Happy Spring: Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome!! Swagat, Dumela, Valkommen, Jee Aayan Noo, Tashreef, Bula, Swasdee, Bienvenido, Tashi Delek. Thanks for joining me.....

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Be Back Soon!!

Street vendors, Ayuthaya --Thailand!

In a research meeting I heard 'Everyday a new blogger quits'.  I do not want to be one of those. But I really have been busy, in too many directions.  Although I have over 60 posts in drafts and many more in my head, I do not know when I will work on all of them. In addition, I have started contributing formally to two sites, that are not really that professional but are a venue to reach a certain kind of audience, so it diverts my time. I also have a departmental blog to write about a project that I am a part of.  Something I enjoy and take pride in.  Here, I can say that presently I have the best colleagues I have ever had in any other place.  

And I have also returned to writing my blog by hand, which I had missed.  I need to do more of that.  I love writing by my hand.  

Yet, I am not ready to give up on this, so will be coming back to this soon, even though a few posts will be ultra small and to the point, due to time. (PS: Even in this absence, the traffic to the site has remained the same, which made me think that I should continue, if people are spending time here.  And yes, I do miss writing here too, so will try to strike a balance between all the writing that I am currently doing).  

Thanks for bearing with me. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Paskris: Swedish Easter Tradition

Feathers, Colors, Eggs and Birds: Happy Spring

Come Spring, in Sweden you start to hear the birds in the forests and around your house (although funnily enough you hear some throughout the winter--truly swedish birds).feathers on sticks start to be sold in the shops, along with many wreaths made of feathers….

Paskris, or easter twigs (literally easter-rice) is an Easter tradition in Sweden.  The twigs are taken from supple birch trees that are finally enjoying being able to feel the sap in their veins, and are standing erect in affirmation of their own life. 

As, we all know, many of the Christian holidays/celebrations were imposed on pagan celebrations to convert/transform Pagan celebrations to christian celebrations. So, easter is actually a celebration of resurrection of nature from the dead.  Sweden, is one of the few countries, though christianised as kept many of its pagan traditions. 

Swedish Easter Witches---one of Sweden's and parts of Finnland tradition--is a celebrated by dressing young girls as witches and boys as old men.  Some of its traditions are similar to Halloween--as in trick or treat. Girls and boys dressed as Häxa (witch) or Gubbe (old man) go door to door with a  copper kettle (not that common anymore) looking for treats, in exchange for hand drawn paintings. The tradition comes from old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the weekend before Easter to meet with Satan, and on their way would pick up young children for their meal.  Swedes would light fires to scare them --a practice still prevalent today to light bonfires--and dress young children as witches and old men to confuse the witches. Every easter there are also Påsk (easter) parades, where children, dressed up in costumes, accompanied by parents and a loud band, announce the arrival of spring.  The above pictures were taken at the parade last year. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Colorful Cocina (Cooking)

India is known for colours, down to every plate--Even the food served is colourful what with spices and flavours.  Here it is colourful in the real sense.  The above picture was taken in a famous South Indian restaurant in Delhi. The green is not just in the mint chutney, but also of the banana leaf that the food is served on. The milk White of the rice cakes (Idli) brown red of chutney and rust brown of the sambhar (curry that is served with Idli) stand out next to the green of the leaf, and shine of the stainless steel spoon.