Monthly Archives: September 2019

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and the first two of the 10 High Holy Days that conclude with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is a time of prayer and penitence. The story of Abraham is read in the synagogue, and the blowing of the shofar (“ram’s horn”) serves as a reminder that although Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, God allowed him to sacrifice a ram instead. Jews celebrate the New Year by eating a special rounded loaf of challah, symbolic of the continuity of life, as well as apples dipped in honey, symbols of sweetness and health. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Sari

Worn chiefly in India and Pakistan, a sari is a woman’s outer garment consisting of a length of lightweight cloth about 3 ft (1 m) wide and up to 30 ft (9 m) long. It is commonly worn with one end wrapped around the waist to form a skirt and the other draped over the shoulder or covering the head, but the way saris are draped as well as their fabrics, weaving styles, and motifs vary from region to region. What is the short-sleeved, midriff-baring blouse that is worn under the sari called? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Las Cantaderas

The Fiesta de Las Cantaderas, held in the town of León, Spain, dates back to a time when parishes were required to contribute young girls as an annual tribute to the Moors. When the king of León finally freed the population of this burden, the girls sang and danced in the streets to celebrate. These days the cantaderas form a parade, starting at the town hall. They dance and sing their way down the street, directed by a woman called the sotadera. The girls bear fruit baskets or other offerings, which they later give to the bishop. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Gastropod Shells

Known as a univalve shell, the shell of gastropods like snails, periwinkles, conches, whelks, limpets, and abalones is usually coiled or spiraled. This exoskeleton protects them from predators and defends land snails against the sun and drying out. Most gastropod species have shells that coil clockwise. Rarely, a member of one of these species produces a shell that coils in the opposite direction. Such shells are prized by collectors. What has the largest shell of any living gastropod? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Paddington Tram Depot Fire (1962)

In 1962, the Paddington Tram Depot in Brisbane, Australia, and 65 of its trams were destroyed in one of the largest fires in the city’s history. The strain that the destruction put on local transportation resources is generally considered to have brought about the beginning of the end for Brisbane’s tram system, which closed in 1969. After the fire, parts were salvaged from the destroyed trams and incorporated into new ones. What mythical creature adorns the trams bearing the salvaged parts? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Pitra Visarjan Amavasya

During this two-week festival in India, no male family member is allowed to shave, nor is it permissible to cut hair, pare nails, or wear new clothes. It is a time for honoring ancestors by making special offerings of food and water, especially khir, or rice boiled in milk. Brahmans (priests, members of the highest Hindu caste) are often invited to partake of these special foods in the belief that they will ensure that the offerings reach the souls of departed family members. It is usually the eldest son or senior member of the family who performs the rituals associated with this festival. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Sikha

The sikha is a long tuft or lock of hair left on the top or back of the shaven head of an orthodox Hindu male. During childhood, many Hindu boys have their heads shaved in a special ritual. Sometimes, a lock of hair is left at the crown and allowed to grow throughout the man’s life. Although traditionally all Hindus were required to wear a sikha, today it is seen mainly among ascetic monks. The sikha signifies one-pointed spiritual purpose and is always knotted, except under what circumstances? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary