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Tajik Women 07
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
19 Nov 2014

Afternoon bath. Mum prepared tubs of hot water.

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Tajik Women 08
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
19 Nov 2014

After the bath mum arranges Gulguna’s braids. Children are loved here because they are a blessing of God.

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Sarabdek 12
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

Catching a yak. A few wild yaks are brought from a distant Murghab. One was chosen to be culled for upcoming wedding party.

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Sarabdek 13
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

To kill a yak, men bind its legs, put it down, hold it and one of them cuts its throat.

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Sarabdek 14
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

Butchering the yak. As the custom, the neighbors receive a piece of meat, ready prepared and boiled.

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Tajik Women 05
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

One of Gulguna’s duties is herding goats in the evening .This task is reserved for the children. A dog starts barking so she looks out for a wolf.

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Tajik Women 06
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

Gulguna and her friends bring a goat to the village to find out to who it belonged. There are 7 to 10 big herds in the village. In one herd, there are around 10 to 15 smaller groups each owned by a local. Shepherds switch their turns for grazing their herds.

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Tajik Women 11
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
18 Nov 2014

Nigina studies Esperanto in Khorog. She came to be bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding. hers sister is en anglish teacher at local school. her brother just came back from his studies in london

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Sarabdek 07
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
17 Nov 2014

Sarabdek grinds flour in the water mill. Villagers make flour by themselves. There are 10 water mills in the village. At each house, bread tastes different as everyone bakes it in their own way, some add some oil, others more salt. The price of a bag of flour in a Soviet time was 11 rubles, today it costs 180 Somoni (30 euros), which constitutes Sarabdek’s monthly pension.

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Sarabdek 08
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
17 Nov 2014

A woman takes water from a spring. The water from the spring is used for drinking and cooking. For washing and cleaning, people take water from a system of irrigation channels around the village.

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Sarabdek 9
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
17 Nov 2014

The girl looks for sheep and goats. This task is reserved for children. There are 7 to 10 big herds in the village. In one herd, there are around 10 to 15 smaller groups each owned by a local. Shepherds switch their turn for grazing their herds.

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Tajik Women 20
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
16 Nov 2014

A dance leader is singing wedding songs. Songs are about the Badakshan and Pamir Mountains, not about Tajikistan as the Pamir was there before the rise of the Tajik state. A wedding ceremony takes place at the bride’s home. If the young couple comes from the same village, a ceremony starts at a bride’s house and afterwards moves to the groom’s house.

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Tajik Women 22
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
16 Nov 2014

Nigina, a bridesmaid is dancing. According to custom, the best dancers receive gifts such as home-made socks, necklaces or simply money.

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Sarabdek 18
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
16 Nov 2014

The groom’s family goes to the bride's house to form a wedding party.

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Tajik Women 21
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

A wedding ceremony takes place in the big summer room. Guests dance in pairs and then they leave the dance floor for the next. A wedding ceremony takes place at the bride’s home. If the young couple comes from the same village, a ceremony starts at a bride’s house and afterwards moves to the groom’s house.

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Tajik Women 23
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

The wedding guests. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. Hopefully there will be just enough space to dance.

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Sarabdek 11
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

Kids are jumping from one roof to the other.

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Sarabdek 17
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

Musicians are greeting guests at bride’s house. The tambourine is a local traditional instrument.

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Sarabdek 19
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

A wedding ceremony takes place in the big summer room. Guests dance in pairs and then they leave the dance floor for the next. A wedding ceremony takes place at the bride’s home. If the young couple comes from the same village, a ceremony starts at a bride’s house and

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Tajik Women 15
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

Granny Odinamo lives in the oldest house in the village. The house is so old that no one remembers when it was built. It could be a century or perhaps two centuries old. The house was formerly part of a defensive fortress, destroyed by the Soviets.

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Tajik Women 18
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
15 Nov 2014

Odinamo is 55 years old, her husband is 59. The wind has ravaged their faces. Odinamo prepares tobacco powder to be put under the tongue.

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Sarabdek 20
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
13 Nov 2014

The wedding guests are dancing. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. Hopefully there will be just enough space to dance.

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Tajik Women 13
Roshorv, Tajikistan
By karolinasamborska
13 Nov 2014

Wood in Roshorv is precious, because it is rare. The Pamir is a mountainous desert and except for a few poplars and willows nothing will to grow. Women pick up all branches and twigs, sweep leaves and stalks and put everything in a stove. Men get up at dawn and set off into the mountains in search of firewood. It is hard to find something bigger than twigs and small branches. Men wander kilometers collecting anything that will burn. To get thicker wood they need to ride two days away, to the border with Kyrgyzstan. Therefore hills, farms and farmland are tidy as like an English garden. The spaces are wild and natural, but you will not find a withered twig.

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Chinese marriage 9
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Local men and young distant relatives loiter outside the bridal party's home in Zhongshan City. Like the economy, Chinese youth culture is changing fast, both in fashion and in mindset.

The man on the right wears the early Mao influenced three piece business suit, which is symbolic of the early communist era. While the young man standing slightly to the left opts to go for a more modern punk / rebellious garb.

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Chinese marriage 16
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Dinner is prepared for a wedding feast in Dongsheng Town. Often migrant workers from Northern Chinese Provinces cook food for wedding parties. Many things have changed in China for many people, but for others, such as migrants from the Northern Provinces, much remains the same.

Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China.

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Chinese marriage 19
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

The bride and groom leave after being adequately protected from the rain from their personal chauffeur and valet in Panyu District, Guangzhou. Guangdong Province China. This type of personal service and elegant touch is now provided by many different companies in China. The wedding business is a booming industry after being non existent in previously poorer generations. Most parents of newly weds could never have imagined such services like the ones provided in todayÕs modern weddings. Many have memories of being transported to their venue by 3 wheel cart and having a dress previously handed down by another family member or another girl who may have married recently living in their village.

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Chinese marriage 21
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

A chauffeur driven car departs for a the wedding party in Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China. Luxury cars line old Chinese villages on the wedding day to take guests from the couples homes to the wedding dinner venue. 20 years ago it would have been a sight to even see a car in these parts of China, notwithstanding a luxury Mercedes.

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Chinese marriage 2
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

The Happy couple depart ! Zheng Ying and her husband are taken to their ceremonial dinner in a chauffeur driven Porsche with their own personal paparazzi in tow.

Chinese couples can spend upwards of 100,000 RMB ($16,000) on their wedding. Items such as gold jewelry, luxury car rentals, plush hotel venues and fine foods and wines are among some of the purchased items. The Wedding ceremony is often seen as an important day for families to show off their wealth and stature to friends and others in their community.

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Chinese marriage 5
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

An entrance to a wedding party in Guangzhou City. Guangdong Province. China.

Thousands of dollars is spent by couples on putting on a lavish after party or wedding dinner . The more opulent the better, with no expense being spared. Couples can often recuperate the money spent on the dinner as guests are expected to give the couple a red envelope with some cash or gifts. A typical Chinese wedding can cost a couple upwards of 100,000 RMB ($16,000), depending on the extravagance or wealth of the families. It is customary that the groom's party should foot the wedding bill, but in modern China this custom has become dependent on whether the bride's party are interested in halving the costs. Over the past 20 years, the amount of cash that can now be allocated to couples on their wedding day has risen at an extraordinary level. 20 years ago an average Chinese wedding may have only cost around 10,000 RMB ($1,600).

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Chinese marriage 6
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Weiyan Lan and her grandson Shen Jiliang watch the departure of the a wedding party in Dongsheng Town. Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China

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''Rakher Upobas'': A Hindu Festival o...
Dhaka
By zakir hossain chowdhury
31 Oct 2014

"Whenever you are in danger, whether in ocean or in war or in the wild, remember Me. I shall save you. You may not know Me. You may not realize who I am. Just pray to Me with a little touch of your heart and I shall free you from gripping sorrows and miseries." -- Baba Lokenath (1730-1890)

Every year, in the month of Kartik on the Bengali calendar (late October through early November of the Gregorian calendar), members of Bangladesh’s Hindu community come together to celebrate the “Rakher Upobas” prayer to the god Lokenath Brahmachari, who is said to embody love in the Hindu tradition. At the Shri Shri Lokenath Brahmachari Ashram near Dhaka, men and women light lamps and candles and bring offerings of fruit, sweets, nuts and cow’s milk. Devotees pray to Baba Lokenath to save their family and dear ones from curses and diseases like cholera and pox; they observe a strict fast and remain sitting absorbed in prayer until the flames burn-out. Members of other faiths are welcome and often present at the prayers, though for more cultural than spiritual reasons.

Lokenath Brahmachari was born to a Brahman (an elite caste reserved for spiritual service in the caste system) family on the birthdate of the Hindu Lord Krishna in 1730. At eleven, he ventured off to the woods with his guru to practice Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga. When he left, he is said to have lived a life of complete asceticism until reaching enlightenment at the age of 90, after which he traveled extensively through Afghanistan, Persia and Arabia, including making three pilgrimages to Mecca. At the age of 136 he is said to have settled in a small town near Dhaka to tend to people who came seeking his teachings and blessings.

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Playing with Fire: Running the 'Corre...
Gerona
By Antolo
23 Oct 2014

It is night and the lights go out, the signal that announces the imminent beginning. In the courtyard, crowded with people, only silhouettes are distinguishable. The atmosphere is charged, but silence reigns. Almost everyone remains motionless except a newcomer trying to find friends in the crowd. Suddenly, a blinding light, followed by cries here, another there, and another... The fire has begun. The drums sound.

The Correfoc, or “fire run,” finds its origins in the “devil dances” of twelfth century Catalonia. The very first one took place at the wedding of Barcelona’s Count, Ramon Berenguer IV. These “devil dances” were performed by actors dressed like demons between meals during noble banquets in the Middle Ages. The dance represented the fight between good and evil.

People start running without a direction in mind. They are running away from the fire, pushing, pulling, eventually becoming attracted by that mysterious magnetism that has always existed between man and the pyrrhic element. At once, men dressed as devils carrying flares mix in the crowd. They light flares and begin to lash out at anything that moves. The sound of firecrackers and the hiss of sparks flying mix with the din of voices. Drums set the rhythm for the fire procession.

The relative security offered by the open space of the square gives way to narrow alleys where devils and spectators huddle. The bravest hug and jump at the fire porters while the majority, fearful, just keep looking for a way to stay ahead of the flames. It is a frenetic tour through the old town, down narrow streets and through open squares, where troupes of devils dance and throw flames and sparks in all directions. At the end of the route, in a larger square, a great fire festival awaits the crowd. Large flares jump skyward while intrepid jugglers delight the audience with a host of tricks, spitting fire like authentic demons until the last flame is extinguished and silence falls on Gerona.

Correfocs were once popular at different celebrations all around Catalonia. The first modern incarnation of the fire parade,however, took place in 1979 at Barcelona’s festival. This represented a comeback for the custom after many popular traditions were lost during the Franco dictatorship. Today, the Correfoc, like other traditional Catalan customs, is a way to preserve Catalonia’s cultural identity.