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
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 -
He was elected at the nadir of the worst depression in history; 25% of the workforce was unemployed, two million were homeless. Yet in the face of this, he made us an optimistic and far-reaching New Deal, creating among other programs a federal minimum wage, social security, and the FDIC. He pulled us out of dire financial straits and, when our country was called upon to fight in World War II, he brought us to the cusp of victory. In his unprecedented thirteen years in office, he cemented his undisputed legacy as one of the greatest presidents in American history. But before he could achieve any of this, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a promise to keep — a promise to the "wet vote," whose indispensable support he had called upon
in 1932 during his first presidential campaign when he promised to repeal the 18th Amendment
and end Prohibition
. And thus, as legend has it, immediately after his first fireside chat
from the White House in March 1933, Roosevelt turned to his two top aides and said, "I think it's time for a beer.
" And yes, indeed
, it was
. [more inside]
posted by churl
on Dec 5, 2009 -
June 8: The forgotten holiday of Pinkster.
At first celebrated among the Dutch communities of New York and New Jersey, by the 19th century the holiday of Pinkster was heavily African-American
, and cross-culturally infused. In Albany, the week-long observance began the seventh Sunday after Easter at Pentecost, corresponding with the Episcopal Whitsunday, by raising a large camp of temporary shelters at "Pinkster Hill." Crowds of blacks and whites would mass, waiting for the appearance of King Charles, "the chief character in a ceremony on a Dutch Holiday in America[...,] an African-born black wearing a British brigadier's jacket of scarlet, a tricornered cocked hat, and yellow buckskins." Successive nights included food, drink, sports and Toto, the Guinea dance, which included the "most lewd and indecent gesticulation, at the crisis of which the parties meet and embrace in a kind of amorous Indian hug, terminating in a sort of masquerade capture, which must cover even a harlot with blushes to describe."
posted by Mo Nickels
on Apr 20, 2003 -
Thanksgiving Bill of Fare
- "If you will boile chickens, young turkeys, peahens, or any house fowl daintily, you shall, after you have trimmed them, drawn them, trussed them, and washed them, fill their bellies as full of parsley as they can hold; then boil them with salt and water only till they be enough." When sated with peahens and house fowl you might have enjoyed a taste of Pumpion Pie
. Early colonial cuisine
probably borrowed heavily from the New Booke of Cookerie
from London and were no doubt greatly influenced by native recipes
and cooking customs.
posted by madamjujujive
on Nov 28, 2002 -