Warrier's COLLAGE 198/18092021

Welcome to Warrier's COLLAGE On Saturday September 18, 2021 Suprabhatam https://youtu.be/krGYd5tZe0A Mind Matters https://youtu.be/-R-7xu32Xm4 (A talk by Khurshed Batliwala) Good Morning Nice Day M G Warrier A Messages 1) V T Panchapagesan It all started In Dwapara Yuga when Dronar was denied his legitimate right for his livelihood. The fight between Kshatriyas and Brahmins were started during this period. Brahmins stooped to a lower cadre leaving all the rites, customs started living for their existence without setting an example. For others.......doing things which was the first deteriorating action by them. Caste system slowly gained momentum. It got thrived more and more after independence. Then rulers for their selfish gains took advantage fooling majority of people with their tactful handling. Today it needs thorough overhaul. If someone comes forward and sets right things, he is hoodwinked. Fortunately there is slow progress. Certain bold decisions are required today. People are all Indian citizens. Equality, Fraternity, Liberty, and Justice are all to be strictly adhered to. Elevate underprivileged to a higher cadre without giving freebies with knowledge based Living. Every politician should be made accountable during his tenure. Nation first, is to be The Slogan... Democracy has to be defined well without ambiguity. Punish the culprits without delay whoever they may be. We are One...developing oneness within us. Discuss all problems face to face in a conducive atmosphere for execution without displeasure. 2) Vathsala Jayaraman Forward sent by Shri A P Ramadurai, though included under Leisure column*, is a serious topic for consideration. For the past 50 years Sanskrit has been taken away from Govt schools and our children could not learn Sanskrit at all. These questions are in the uppermost part of mind, very often raised, remain unanswered and have sunk to the bottom. Some other grievance agitates the mind of a few retarders. They can never be satisfied by any amount of explanation. This is like trying to wake up a non sleeping man. Hundreds of questions raised, articles published, but not a single question has been suitably answered, but turned and twisted to some other subject. On and off our emotions are kindled but face a pathetic demise. *Purposely. Because, I came to know that readers are reading Leisure column first 🙏-Warrier 3) C V Subbaraman Mysuru POOR BRAHMINS! By and large what is mentioned in the Forward sent by Shri Ramadurai seems correct. One thing: Was not Vaamana (god) a "born" Brahmin? But is there any temple even in South India where the presiding diety is Vaamana? In ancient India, Samskritam was apparently the generally spoken language amongst all sections of the people. Later on, this became the spoken language for Brahmins and some other upper class men but "Praakrtam" was spoken by women of even upper classes and other sections of the people. Samskrtam is the Vedic language, one of the oldest languages of the Indo Iranian groups. The first of the four Vedas is in Samskrtam (estimated to be 1500 BC) but according to Indian believers the age of Rig and other Vedas is indeterminate. (Continued at H2) 4) A P Ramadurai Responding to C V Subbaraman : Sri Subbaraman's response on “Poor Brahmins” is exceptional on two counts 1) Remarkable in-depth analysis 2) Lightning speed with which it was sent. Hats off to Sri Subbaraman Ramadurai 5) C V Subbaraman Mysuru The views of Smt. Vathsala Madam's Grand mother are interesting. They reflect the need for reform in the thinking of our life and practices. Although there have been many "reforms" (these reforms came mostly from rebellion of successive generations and not by conscious reforms based on change of mindset and based on logic), a lot needs to be done more. (Continued at H3) B Music & Musicians Remembering M S Subbalakshmi* : S R Badrinarayanan Remembering ‘Bharat Ratna" Smt. M S SUBBALAKSHMI or Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (Born 16 September 1916 – Died 11 December 2004), Renowned Indian Carnatic Classical Music VOCALIST, on her Birth Anniversary today. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered Asia's Nobel Prize, in 1974 with the citation reading "Exacting purists acknowledge Srimati M. S. Subbulakshmi as the leading exponent of classical and semi-classical songs in the Carnatic tradition of South India." (Continued at H1) *Received from S R Badrinarayanan via Group mail 2) More about M S https://www.culturalindia.net/indian-music/classical-singers/m-s-subbulakshmi.html Excerpts : Legacy In 2006, the Urban Development Authority of Tirupati installed a bronze statue of her and the same was unveiled by the then C.M of Andhra Pradesh, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. While a postage stamp of M.S. was issued in 2005, United Nations issued her stamps to celebrate her birth centenary. In Kancheepuram, a type of silk saree has been named after her. C Current Affairs News & Views : M G Warrier 1) "Bad" Bank : Letters, The Hindu, September 18, 2021 This refers to the report "Government sets up 'bad bank' to clear the NPA mess"(September 17). A separate institutional arrangement for handling stressed assets of the banking system has built-in features which can be harmful for the financial sector in the long run. Put bluntly, besides acting as a disincentive for professionalizing appraisal and credit delivery and recovery departments of the banks, the institutionalization of ‘stressed assets’ can further weaken the supervisory and regulatory efforts of the already stressed authority, namely Reserve Bank of India entrusted with these responsibilities. M G Warrier Mumbai 2) Scripting a Multi-Language Policy This refers to the report 'Hindi a friend of all Indian languages'(September 15). The position of Hindi as the national language and the need to respect other languages creating an environment conducive for the educated to freely express in their mother tongue are well articulated by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah. There were efforts to have a common script for similar languages in India sometime back. But the move didn't progress. Languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi have similar scripts and these and many more Indian languages have identical or similar alphabets. An optional common script for some of these languages will go a long way in promoting ease of communication among people talking different languages in India. Legislatures, Media houses and educational institutions will benefit the most from such an initiative. M G Warrier Mumbai 3) Time ripe for Tax Reforms This refers to the report "SC tells govt. to keep tax regime 'simple'" (September 14). The call for simplification of tax reforms has not come a day too soon. Going a step further, common man would expect a national level Initiative to simplify not only the tax regime, but to revamp the entire government machinery including judiciary. Think of a day when income tax is abolished and expenditure tax and wage bill tax making up for the shortfall in in government's revenue. Similarly, if judiciary reduces one tier and ensures administration of justice more efficiently by infusing trust and professionalism in the remaining tiers, faster and transparent disposal of pending matters before courts at all levels will follow. M G Warrier D Readers Write Pitru Paksha : Vathsala Jayaraman As Pitrupaksha commences next week,we are getting ready to worship our ancestors. The way of celebration may differ but it is a global phenomenon. As human beings evolved,they started structuring lives so that they could live a little better than animals. Shelters came up, buildings came up, clothes came – so many things happened on this planet because of human beings. (Continued at H4) E eBooks Chasing Inclusive Growth : M G Warrier Chasing Inclusive Growth: Reforms for Financial Inclusion : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07B527VZY/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_X58BWBYNJ63NKC0FFQJ4 Chasing Inclusive Growth: Reforms for Financial Inclusion is about the common man's perceptions, anxieties and aspirations about the 21st century India growth story with focus on resources management in the Indian context, by policy interventions in the structure and governance of the financial system. This is an area well researched and documented by several scholars, politicians and many in social media. The difference this book claims is the commonsense approach backed by a learning experience of the author spanning half a century. This book dispassionately analyzes the progress in economic and financial sector reforms in the context of initiatives taken by GOI and RBI to (a) provide better environment for doing business and (b) equip institutions in the financial sector to cater to the changing needs of society. It also tries to flag issues needing policy support in areas like gold management, social security systems like pension schemes, healthcare and education. M G Warrier F Leisure* 1) Two beggars in London Ali and Habib are beggars. They beg in different areas of London ... Habib begs just as long as Ali does, but only collects £2 to £3 every day. Ali brings home a suitcase FULL of £10 notes, drives a Mercedes, lives in a mortgage-free house and has a lot of money to spend. Habib asks Ali :- 'I work just as long and hard as you do but how is it that you bring home a suitcase full of £10 notes every day?' Ali says, 'Look at your sign, what does it say'? Habib's sign reads : 'I have no work, have a wife and 6 kids to support'. Ali says : 'No wonder you only get £2- £3' Habib says... 'So what does your sign say'? Ali shows Habib his sign.... It reads : 'I only need another £10 to move back to Pakistan'. Product positioning is so important in sales! 2) Human Anatomy So Funny, This Human Anatomy Where can a man buy a cap for his knee, Or the key to a lock of his hair? Can his eyes be called an academy? Because there are pupils there? In the crown of your head can jewels be found? Who crosses the bridge of your nose? If you wanted to shingle the roof of your mouth, Would you use the nails on your toes? Can you sit in the shade of the palm of your hand, Or beat on the drum of your ear? Can the calf in your leg eat the corn off your toe? Then why not grow corn on the ear? Can the crook in your elbow be sent to jail? If so, just what did he do? How can you sharpen your shoulder blades? I'll be darned if I know *Forwards received from S R Badrinarayanan via Group mail. G Quotes about Carnatic Music https://quotes.yourdictionary.com/carnatic#:~:text=Carnatic%20quotes-,Carnatic%20Quotes,most%20essential%20music%20of%20humanity%20. Luxuriant Tamil music metamorphosed into Carnatic music. Someswara Bhooloka Malla Varman (1116-1127 A.D) of the Western Chalukyas who authored the prominent thesaurus Manasa Ullasa called the music of the South - of the Tamils included - as 'Karnataka Sangeetham and the term has turned immortal. — Dr. N. Mahalingam, in p.24 (Another Garland (Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers & Musicians) (Book II)) H 1) Continued from A1 Subbulakshmi (Kunjamma to her family) was born in Madurai, Madras Presidency, India to veena player Shanmukavadivu Ammal and Subramania Iyer. Her grandmother Akkammal was a violinist. She started learning Carnatic music at an early age and trained in Carnatic music under the tutelage of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and subsequently in Hindustani music under Pandit Narayanrao Vyas. Her mother, from the devadasi community, was a music exponent and a regular stage performer, and Subbulakshmi grew up in an environment very conducive to musical learning. Her musical interests were also shaped by regular interactions with Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavathar and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. Subbulakshmi gave her first public performance, at the age of eleven, in the year 1927, in the 100 pillar hall inside the Rockfort Temple, Tiruchirappalli; with Mysore Chowdiah on the violin and Dakshinamurthy Pillai on the mriganga. In 1936 Subbulakshmi moved to Madras She also made her film debut in Sevasadan in 1938. M.S. Subbulakshmi began her Carnatic classical music training under her mother Shanmugavadivu; and later in Hindustani classical training under Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas. Subbulakshmi first recording was released when she was 10 years old. Subbulakshmi gave her first performance at the prestigious Madras Music Academy in 1929,when she was 13 years old . The performance consisted of singing bhajans (Hindu hymns). The academy was known for its discriminating selection process, and they broke tradition by inviting a young girl as a key performer. Her performance was described as spellbinding and earned her many admirers and the moniker of musical genius from critics. Soon after her debut performances, Subbulakshmi became one of the leading Carnatic vocalists. By the age of seventeen, Subbulakshmi was giving concerts on her own, including major performances at the Madras Music Academy. She travelled to London, New York, Canada, the Far East, and other places as India's cultural ambassador. Her concerts at Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama in 1963 Carnegie Hall, New York; the UN General Assembly on UN day in 1966 Royal Albert Hall, London in 1982 Festival of India in Moscow in 1987 were significant landmarks in her career. In 1969 she was accompanied by Indian Railways Advisor SN Venkata Rao to Rameshwaram, where she famously sang several songs in front of each idol in the Rameshwaram temple. After the death of her husband Kalki Sadasivam in 1997, she stopped all her public performances. Films : MS also acted in a few Tamil films in her youth. Her first movie Sevasadanam was released on 2 May 1938. F.G. Natesa Iyer was the lead actor, opposite Subbulakshmi, in this film, directed by K. Subramanyam. It was a critical and commercial success. Sevasadanam is one of the early Tamil films to be set in a contemporary social setting and to advocate reformist social policies. The film is an adapted version of Premchand's novel Bazaar-e-Husn. The veteran Marxist leader N. Sankaraiah, has described Sevasadanam as an "unusual film" for choosing the subject of marriages between young girls and old men (which had social sanction). According to him, the film successfully broughout the "sufferings of the girl" (acted by M.S.) and the "mental agony of the aged husband".(acted by F.G.Natesa Iyer).Tamil film critic and historian Aranthai Narayanan observes in his bookThamizh Cinemavin Kathai (The Story of Tamil Cinema) that "Seva Sadhanam proved a turning point in the history of Tamil cinema. In the climax, the aged husband, now a totally changed man, was shown as casting aside with utter contempt his 'sacred thread', which symbolises his Brahmin superiority. It came as a stunning blow to the then Brahmin orthodoxy." MS Subbulakshmi also played the male role of Narada in "Savitri" (1941) to raise money for launching Kalki, her husband's nationalist Tamil weekly. Her title role of the Rajasthani saint-poetess Meera in the eponymous 1945 film gave her national prominence. This movie was re-made in Hindi in 1947. 1938 Sevasadanam Tamil 1941 Savithiri Tamil 1945 Meera Tamil 1947 Meerabai Hindi Awards and honours: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had this to say about M.S. Subbulakshmi- "Who am I, a mere Prime Minister before a Queen, a Queen of Music". While Lata Mangeshkar called her Tapaswini (the Renunciate), Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan termed her Suswaralakshmi (the goddess of the perfect note), and Kishori Amonkar labelled her the ultimate eighth note or Aathuvaan Sur, which is above the seven notes basic to all music. The great national leader and poet Sarojini Naidu called her "Nightingale of India". Her many famous renditions of bhajans include the chanting of Bhaja Govindam, Vishnu sahasranama (1000 names of Vishnu), Hari Tuma Haro and the Venkateswara Suprabhatam (musical hymns to awaken Lord Balaji early in the morning). She was widely honoured, praised and awarded. Some of the more popular ones include : Padma Bhushan in 1954 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956 Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968 (literally, Treasure Chest of Music. She was the first woman recipient of the title) Ramon Magsaysay award (often considered Asia's Nobel Prize) in 1974 Padma Vibhushan in 1975 Sangeetha Kalasikhamani in 1975 by The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai Sangeetha Kalasagara by Kalasagaram, Secunderabad in 1987 Kalidas Samman in 1988 Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990 Bharat Ratna in 1998. She was honoured as a resident artist [Asthana Vidhwan] of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA) has installed a bronze statue of M.S. Subbulakshmi at the Poornakumbham circle in the temple town. It was unveiled by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on 28 May 2006. The Kancheepuram Saree shade known as MS Blue was named after her by the well known Congress party member and philanthropist, Sri Muthu Chettiyar when they met at the residence of Sri R. Aiyadurai and Smt. Thangam Aiyadurai at Lady Desikachari Road, Madras, who were close friends of MS and Sadasivam. A commemorative postage stamp on her was issued on 18-December-2005. She was bestowed with enormous prize moneys with these awards, most of which she donated to charity. She has given more than 200 charity concerts and raised well over Rs. 10,000,000. She was awarded honorary degree degrees from several Universities. She was an ardent devotee of Kanchi Mahaswamigal and she rendered his composition Maithreem Bhajatha (O World! Cultivate peace) in her concert at the UN in 1966. Venkatesa Suprabhatam in Gramaphone record of HMV, the royalty from which goes to the Veda Patasala run by the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam. She donated many of the royalties on several best sold records to many charity organisations. 2) Continued from A3 Reference has been made to the great writings done in Samskrtam by non Brahmins like Vaalmiki, Veda Vyaasa. The list includes Vasishta . But I believe that Vasishta was a Brahmin by birth and Karma. In the case of Vaalmiki, though born a tribal or a dacoit, he reformed himself and did Tapasya to attain the status of "Brahminhood". This shows that one can attain brahminhood by action or Great Rishis who were non brahmins by birth attained brahminhood (i.e. Gnaanis) by their actions. Not necessarily all Rakshasaas were non brahmins. Raavana, Kumbha Karna, Vibhishana were all "brahmins" but Raakshasaas by karma (except Vibhishana). Raavana was a king - a Brahmin king! Are there Brahmin kings? A google search shows there are at least 48 dynasties/empires attributed to Brahmin origin. The Pallavaas of South India also claim to have a Brahminical origin. It is believed that Kashmir was for a long time ruled by Saivaite Brahmins (Dogras?) who are believed to be Saraswat Brahmins. Finally, the pertinent question is who is a Brahmin? By Birth or by Karma? Perhaps there are very few "Brahmins" by Karma. A Brahmin by birth may now a days engaged in "daasa pravritti" (many are working as peons in offices) and how can they be called brahmins by karma? Similar is the position of other castes too. Caste by profession and caste by birth are not the same things. Unfortunately, the caste label by birth has stuck from generation downwards ignoring the social and professional status of the people. This is a great injustice to all castes. A "brahmin" clerk does not get facilities which the son of a non brahmin Judge or top officer in government gets! 3) Continued from A5 In various auspicious functions like marriages and birthdays conducted in Brahmin families, specially, it is the practise to do "aseervaadam" by elders by placing Akshadai (sacred rice) on the upper cloth spread over their shoulders by the couples/birthday person amidst chanting of various mantraas by the purohits. Later the concerned persons who are so blessed do Namaskaarams before the elders who bless him/the couple by placing the Akshadai on their heads. But when the sacred rice is thrown amidst chanting of mantraas, the purohits say that only elderly men (and not women) are allowed to do so. I asked some purohits why women who are elderly cannot do so. There was no reply. This practice is an insult to womanhood. In a couple of marriages of my close relatives, I advised all elderly women to rise against such restrictions and encouraged them to participate in the rite along with elderly men. Some young ladies were very happy at this. Patanjali Yog Peeth run schools and colleges teach Veda to all communities and all castes, against the age old belief and practice that only brahmin boys no girls of any caste denomination are entitled to learn Veda. This is a very good reform. The practice of shaving the head by women who lost their husband is another obnoxious practice. Though this practice has virtually disapperared in urban and many semi urban areas, this continues even today in remote villages in Tamil Nadu and perhaps in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. This should totally stop. Widows do not or are not allowed to apply kumkum on their foreheads. I wonder why this should be done. If girls used to apply kumkum on their foreheads before their marriages, why should not they be allowed to continue this even after they lose their husband? Are not ladies who live a divorcee life continuing to apply kumkum? All such restrictive practices should come to an end. Subbaraman 4) Continued from D From simple things like making fire to discovering the wheel and innumerable other things, this legacy has been passed on from generation to generation. We are who we are today only because of all the things that have been given to us. Let us say, human beings had never worn clothes, and suppose you were the first person who had to stitch a shirt, it would not be easy; it would take many years to figure out how to stitch a shirt. We have taken all the things that we have today for granted. But without the generations that came before us, firstly we would not exist here; secondly, without their contribution we would not have all the things that we have today. So instead of taking them for granted, today is a day when we express our gratitude to all of them. It is done as a ritual to pay homage to one's dead parents, but is actually an expression of gratitude for all those generations of ancestors who lived before us. During this time, in the Indian subcontinent, new crops would have just begun to bear yield. So their first produce is offered to the ancestors as a mark of respect and thankfulness, by way of pinda, before the whole population breaks into celebration in the form of other festivals like Navratri, Vijayadashami and Diwali. Ancestor worship plays a role in nearly every religion and culture around the world. Throughout human history, we’ve dealt with death partly by continuing to communicate with the ones we've lost. Ancestor worship is any religious practice that’s based on a belief that deceased family members continue to exist in some capacity. Often, that includes a belief that the spirits or souls of the deceased have an impact on the lives of the living. 1. Shraddha from India In the Hindu religion, the Sraddha (Sanskrit śrāddha) ceremony is a religious and social responsibility. All male members of the Hindu faith, with the exception of some holy men known as sannyasis, are required to take part in the ritual. Sraddha is a rite performed for deceased parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. It’s thought to protect, support, and nourish the spirits as they travel through the afterlife and to eventual reincarnation. 2. Vodun from Ghana The Vodun religion found in West African nations like Ghana and is known as Voodoo elsewhere in the world. But there’s much more to Voodoo than the stereotypes portrayed by Hollywood horror movies. Vodun centers around an elaborate series of gods, all with complex characters and similar to the gods of ancient Greece. Although human sacrifice to the gods ended over a century ago, animal sacrifice still takes place. Another key component of the Vodun faith is ancestral worship. Vodun worshippers believe the souls of the dead walk among the living at certain times. One of those times is during a dance performed by hooded figures called Egunguns, or “living ghosts.” The ceremony of dancing Egunguns is performed annually in West Africa as an ancestral rite, allowing the dead to walk amongst the living for a little while. 3. Día de Los Muertos from Mexico One of the most famous ancestral worship rituals in the world is the Día de Los Muertos ceremony that takes place in Mexico. For the “Day of the Dead” festival, celebrants use altars and unique Día de Los Muertos symbology to connect with departed ancestors and family members. For example, leaving water on the altar can help quench the spirit’s thirst, and an offering of bread helps keep the spirit satiated on its journey. 4. Venerated Saints from Rome In the religion of Catholicism, ancestral worship centers around important religious figures called saints. Saints are people throughout history whom the Church has identified as holy or virtuous. The veneration of saints is a type of ancestral worship prevalent in Catholicism and other types of Christianity. It began out of a belief that saints or martyrs would be received into Heaven more directly, and that their paths should be followed. 5. Shi Ceremony from China In Chinese folk religion, a shi is a ceremonial stand-in for a deceased ancestor. The word shi literally translates to “corpse.” At a funeral or ancestral worship event, a “personator” can dress up as the ancestor (often in a symbolic way), and act on their behalf. For example, the shi personator can eat and drink, consuming ritual offerings that relatives want to give to the departed. Large shi gatherings often take place as a type of family reunion, where many ancestors can gather together in the forms of their personators. At the ceremony, they eat and drink, as well as enjoy blessings from living family members. 6. Megalithic Tombs from Europe Many of the tombs found from ancient Europe were built to resemble houses, indicating that the people of that time imagined their ancestors living on after death. 7. Pchum Ben from Cambodia The Buddhist holiday of Pchum Ben is also known as Ancestors Day or the Caring for the Dead Ritual. And it’s one of the most important annual ceremonies in Cambodia. For the ritual of Pchum Ben, celebrants typically honor departed relatives and ancestors going as far back as seven generations. For 15 days each year, families create offerings of food, which they bring to their local places of worship. Each family typically gives its donation of food (usually cooked rice) to the Buddhist monks. The merit earned by making this donation to the monks is thought to transfer to departed ancestors in the spirit world. 8. Samhain from Scotland Most people know of Samhain as the pagan version of Halloween. But the Celtic holiday of Samhain was originally a festival marking the end of fall and the beginning of winter. To honor the ancestors and protect yourself from negative fae encounters, celebrants can offer food and drink to the ancestors and offer departed family members a seat at the feast. 9. Shinto Rites from Japan In Japan, many households observe both Buddhism and the religion of Shintoism. Many homes have a Shinto shrine, where they perform specific rites. You can also find dedicated, permanent Shinto shrines in Japan, where Shinto rites take place. The religion of Shinto revolves around gods or spirits known as kami. The kami is a type of entity believed to inhabit everything on earth. And in Shintoism, the ancestors are often thought to be a type of kami. 10. Paganito from the Philippines According to an ancient Filippino religion, spirits called Anito inhabit every part of the world. The Anito are the spirits of the ancestors, and they influence events in the lives of the living. The Paganito ceremony is a type of spiritual seance, in which a traditional shaman communicates with the Anito spirits. 11. Chuseok from Korea The holiday of Chuseok is celebrated in both North and South Korea, and it’s similar to the American holiday of Thanksgiving in many ways. It’s a harvest festival, celebrating a bountiful autumn season. However, Chuseok is also different from Thanksgiving in that it’s specifically dedicated to thanking the ancestors for the plentiful harvest. A ritual called charye takes center stage on Chuseok, involving laying out food and lighting incense for departed relatives. 12. Calan Gaeaf from Wales In Wales, the first day of winter is known as Calan Gaeaf. It’s believed that on this date, the spirits of the ancestors can walk amongst the living. People in Wales traditionally avoid locations like churchyards, where the spirits are likely hanging out. Modern Ancestor Worship We often think of ancestor worship as something from the ancient past. But ancestor worship is still alive and well today. Some researchers and scholars even consider acts like embalming and entombing the dead, as well as celebrating occasions like Memorial Day, a form of ancestor worship. However, most forms of ancestor worship center on a belief that the soul of the dead continues to exist after death, which isn’t necessarily true with those practices. One thing is for certain: there’s always more to learn about ancestor worship, and the examples given above are just the tip of the iceberg. Honor Your Ancestors Indigenous peoples and cultures all over the world honor their dead ancestors in one way or another. In fact, many indigenous cultures invoke their ancestors daily through ritual. This is because without our ancestors, none of us would exist at all! Our ancestors also hold great wisdom; they each lived and learned before us, and we can call upon our ancestors to guide us with that wisdom. These types of celebrations are an important part of various - if not all - cultures, as it reminds us of our human connection to the natural cycle of life and death. Vathsala Jayaraman

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