The Ethiopian Cross

The Ethiopian Cross

Added about 1 year ago

One of the oldest symbols adopted by the Church, the cross, retains its purest form in Ethiopia, where it can be found in three principal forms: the processional cross, hand cross and the pendant cross...

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Polyandry, or the practice of taking multiple husbands

Polyandry, or the practice of taking multiple husbands

Added about 1 year ago

The custom of taking multiple wives, or polygyny, is well known. The opposite custom, the taking of two or more husbands or polyandry, is rather less well known, and is becoming a very rare practice indeed in the modern world...

Tibetan polyandry. Picture courtesy of the Tibet Travel Centre

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The Evil Eye

The Evil Eye

Added about 1 year ago

I remember, as a small child, my mother doing a curious thing. She placed a pot of water on the stove to boil, then threw in a handful of lubia as she called them, black-eyed beans. As the pot boiled furiously, several of the beans jumped out, and each time one did my mother called “emshee! emshee!” (go away ! go away!) in Arabic. She was, as she explained to me later, removing the evil eye from our house...

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Balinese House Compounds: a Microcosom of the Universe

Balinese House Compounds: a Microcosom of the Universe

Added over 2 years ago

A visitor to the smaller towns and villages of Bali would be forgiven for thinking that temples adorn every street corner and all of the spaces in between. High walls with the smallest of doorways allow only the briefest of views by passers-by, while above the walls there are tantalizing glimpses of exquisitely carved shrines, some no larger than birdcages. However, these are all in fact private residences, more properly called compounds or karangs, which may house several generations of Balinese families at one time.

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Chinese Year of the Water Dragon Raises Hopes of a Better Year For All

Chinese Year of the Water Dragon Raises Hopes of a Better Year For All

Added over 2 years ago

While celebrations are taking place all over the world today to herald in the Chinese New Year, this year’s festivities are being conducted with particular enthusiasm as 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon, considered by many to be the most auspicious sign in the Chinese zodiac.

Picture by Katsushika Hokusai, renouned Japanese artist 1760 – 1849

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Today I Went Down Some Spooky Old Stairs: a Photo Essay

Today I Went Down Some Spooky Old Stairs: a Photo Essay

Added over 2 years ago

And in the spirit of spooky month, Kashgar presents a guest article by photo journalist  Ruykyu Mike , who lives in Japan and specialises in photos of wildlife, festivals and travel sites. Sharing tips for travelers with a twist of humour is part of the life Mike loves on the Island of Okinawa.

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Hungry Ghosts: their History and Origin

Hungry Ghosts: their History and Origin

Added over 2 years ago

In the tradition of Halloween in the month of October, Kashgar brings you another legend to chill your bones, about the hungry ghosts of Eastern lore. More properly called preta or peta, these are the ghostly remnants of the dead who are afflicted with insatiable desire, hunger or thirst as a result of bad deeds or evil intent carried out in their life times...

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A Compendium of Demons

A Compendium of Demons

Added over 3 years ago

No anthology of the gods and goddesses of humanity would be complete without a compendium of the major demons and fallen angels of the modern Christian Era. And just in time for Halloween too!

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Halloween - its History and Origins

Halloween - its History and Origins

Added over 3 years ago

Happy Halloween everybody, or should we say Happy All Hallows Eve!  Although it’s an event not much celebrated in Australia because of its commercial overtones and association with the perceived crassness of all things American, the celebration of Hallowmas and All Hallows Eve is actually a Celtic tradition that dates back to at least the 1st century and represents thousands of years of collective human folklore that honours the dead and strikes a primordial chord in us all.

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The Hamsa (Hand of Fatima)

The Hamsa (Hand of Fatima)

Added over 3 years ago

In the 21st Century we are still surrounded by talismans and symbols whose traditions date to the earliest genesis of human culture, a result of our ongoing need to find order and the familiar amongst the unknown. These symbols help to ground us, bring us comfort and instantly connect us back to the spiritual world. Here we explore the meaning of one ancient and instantly recognisable symbol, that of the Hamsa, also knownas the Hand of Fatima.

This article is part of Kashgar's ongoing series on ritual objects and symbols of the world. The entire section can be found right here.

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