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  • Sights of China: Funeral Processions In The Countryside

    You can often hear them coming before you see them. Their horns are blaring and their drums are pounding. Then you see the line of people wearing little white hats marching with a two foot high, colorful, paper palanquin. This is a traditional funeral procession, which is now often only seen in the villages of [...]

  • Survival of the Harmonious: Balinese Youth On Their Hinduism

    At about 10 a.m. Wayan walks out of her family’s house with sarong neatly wrapped around her thin adolescent waist balancing a woven basket abundantly full of offerings to the gods, perfumed and smoking gracefully. She looks natural, and her movements are as deliberate as anyone who is relaxed with their tasks. On her face [...]

  • The Sights of China: Burning Joss Paper

    Even as China modernizes at a pedal to the metal pace, certain elements of its old traditions and beliefs remain relevant and important throughout the society. Though formal religion took a major hit during the Mao era which it will probably never recover from, ancestor veneration is still alive and well. It’s purpose is to [...]

  • Religion in Kinmen, Taiwan

    Religion is virtually ubiquitous on Taiwan’s Kinmen Island, and it is an interesting mix of beliefs and faiths.

  • Russian Magazine Says It’s Going to Publish a “Good” Prophet Muhammad Comic

    A Russian magazine says they’re going to publish a culturally sensitive comic about Muhammad. We’ll see how well this goes over.

  • My Backpack has been Blessed!

    …no – seriously. I’m not kidding. With holy water yet. By a priest. When I came back to my hotel room today I noticed as I walked down the short hall to my room that I was following a trail of water droplets. Then I looked up. At the end of the trail was the [...]

  • The Rise of Christianity in South Korea

    The Sagrada Familia. Angkor Wat. The Acropolis. Westminster Abbey. The Sistine Chapel. Wherever in the world you find yourself, you are likely to be drawn into some of the most elaborate and breathtaking structures you will ever see, most of them created with divinity in mind. More than 20% of UNESCO’s world heritage cultural sites [...]

  • The Mexican Christmas Posada

    “Do you have posadas for Christmas in the United States?” a friend of mine ask while we were at a Christmas party in San Cristobal de las Casas. I hesitated before replying. My knowledge of Spanish is that the word “posada” is the equivalent “inn” or a homely type of hotel. My mind raced to determine how [...]

  • Visit to the Church in Chamula

    The church of Saint John the Baptist in Chamula, an autonomous indigenous municipality in the central highlands of Chiapas, is one of the prime locations in the world to observe elements of the traditional Maya beliefs combined with Catholicism. These practices include chanting, prayer, and, occasionally, the sacrifice of animals. While mostly chickens are made as offerings, [...]

  • Maya and Catholic Religious Syncretism at Chamula, Mexico

    A live chicken with its feet bound was removed from a burlap sack and laid down upon the church’s floor. Three rows of perhaps a dozen candles each were placed in front of the chicken, all were fully blazing. A bottle of Coca-Cola sat to the right. A heavy set matured woman in a long dress emblazoned with a purple flower pattern was kneeling behind the offerings, sitting on her heels. A young man was kneeling next to the woman, and an older man with a mustache took up the same position on the other side. All three adults were rocking back and forth, chanting prayers in Tzotzil. The woman then withdrew a kitchen knife, and with a quick flick of her wrist the chicken was sacrificed.