Category Archives: Cultural Perspectives

Standing Rock Land and Water Protectors Defend Burial Grounds From Desecration by Big Oil

Native American graves excavated for pipeline construction

The standoff on and near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation between indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline project and security and police forces is currently making global headlines. At issue are the land rights of indigenous people, the human … Continue reading

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The Judaic Tradition of Ethical Wills

Ethical wills have been part of Jewish heritage for generations

An ethical will — also known as a “legacy letter” — is a document that bequeaths not material goods, but ideas and values. For Jewish people, ethical wills are a recognized part of how their faith is passed on from … Continue reading

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How Quakers Cope with Death

Honoring the dead brings solace to the grieving

The Quaker religion is a form of Christianity founded by George Fox in England around 1650. Six years later, in 1656, two women brought the Quaker religion to the United States. Quakers believe that Christ, and by extension God, lives … Continue reading

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Professional Pallbearers Dance the Dead Out in Style

Cross-continental tradition honours the dead with coffin choreography

If you attend a funeral in parts of West Africa and the Southern United States, you may witness some fancy footwork by professional pallbearers who specialize in dancing with the dead. These dancing pallbearers often sing gospel or other sacred … Continue reading

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The Revitalization of Tear Bottles

Ancient mourning ritual of capturing tears garners modern interest

The tradition of collecting one’s own tears in a lacrimatory, or tear bottle, dates back to ancient times.  Tear bottles are made of terracotta or glass, and can measure up to four inches in height. In ancient Rome and Greece, … Continue reading

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Life and Death on the Fourth of July

Some facts you might not know about the famous American holiday

As the Fourth of July came and went, most of us (including myself) were preoccupied with barbequing, firework watching, and perhaps some heavy drinking.  While we all know this summer holiday marks our country’s self-declared independence, many do not know … Continue reading

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