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On Engastration

His recipe calls for a bustard stuffed with a turkey stuffed with a goose stuffed with a pheasant stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck stuffed with a guinea fowl stuffed with a teal stuffed with a woodcock stuffed with a partridge stuffed with a plover stuffed with a lapwing stuffed with a quail stuffed with a thrush stuffed with a lark stuffed with an ortolan bunting stuffed with a garden warbler stuffed with an olive stuffed with an anchovy stuffed with a single caper - The Roti Sans Pareil or Roast Without Equal.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 5, 2014 - 70 comments

 

"Avoid The Appearance Of Evil"

Thank Goodness We Don't Have To Do That Anymore: a selection of US social customs and rituals that have mercifully passed on. Spinster Etiquette! Paying Calls! Hand Kissing! Bathing Machines! Wedding Gift Displays!
posted by The Whelk on Mar 28, 2014 - 90 comments

Are journalists everywhere morethanreacting?

The AP Stylebook as dropped the distinction between "over" and "more than." Journalists everywhere appear to be outraged. Others think it is no big deal. Dictionaries tend to agree.
posted by grumpybear69 on Mar 21, 2014 - 56 comments

Paper Haiku

How to make handmade Japanese scroll paper.
(Many other traditional artisans at Gucci Japan)
posted by growabrain on Feb 8, 2014 - 19 comments

Ephemeral and Immortal

Along with its famous World Heritage Site rolls, UNESCO maintains lists of more intangible cultural treasures. In 2013 alone, they recognized the vertical calligraphy of Mongolia, the communal name pools of western Uganda, the 8000-year-old viticulture traditions of Georgia, the skeletal melodies of Vietnam, the forty-fold feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs, the making of kimchi, the use of the abacus, the annual rebinding of the Q’eswachaka bridge, the carol epics of Romania, and the shrimp-fishing horsemen of Belgium. These are only a few of the hundreds inscribed. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 24, 2014 - 21 comments

"Counsel, you are not reading this, are you?"

During oral arguments this week on the Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States case, Justice Antonin Scalia chastised attorney Steven Lechner for reading from his script. Justice Stephen Breyer broke the tension with these words: "It's all right." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 17, 2014 - 76 comments

A Visit from St. Nicholas to Usenet groups, the by-you, and beyond

Nearly 200 years after "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was written, the authorship is still in dispute. In the years since, there have been quite a few parodies and variants of the poem written, recorded and performed, including at least two different versions of a Cajun Night Before Christmas (a recording of the version by Te-Jules, and Trosclair's version[Google books preview], read by Larry Ray, recorded from WLOX). Snopes tracked down the history of The Soldier's Night Before Christmas, Fifties Web collected 21 tame versions (with auto-playing music), and Dirty Xmas has a number of "adult" versions. Yuks 'R' Us has a large collection, including some dated computer-related stories. Speaking of dated, you can view a vintage '98 "enhanced" version of the original poem plus more variations from Purple Lion (a member of the Merry Christmas Webring from 1998). But for the ultimate collection of variants and parodies, you might recall this thread from 2002. The link is dead, but Archive.org caught the site around that time, with 581 versions. That was over a decade ago, and now Alechemist Matt is up to 849 versions, parodies and variants of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 24, 2013 - 5 comments

Sitting On Knees

For 34 Years, two brothers have had thier picture taken with Santa.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 19, 2013 - 28 comments

I contradict myself

"I am an atheist and a Quaker."
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 7, 2013 - 79 comments

Stuffed.

Occurring once before in 1888 and possibly not again for another 77,798 years (really), the two holidays of Chanukah and Thanksgiving will overlap. The result? Chefs, food blogs, and nearly everybody else scrambling to create distinct fusion menus that draw from the delicious traditions of each holiday (NYT). Buzzfeed's massive Thanksgivukkah menu. Gothamist: Four Easy Fusion Dishes. Food 52's recipe challenge (in comments). Serious Eats' response ( Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Core and Turkey Schmaltz Gravy) . NY Daily News asks Chef Zach Kutsher for ideas.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 7, 2013 - 61 comments

The Old Ways

A History of British Folk Horror
posted by Artw on Oct 22, 2013 - 62 comments

Let's All Go To The Lobby!

“Movie theaters wanted nothing to do with popcorn,” Smith says, “because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theaters. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn’t want popcorn being ground into it.” Movie theaters were trying to appeal to a highbrow clientele, and didn’t want to deal with the distracting trash of concessions–or the distracting noise that snacking during a film would create. - So Why Do We Eat Popcorn At The Movies Anyway? (Smithsonian Mag)
posted by The Whelk on Oct 4, 2013 - 134 comments

The Last Ice Merchant

"The natural ice from Chimborazo is the best ice. The tastiest and sweetest. Full of vitamins for your bones. But nobody wants natural ice from Chimborazo anymore. They have factory ice. My father taught me and my brothers how to work in the ice mines. My name is Baltazar Ushca Tenesaca. Now I'm the only ice merchant of Chimborazo." El Último Hielero (The Last Ice Merchant), is a short documentary. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 3, 2013 - 24 comments

Murica

My fellow Mefites, I implore you. Don't even think about clicking the more inside if you have anything pressing to do. [previously] [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Mar 17, 2013 - 11 comments

Mongolian Eagle Hunters

The Last of the Mongolian Eagle Hunters. "In remote Mongolia, a few men continue the dying tradition of training golden eagles to hunt. Australian photographer Palani Mohan describes his project to document what remains of this centuries-old culture." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Feb 17, 2013 - 11 comments

Don't fail your New Year's Resolution!

A Daruma doll will always remind you of your goal. First read it here then watched it here. Nana korobi yaoki!
posted by xicana63 on Jan 31, 2013 - 11 comments

The Gentlemen's Club

Tweedland has some interesting stories and characters. Here's two to get you started:
Robert de Montesquiou - "Tall, black-haired, rouged, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his little black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand – the poseur absolute. He was said to have slept with Sarah Bernhardt and vomited for a week afterwards."

Lord Berners - "As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.)"

posted by unliteral on Dec 13, 2012 - 7 comments

Going, Going...

Auctioneers as hypnotists? (Hurry up, you could lose the bid...)
posted by Dr. Fetish on Nov 14, 2012 - 10 comments

All dolled up, Nigerian style

Barbie and Ken's Traditional Nigerian Wedding
posted by infini on Aug 8, 2012 - 21 comments

America's Best Christian

America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers, on traditional marriage. (Triggers, NSFW)
posted by the young rope-rider on Aug 5, 2012 - 13 comments

If More Gyms Had Sword Fighting Classes....

"I'm in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle, to which I've traveled so that award-winning science fiction novelists can demonstrate how they could cut me in half if they felt like it." i09 Talks to Neal Stephenson about working on the multi-author IP-experiment *thing* The Mongoliad and sword fighting as a heart-healthy hobby.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 3, 2012 - 29 comments

Made By Hand

Craftsmen and women, some of them the last of their breed, making their art by hand and profiled in beautiful short-form videos: Knifemaker. Ornamental glass artist (previously). Master printer . Swordguard maker (previously). Beekeeper and honey maker. Stone lettercarvers. Carmaker. More, and related, at This Is Made By Hand, FolkStreams.net and (less related, but still wonderful) eGarage.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Feb 27, 2012 - 19 comments

Joe Thompson, American musician, RIP

African-American fiddler Joe Thompson, probably the last living link to the black string band tradition of the 19th century, has died at the grand old age of 93. Hear Joe and his cousin, banjoist Odell (who passed on back in 1994) offer some reminiscences on the origins of their music, and a spirited rendition of Cindy Gal. Here's the short but sweet and deliciously ragged Old Corn Liquor. Hear Joe and Odell in concert in 1988, part one and part two, and this little ditty from a living room in 1987. And there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 24, 2012 - 9 comments

Your No. 2 favorite Christmas tradition

No Nativity scene is complete without the caganer - a figure caught in the act of taking a dump near the manger. (NSFW tag, ahoy!) The figurine (whose name translates as "the shitter") is an addition to the Nativity tableaus in the Catalonia region of Spain. Some interpret the caganer as a reminder that God can arrive on earth at any moment - and he doesn't care if he catches you with your britches down. [more inside]
posted by The demon that lives in the air on Dec 12, 2011 - 64 comments

A living doll

The Decorated Bride - "In Lubinje, a small, picturesque village of 3500 inhabitants, a few hours from Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, members of the Trebesh community live in colorful houses. They also have a colorful custom - or rite - of beautifying brides on their wedding day."
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 18, 2011 - 46 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

All Hallow's Read: because there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books

"This Halloween, give somebody a scary book, to read. That's it. That's the idea. It's going to be a tradition." It's an idea Neil Gaiman came up a year ago. It's called All Hallow's Read, with a website and everything, which has book recommendations of all sorts, plus stickers, bookmarks, cards, and a small story you can print off, as well as a poster contest for next year's event. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 31, 2011 - 22 comments

30 Mosques. 30 States. 30 Days.

30 Mosques in 30 Days, 2011 [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 7, 2011 - 22 comments

Traditional dance parties

A modern day pow wow is a Native American social gathering for dancing, singing, and honoring customs and traditions. [more inside]
posted by Deflagro on Aug 1, 2011 - 18 comments

"Here, eat this root."

The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 15, 2011 - 278 comments

Preservation of a Dream

The last hand-written newspaper in the world - A brief film about The Musalman, which has been penned in Urdu calligraphy every day since 1927. via CreativeRoots [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on May 22, 2011 - 15 comments

The Vanishing Art of the Dip

The mark strolls along a city sidewalk, fresh out of the bank, his wallet in his back pocket, blithely unaware that he's stumbled into the clutches of a practiced jug troupe. Slate's Joe Keohane mourns the dying art of picking pockets. [more inside]
posted by steambadger on Feb 25, 2011 - 58 comments

A traditional Nativity scene, Catalan-style

Mary, Joseph and the shepherds are all gathered around the baby Jesus in his manger, as loudspeakers emit the occasional animal sound for extra, rustic effect. But this is Catalonia, and no crib is complete without one additional figure. He is known in Catalan as the caganer.

posted by empath on Dec 23, 2010 - 42 comments

They call him the "Rabbah Rouser"

“There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety among religious traditionalists that when you take one step toward egalitarianism, the floodgates are open and everything that seemed self-evident will no longer be. Men go to work, and women raise children. If you undermine that, you have lost your whole universe.”

The Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism have been ordaining women as rabbis for decades, but the religion's most traditional sect, the Orthodox, remains a lone, minority holdout against egalitarianism. Last year, Orthodox Rabbi Avraham "Avi" Weiss (political activist and founder of the controversial, liberal, "Open Orthodox" Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Yeshiva in New York) tried to shake things up by ordaining the first female American Orthodox rabbi. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 31, 2010 - 35 comments

Something old, something new, something Hollywood...

On Saturday the crown princess Victoria of Sweden will be married, and her father King Gustav of Sweden will walk her down the aisle. This goes against the Swedish church tradition, where the couple walk together. The arch bishop Anders Wejryd has issued a public statement expressing his disapproval , and some are calling it a sexist wedding. If you're going to break with tradition, why not add a new twist to the aisle-walk, or maybe the groom can pull some moves, perhaps bop down the aisle to Love Shack? P.S. don't forget to update your facebook status while you're at it.
posted by dabitch on Jun 17, 2010 - 40 comments

Return of the Naked River Trackers?

Once upon a time, before boats had motors, the only way to move vessels up the Shennong River (a tributary to the Yangtze River near Badong, Enshi) was for labourers, known as River Trackers, to haul them by hand using heavy ropes along a dangerously narrow ledge hacked from solid rock. And while naked (slightly NSFW). [more inside]
posted by bwg on Mar 9, 2010 - 27 comments

Plow Monday, Historic and Updated

On January 11, 2010, Canon David Parrott blessed laptop computers and mobile phones during the Plow Monday service at St Lawrence Jewry Church in the City of London. Plough Monday is the traditional start of the English agricultural year, and the Church was involved with blessing of tools for the coming year. Before it was involved with church services, Plough Monday was a time for folk plays and dancing (associated with other Mummers plays), with regional variations. Some new Molly Dancers have revived the traditions, complete with plow. There were also races to see who would start their work the earliest, to show their readiness to commence the labors of the year. So sing out now and walk your plough (or play a ring tone on your mobile phone). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 12, 2010 - 12 comments

Namahage (生剥)

Namahage (生剥) is a Japanese ritual which is observed throughout Oga Peninsula, Akita Prefecture in northern Honshū, Japan. It is saidto have originated as a ritual for cleansing people's souls, and for blessing the new year. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jan 1, 2010 - 35 comments

Was Hail! Drink Hail!

Winter holiday traditions change with time and location, with their current forms retaining little of their old forms, wassailing (rhymes with fossil-ing) possibly more than most. The modern interpretation of wassailing has been simplified to singing carols, though it was born of much more diverse traditions, from a cheer of good health before battle to scaring evil spirits from apple orchards. From these origins come wassail the drink, and that's just one of the many foods of the winter season (Food Timeline prev., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). A few more are covered below the break. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 25, 2009 - 8 comments

Everyone knows Santa isn't real

As households across the world quietly deploy presents from St. Nick, Kate Beaton, author of the charming historical webcomic Hark, a Vagrant! (previ ously) remembers the tradition in a bittersweet light. In spite of venerable op-eds (and their animated offspring), such pain moves some to question whether parents should teach their children to believe in Santa Claus at all.
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 24, 2009 - 25 comments

old school etiquette

"To you, my friends, whose identity in these pages is veiled in fictional disguise, it is but fitting that I dedicate this book." Old school etiquette from the inimitable Emily Post and others. [more inside]
posted by lalex on Jul 16, 2009 - 12 comments

Old Weird Brittanica

This entrancing 17-minute film compiled from footage of British folk celebrations was put together in honor of a new project created by set designer Simon Costin. Finding much of his artistic inspiration in the folklore of Great Britain, Costin wondered why there was no national center or museum dedicated to studying and collecting these traditional customs. So he's decided to start one, The Museum of British Folklore, and is launching the project this summer by outfitting a 1976 caravan and traveling to folk festivals around the country. The expedition is intended to build interest in the museum project, and to collect and document some of the surprising variety of more than 700 annual, seasonal, often pre-Christian festival celebrations that continue to this day. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Jun 3, 2009 - 26 comments

The Isleños

The Isleños are said to be a dying traditional American subculture. Descendants of Canary Island immigrants of Louisiana, the name Isleños was given to them to distinguish them from Spanish mainlanders, known as "peninsulares." But in Louisiana, the name evolved from a category to an identity. For a long time they were one of those rare subcultures that found a way to maintain a living tradition as the world around them modernised by carving out a livelihood as crabbers and 'shrimpers'. Then Katrina hit and the wetlands, which were central to the Isleños identity, essentially dissapeared. Despite the blow to their economy, they still have their songs and annual fiestas, evidence of a strong culture which binds their community together, and their rebuilding following Katrina demonstrated how strong that sense of identity and culture can be. So perhaps the Isleños shouldn't be written off just yet, then. After all, as Isleño Irvan Perez says, "This is home. Where else would we go?"
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 7, 2008 - 7 comments

Social tagging by museums

Seeing Tibetan Art Through Social Tags - An interesting paper on social tagging. What can tags tell us about how images are perceived by diverse cultures? [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Aug 22, 2008 - 6 comments

The Ethnosphere

"Cultures at the far edge of the world" (YT) and "The worldwide web of belief and ritual" (YT). Two TED talks by anthropologist and explorer Wade Davis (previously) on the diversity of the world's indigenous cultures and their beliefs, and the richness of the "Ethnosphere," which he describes as "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness." [Via Mind Hacks]
posted by homunculus on Jun 21, 2008 - 12 comments

Old Weird Europe

German newspaper Der Spiegel decided to take a look at Europe's oddest folk traditions and festivals. Perhaps you can have a metaphorical hard-on for the phallus festival of Tyrnavos, Greece. Maybe you're hungry for how a small Belgian town celebrates the practice of swallowing live fish. Or, alternately, you can look down on those bizarre practices... while chasing a giant wheel of cheese down a hill. [more inside]
posted by huskerdont on Jun 3, 2008 - 20 comments

Perceptions of headscarf survey

A recent poll (PDF) asked for reactions to the same model dressed in two different ways: in a plain shirt with her hair down, and in a blue head scarf of the style of some Islamic women. Perhaps understandably, the survey respondents felt the scarfed image was more traditional and more religious. But some of the other perceptions are less obviously predictable. (via crooked timber)
posted by Rumple on Jan 29, 2008 - 45 comments

Death in the Afternoon

Jallikattu, [Stunning Photographs | Jallikattu YouTube] an Indian version of the Running of the Bulls, takes place in the State of Tamil Nadu, during the Pongal festival each year. This year, the Supreme Court directed the State Government to put a halt to the practice, in vain, and the bulls were forced to participate as usual (with 129 people being gored, and many more injured). [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on Jan 17, 2008 - 16 comments

Guga

"The ile is full of wild fowls, and when the fowls has their birds ripe, men out of the parish of Ness in Lewis sail and tarry there seven or eight days and to fetch with them home their boatfull of dry wild fowls with wild fowl feathers" - Donald Monro, Archdeacon of the Isles, 1549. The men sail again, as they have done since the 15th Century, this month.
posted by brautigan on Aug 14, 2007 - 6 comments

Alaska and Northeast Siberia

Artifacts, people, and traditions of Alaska and Northeast Siberia.
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 12, 2007 - 6 comments

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