Category Archives: Cultural Perspectives

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

Posted in Cultural Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Cultural Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Cultural Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Cultural Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Southern and Central Mexicans honor their ancestors

The Mexican Day of the Dead is actually celebrated over two days, Nov.1 and Nov. 2, in Central and Southern Mexico. Legend holds that at midnight on Oct. 31, the gates of heaven fly open and release the souls of those … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do All Zen Buddhists Believe in Rebirth?

A look into two theories behind Dogen teachings

One of the primary concepts behind most schools of Zen Buddhism is the idea that there is no real “self” who is born or dies. If one believes in this concept, it seems that the idea of “rebirth” doesn’t fit into … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments