Heritage: February 2003 Archives

February 28, 2003

Pilgrims resist paying to see relics

India: a crude attempt by the Patna Museum to exploit Buddhist pilgrims has backfired. Since the charge to view the holy ashes of Lord Buddha was raised from Rs. 10 (€0.19/13p) to Rs.100 (€1.94/£1.34) on 11th January, only 300 people have paid up, mostly non-Buddhist tourists. The rest of the museum charges an entrance fee of Rs. 5 (€0.10/7p) and sees 400 vistors per day.

Earlier, a proposal was made for keeping the entrance fee at Rs 10, but it was rejected by the government, since the entrance fee of Rs 100 is aimed at getting more revenue by attracting Buddhist pilgrims from Asian countries.The casket having priceless holy ashes, and kept on the first floor of the Patna museum since January 11, contains Lord Buddhaç—´ ashes mixed with clay, a copper punch-marked coin and a tiny leaf made of gold. Noted archaeologist A S Altekar had discovered the casket in 1958 during the excavation at Raja Vishal Ka Garh now in Vaishali district. The excavation was conducted by Kashi Prasad Jayaswal Research Institute.

Holy ashes fail to attract pilgrims - Times of India, 28th February 2003.

February 23, 2003

Grave robbers thoroughly cursed.

Theives who desecrated 22 graves to steal valuables buried with the bodies have been cursed in an unusual multifaith ceremony in Malaysia.

The ceremony, believed to be the first of its kind in the state, began with a Christian prayer for the souls of the Christians.
Then the Miring ceremony followed for the pagan Ibans with a slaughter of a 100kg boar.
Then a grim-faced elderly man, Enggol anak Dingon, rose up and began to invoke the Antu Gerasi and Antu Remaung, both very much feared ferocious ghosts to go after the guilty ones to break them up from limb to limb, tear out their hearts and eat them.
He also called on the benevolent Petara to bless the living with better harvest, health, jobs and more duit and ringgit
Then he invited the 12 longhouse chiefs to sprinkle yellow rice and this was was also done by the relatives concerned.

Ibans From 12 Longhouses Put Curse On Grave Thieves - Bernama, 23rd February 2003.

February 21, 2003

Legends of Jersey

BBC Jersey has produced Things that go bump in the night..., a web page all about the island's folklore. The story of The Witches of Rocqueberg has certain parallels with better-known Scottish faerie tales, but the tale of Geoffrey's Leap is positively Darwinian!

No-one really knows who Geoffrey is, but we know that he committed a crime - and that his punishment was to be thrown off a high rock at Anne Port.
Crowds came to watch Geoffrey die, and the executioner hurled him off the rock. But Geoffrey survived, and swam ashore.
Some of the crowd argued that he should be allowed to live, and others that he should be thrown off again.
Geoffrey settled the argument, by saying that he would jump off the rock himself to show how easy it was. But this time, Geoffrey hit the rocks below, and died.

While there, check out the recipe for Black Butter, which has no folkloric connection that I know of, but is lovely stuff. (Thanks, indirectly, Simon).

February 20, 2003

Hankies not necessary

The Banchory Morris Men, based near Aberdeen, are short on members because Scots men are too embarrassed to be seen dressing up in silly clothes, wearing bells, and hitting sticks in time to accordion music. The BBC News story gives a potted history of Morris dancing, including earlier Scottish incarnations:

Certainly the Morris Men say there was indigenous Morris Dancing in Scotland, until the early seventeenth century.
Neil Bayfield said it was banned by the Scottish kirk for being too much fun.

But the BBC's description of the Banchory side as Scotland's only Morris troupe falls well short of their usual accuracy - they're Scotland's only Cotswold side. The Morris Federation lists a number of sides dancing other traditions, including the Edinburgh-based Jenny Geddes Clog Morris, a mixed North West side (also in need of new members - follow the link for contact information, or mail me about it) Dancers urged to make the leap - BBC News, 18th February 2003.

February 12, 2003

So where did they put the cuckoo?

Analysis of the teeth of a man buried near Stonhenge show that he came from an area which is now Switzerland and Germany, raising interesting questions about who built the monument. The Amesbury Archer lived at the time of Stonhenge's construction. 'King of Stonehenge' hailed from the Alps - New Scientist, 11th February 2003.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Heritage category from February 2003.

Heritage: January 2003 is the previous archive.

Heritage: March 2003 is the next archive.

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