Steamed buns of Asia

Mantou, soft steamed buns, originated in Northern China. Through trade and conquest, this recipe reached all of Asia, with each country enjoying it in its own way.

Varanasi – a spiritual and a sensory overload

Varanasi, also known as Banaras, Benares, or Kashi, is located on the banks of the river Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities in the world, with evidence of settlements dating back to 1800 BCE. This city holds high regard for Hindus, Jains,…

Enormous lip plates of the Suri and Mursi women- beautiful or scary?

Along the Omo River valley in Ethiopia, one can find the women sporting enormous lip and ear plates. This unusual beauty standard of theirs has made them a popular tourist attraction.  Mursi and Suri people live an egalitarian agro-pastoral life. Yet many of their girls readily decide to plug their lower lip with clay plates…

A brief history of the Hippies from the 60s

Hippies are often depicted as lazy bums who oppose any form of authority in pop culture. Marijuana leaf, bandanas, Hawaii shirts, peace symbol, various psychedelic substances and granny glasses have all become irreplaceable icons of the Hippie culture. But this “happy-go-lucky” depiction can often shroud and misdirect people from the fact that the Hippie movement sprung…

Traditional Japanese theater styles- Noh, Kyogen, Bunraku, Kabuki and Rakugo.

Theatres are fantastic ways of transmitting a message orally or through gestures, since, for most of history, education was a privilege. Starting from the Heian period (794 A.D-1195 A.D), many forms of theatrical arts emerged in Japan, as a result of their cultural exchange with the Chinese empires. In the beginning, these theatres were exclusive entertainment for the wealthy nobles and the Imperial family alone. But with the dawn of the Edo period (1603 A.D- 1867 A.D), many of these theatres reached the regular citizens of Japan.

Madhubani Paintings- An ancient wall painting art from India

India prides on an art form that turns bare mud patches into works of art. “Madhubani paintings”, is a collective term given to different styles of paintings emerging from the Madhubani region of modern-day Bihar state in India. They are characterized by complex geometrical patterns made on mud patches and plain walls. These paintings generally display special occasions, rituals, legends and festivals, etc.

Polynesian Dance: Hula of the Hawaiian Island

Whenever we think of the gorgeous beaches, mouth-watering cuisine, exotic dances, and extraordinary folk music, the images of the Hawaiian Islands immediately pop up in our heads. The Hawaiian Islands, because of their rich cultural heritage and breathtaking sceneries, has been one of the most popular tourist destinations for people from all age groups. Some…

Okrika: The Thriving Pre-Used Fashion Apparel Market of Nigeria

Miuccia Prada once said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” The quote quite precisely answers why people from across the globe, despite their religion, social status, skin color, or geographic location, feel the constant need to buy fashionable…

Binding love with diversity: a glimpse of Indian marriages

Marriages are made in heaven- that’s what we usually hear. In India, this thought has found expression in the form of wedding rituals. India, as a nation, is filled with diverse cultures and traditions. The uniqueness of each one of these cultures and their matrimonial rites emphasize nothing else but one thought, how new doors…

Oleku: An Inseparable Part of the Nigerian Fashion Trend

Imagination is an idea that has taken the shape of a reality countless times since the beginning of civilization. In fashion, designers use their vision to conceptualize and create either something brand new or to give the existing trends a different yet exciting dimension. It takes more than just a sense of style to accurately…

Erhu: An Integral Part of Chinese Traditional Music

Erhu, famously known as the Chinese violin, is a two-stringed spike fiddle, with more than 1000 years of history. Its unique feature is its versatility. It can be used for playing a variety of music arrangements, including pop, rock, and jazz.

Kalaripayattu- One of the most ancient martial art forms of India

Originating at around 3rd century BC in the Indian state of Kerala, Kalaripayattu is one of the most ancient martial art forms. It is also regarded as the “Mother of all martial arts” in the Indian sub-continent. Kalaripayattu or Kalari, has influenced several dance and theatre forms of the state of Kerala, alongside the modern…

Which is the most linguistically diverse nation?

We often think of nations as homogeneous chunks of lands. We imagine people of Spain speaking Español and people from Germany speaking Deutsch. There is also a common misconception that the most populous countries with a variety of belief systems are more diverse in terms of languages. However, things are not the same as they…

Portrait

Son paint my dreams as yours.
I am too tired to carry around a canvas.
Be careful not to paint the wrong pictures.

Why West African women wear Waist-beads

Ileke-Idi (Yoruba), which literally means waistband, is an accessory worn by the women of West Africa for centuries. Initially, the waist beads were a significant part of the cultural identity of the Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria. Therefore, the tribe is given credit for the popularity of this accessory in the country.   In Nigeria, mostly, the…

Thangka: an Inseparable Part of the Tibetan Art Forms

Thangka, also referred to as tangka, thanka, or tanka is a Tibetan Buddhist style of painting often drawn on cotton and silk applique. It mostly depicts Lord Buddha or glimpses of his life, and in some cases, the Mandala art form. The word “thangka” in Classic Tibetan language means “thing that one unrolls.”

Believers of the Land of the Dead: the Idu Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh

The Mishmi or Deng minority ethnic groups residing mainly in Tibet (China) and Arunachal Pradesh (India), are formed by three main tribes: Idu Mishmi; Digaro; and Miju Mishmi. The people of the Idu Mishmi tribe are believers of Holy Spirits, who, according to them, are always present in places such as farms, houses, forests, rivers, and mountains.

Lagos from the Past

The Yorubas are one of the vast tribes in Nigeria occupying most of the southwestern part of the country including Lagos. One of the unique history of the Yorubas of Lagos is the celebration of the Eyo (also known as the Adamu Orisha play) festival to guide the soul of a dead Oba (king) or a high ranked chief and to celebrate the coronation of a new Oba.

Balut: A Popular Street Food from the Philippines

Balut, which is typically pronounced as Balot, is a popular street food in the countries like the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. It is said that Balut was introduced to the Filipinos by the Chinese people around the year 1885, and since then, Balut has become an integral part of Filipino cuisine.

China’s Qingming Festival: A Day for Remembering the Dead

The Qingming Festival (清明) or the Tomb-Sweeping Day started some 2500 years ago during the Zhou Dynasty’s reign. Usually, the festival falls on the first day of the fifth solar term (around April 4th, 5th, or 6th) of each year, as per the Chinese Gregorian calendar.

Chinese Spring Festival: Time for Dumplings and New Year Cakes

China’s most significant festival, “Chunjie” or the “Spring Festival” dates back somewhere between 1600 and 1100 B.C, during the reigns of the Shang Dynasty. Celebrated by more than 20% of the human population, Chunjie is one of the most popular festivals in the world. Except for China, it is also celebrated in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, America, and Canada because of the sizeable Chinese population residing in these nations.

Jallikattu: A Controversial Sport from the State of Tamil Nadu

“Jallikattu,” a sport that got its name from Tamil words “Jalli,” which means gold or silver coins, and “Kattu,” which means “tying,” is one of the most popular cultural sport in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The history of this traditional sport dates back to somewhere between 400 BC to 100 BC.