In contemplation and tranquillity, in thought and bliss, the five hundred faces of the arhats of Changnyeongsa are fixed in an eternal meditation. For a millennium they have turned their mind inward and closed their eyes to the changing world.Continue reading “The Eternal Meditation of the Arhat”
As both their companion and destination, the silhouette holds out her (or his?) book strolling with his (or her?) partner.
What book does the shadow read?
What world within its pages? Continue reading “A Mystery Novel (For World Book Day)”
Think: when was the last time you heard silence, the last time you gave way in an argument, the last time you just sat and stared like the old folks sit and stare on park benches? When was the last time you truly listened? Was it this morning, yesterday, last week, last year? Continue reading “Learning to Listen – Reflections on a World of Noise”
“In the south, we need to touch” – this is how the Spanish tradition of Semana Santa was explained to me by Manuel, council representative of Defensión brotherhood, a religious association which for over fifty years has participated in the Holy Week processions of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Commemorating the final days of Christ, the Semana Santa is an assault on your eyes and ears, and a jig-saw puzzle for your head. Continue reading “Sensing Semana Santa: Holy Week in Southern Spain, Jerez de la Frontera”
The aroma of Jerez’s famous sherry wines that lingers through the Gonzalez Byass bodega mixes with the floral perfumes and colognes of the crowd that congregates in an old wine cellar to watch some of the most beautiful Andaluzas model the latest in flamenca fashion…
Of all countries on earth, Spain, perhaps, is that which has the most festivals and fiestas per capita. An exhaustive list of its festivals would run into the hundreds, possibly thousands, though there always seems to pop up another one which you hadn’t yet heard of. Springing forth from the community itself, with few rules and regulations, little respect for traffic flow, and a socially diverse crowd of old and young, these parties are truly organic, civic celebrations. Continue reading “Festival of the…Sea Urchin! – Photo Report on Cadiz’s ‘Erizada’”
Christmas in Spain is celebrated twice per year; first on Christmas Eve, and then again on Reyes – Three Kings Day, or the Epiphany – when children traditionally receive gifts delivered to them from bearded sorcerers of the Far East. Reyes Eve is celebrated throughout Spain with a Cabalgata de Reyes, a parade in which sweets are tossed by the kings’ retinues atop floats onto the onlookers below. It is said that Reyes is a children’s event, but at a Reyes parade adults briefly turn into children again. Continue reading “A Spanish Epiphany: Gorilla Culo, Inflatable Snake and Adults Turning into Children (Photo Story)”
Hidden from my sight behind the column of smoke bellowing out from an old fifty-five gallon drum sit the heroes of the night: two big round men with two big round zambombas secured between their two big round thighs. Continue reading “¡Zambomba! Celebrating Christmas in Jerez”
Every year in Arcos de la Frontera, a small but spectacular hilltop village in Spain’s south, the local people create what they call Belen Viviente, a living nativity scene or living Bethlehem. Visitors walking through the streets and plazas see bakers, iron-smiths, weavers and farmers working and living as if it were a typically brisk December’s night in Palestine some 2016 years ago. 2016 years on, millions of Marys and Josephs continue seeking room at the inn, still to no avail. Continue reading “Photo Essay: A Living Nativity Scene in Arcos de la Frontera”