy). His paintings are so much a part of him that he prefers to keep them on display in his house for family and friends, where they almost completely cover the walls of his apartment in Santarcangelo’s historic centre.

Giuseppe Boschetti exhibition

The artist’s studio is as chock full of detail as one of his paintings. A small, low table next to the easel is filled with paintbrushes in jam jars. Other surfaces are crammed with knickknacks: the top of one cupboard is crowded with empty glass bottles, another with wooden models. Look around and you see a vintage radio, an arrangement of seashells in a basket. A collection of modern art books sits inside one of the bookcases, pencil sketches hang on the walls. Light enters through skylights in the sloping roof, which ‘Pino’ warns us not to bang our head on.


September 28, 2012 1 comment

Costa Rican Annual Pilgrimage to Honor “La Negrita”

Every August 2nd, Costa Ricans celebrate one of the most important Catholic holidays in our country: The Day of the Virgin of the Angels, our patroness saint, affectionately called La Negrita (The Little Black One).

"La Negrita"

The history behind it is very interesting: In 1635, a poor Catholic indigenous girl called Juana Pereira used to live in a town named Los Pardos, in Los Ángeles, Cartago, former capital of Costa Rica. On August 2nd of that year, she went to the forest to pick up some firewood and there she found on a big stone a small, black, stone statue of a Madonna and child, similar to a doll. (more…)

August 3, 2012 4 comments

How to use storytelling to explore and communicate identity

Kelli McLoud Schingen uses performance and storytelling to explore identity. I was lucky to see her perform during Young Sietar’s intercultural congress in Istanbul a while back. Here’s a presentation she gave at TEDx in Chile.

Read more
Black and White: portraits of interracial relationships
Beyond the census: African American culture in the USA

July 26, 2012 Comments disabled