The holidays are over and there's no getting around the fact that it's January and bitter cold in the Upper Midwest. The days, while inching longer into light, are still short. Now is the time of deep winter, when a touch of light goes a long way.
Each year on December 16–17, thousands of Cubans of different religious persuasions make their way to Saint Lazarus’ shrine on the the outskirts of Havana to pray for health and blessings. Some go to honor the orisha Babalú-Ayé. His name translates as “Father of the World” and he’s syncretized with his Catholic alter ego, Saint Lazarus. In the Afro-Cuban orisha pantheon, Babalú-Ayé rules over infectious diseases including small pox and AIDS. Practitioners of Afro-Cuban Santeria (also known as La Regla Ocha and La Regla Lucumi) seek his help with healing and protection from illness.
A boy wears a tunic featuring the Virgin of Guadalupe during services in Mexico. (photo: Daniel Cristán/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
We ended this week’s TV-themed show “Monsters We Love” with an invitation to tell us about the series we didn’t include in the production — shows that matter to you that are telling a bigger story about who we are, what we fear, and who we aspire to be. Some of you responded with surprising, off-the radar recommendations.
Take the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. I’d never heard of it. Artist Patrick Lynch, who wrote to us from Paris, Kentucky, would run home after school to watch it. Patrick calls it the ancestral precursor to the modern-day vampire shows we’re seeing on TV right now:
Our delightful exercise with 10 of the 27 drawings that comprise the "wug test." Try them out with the kids in your life (or, yes, even by yourself). They'll demonstrate how children as young as three or four can internalize complex grammatical codes no one has necessarily ever tried to teach them. And let us know what surprised you!
A mass of people dress up for the Toronto Zombie Walk. (photo: Sam Javanrouh/Flickr, cc by-nc 2.0)
For some reason we’re experiencing a zombie moment. From zombie crawls across the globe to the record-breaking 11 million people who tuned in to watch the season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead, zombies are seemingly everywhere this season. Even sober institutions like The Centers for Disease Control are using zombies to teach us about disaster preparedness.
What shows or characters capture your attention? Send us your ideas for scenes that capture your imagination.
Approximately 100 miles north of São Paulo in Brazil lies the town of Aparecida, home to the Basílica do Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the second largest basilica in the world. Only Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is larger.
And today on October 12th, a national holiday in Brazil, thousands of devotees are traveling to the Brazilian town to pay homage to Our Lady of Aparecida (“Our Lady Who Appeared”), the country’s patron saint.
Smithsonian magazine features stunning images of jaguars in Brazil’s Pantal wetlands.
A fun video segment from NOVA testing a producer's linguistic capacities.
In Cuban Santeria (also known as La Regla Ocha and La Regla Lucumi), orishas are revered deities who rule over different earthly elements. They are called through dance and drum rituals to interact with humans.
Oshun, for example, is an orisha associated with fresh water. She represents female sensuality and beauty. Oshun’s movement is fluid and coquettish, which is what you’d expect from a goddess of beauty. Her signature color is yellow and she typically carries a fan with her, which she sometimes wields as a weapon. When Oshun laughs, she’s preparing to punish someone. It’s only when she cries that she’s truly happy.
From Eindhoven to Ramallah, Picasso's "Buste de Femme" arrives in Palestine.
A Brooklyn-based musician makes peace with her father's indirect expressions of love.
Audio of the revered theologian explaining why the GLBTQ issue has such adrenaline in church communities and why a chance for theological discussion has passed.
A Q+A with Phie Ambo on meditation, contemplative neuroscience, and what she learned while making the documentary Free the Mind on neuroscientist Richard Davidson.