Rangoli – colourful Indian chalk paintings

The word comes from the Sanskrit word Rangaavali – which itself is a combination of two words – Rang, meaning colour and Aavali meaning creepers or lines. Rangaavali, or Rangoli, as we call it today, thus, literally translates into ‘coloured lines’ and that is what it essentially is – lines drawn in colour – inside or outside the house. It could be a celebration of a festival, an expression of happiness, a sign of welcome, a symbol of cleanliness and purity… but all it is, essentially, is lines of colour.

Rangolis are something you can see in every corner of India, no matter where you go. It is mostly a Hindu tradition, but I have seen Rangolis outside churches in southern India too, and some of my Muslim friends are as adept at it as I am!

A typical Rangoli pattern


December 5, 2012 4 comments

What is Pujas all about

While writing down on cultural events from my region I feel this is probably the apt time to write. Why? This is the time the festivities begin marked by Durga Pujas which is definitely the biggest Cultural phenomenon from East India, now turning into Global event thanks to large Bengali and Hindu Non Resident Indian communities spread all across the Globe. As for personal reference I know my uncle who lives in Canberra, Australia, along with other fellow Bengalis

Durga Mahisasuramardini (Wikipedia)

A real big fashion event is now this Durga pujas, where the real cosmopolitan word comes into play. Nearly every community in North and especially Eastern India joins in the celebration in the best attire, notwithstanding the difference in Budget, as even the struggling classes comes up in their best attire and join in the HALLELUJAH celebrations.

Coming to the biggest cultural event in this world, which surrounds the Hindu deity of Mother Goddess Durga, the business of cuisine steps up with people digging at delicious, or may I say so, experimental food. As the entire cultural entity of Bengalis revolve around Gourmet and pandal hopping, as they say in the best attires.

For the youngsters, it is more of a window to meet the best partners of the opposite gender, hoping that the cupid strikes. As for others, mostly the adult or elderly people, it is more of nostalgia where they cherish and garner their thoughts in a session of rendezvous.

Truly like in America, as it was once said, Durga pujas is one big melting pot of Ccultural identities, thoughts and desires into one joyful plate ready to be served.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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October 31, 2012 Comments disabled

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

5 interesting facts about the UK

Continuing our series of fun facts from different countries, today we’re looking at the UK.

Fish and chips (credit Ines Saraiva on Flickr)

1. Many of us Brits use the terms ‘Great Britain’ and ‘United Kingdom’ interchangeably, but we are wrong to do so. Great Britain consists of three countries – England, Scotland and Wales, whereas the full definition of the UK is ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. So the UK includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The rest of Ireland is a separate country.

So when we talk about ‘Britain’ or ‘Great Britain’ we are including Scotland and Wales. Many English don’t mind whether they are referred to as British or English, but people from other parts of Britain feel differently. For example, Scottish people tend to consider themselves Scottish and not British. (Of course I cannot speak for the whole of Britain so please feel free to disagree in the comments!)


February 24, 2012 9 comments

Picture Postcards: St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada

This week’s photo was contributed by Anna on Pocketcultures who has been photographing a town called St. Jacobs which has a Mennonite history. Thanks Anna!

Read more:
Picture Postcards: Canadians celebrating Canada Day
It’s Not Summer ‘Till You Camp
How to Make Things Happen in Canada

October 30, 2011 2 comments

Fátima: the most famous Portuguese centre of Christian pilgrimage

October is Virgin Mary’s month. In Portugal, it’s time to pay a special visit to Our Lady of Fátima sanctuary, in Cova de Iria (Leiria). There, especially on the 13, we will find Catholics from all over the world celebrating the last appearance of the Virgin Mary in October 1917.

The Three Shepherd Children

According to the Catholic Church, Nossa Senhora de Fátima (Our Lady of Fatima) appeared to three shepherd children on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May,13 and ending on October,13. The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

Jacinta died in 1920 and Francisco in 1919. The siblings were victims of the great influenza epidemic that swept through Europe in 1918. Sister Lúcia, born in 1907, became a Carmelite nun in a monastery in Coimbra and died six years ago. (more…)

October 21, 2011 Comments disabled