Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The pictures that I promised...

I really do need to make it my goal to create new photo albums on my shutterfly account as it's my joy to share our travels with family and friends who choose to join us vicariously. I promise I'll get to that in the near future. But for now, the following pictures are the ones I promised in my last blog....Simple Thoughts. I've found that traveling really does have a way of causing me to examine my own beliefs while questioning and learning about the traditions of others.
Dressed to visit an Islamic mosque.

This is a picture of the Putra Mosque located in the government center of Putra Jaya just outside of KL. I visited this with high hopes of being able to admire the artistic beauty and also to learn more about Islamic worship.Unfortunately, as a non-Muslims, I could only walk to the entrance and look in. I'm not exactly sure why I had to dress for that...

The following pictures were taken at Batu Cave. It's the most important pilgrimage site for Malaysia's Hindus. During the Thaipusam festival celebrated in late January or early February, over a million pilgrims visit the cave. Sam joined the celebration on his birthday this past February...I need to learn how to post his video

A very tall golden statue of Lord Murugan with 272 steps up to Batu Cave behind it.

My favorite picture taken at Batu Caves! As an act of thanksgiving, parents bring their children to this temple. The child's head is shaved and then a powdery paste is spread over the child's head. Our driver, Ravi, surprised us by asking a family if we could hold their daughter. The family was very happy to allow us the honor...not quite sure if we were good luck or if they were just more than happy to allow others to share in their joy.

Reminds me of a Madonna and child...I'm guessing this God must be for children or maybe families.

Another god...Ravi pointed out the monkey like face and tried to explain that it had something to do with how people were in the beginning...I'm thinking he was referrring to evolution.

These last pictures were taken on a tour of Chinese cemeteries sponsored by the American Association of Malaysia. We learned a bit of Chinese culture by touring 2 memorial parks during Ching Ming, or All Souls Day which is celebrated for 20 days in April. I learned that Chinese people believe in ancestral worship and life after death and so during the 20 days of this festival families visit their departed loved ones graves. On their visit they bring the favorite foods of the deceased for them to enjoy. Our tour guide told us that they communicate with the dead by asking yes no questions. For example, they ask the family member if they've finished eating and then throw 2 coins over their shoulder. If the coins land with the same sides up, the answer is no and so they allow more time. If the coins land with opposite sides showing the answer is yes and they can pack up the picnic.

They also bring "paper" versions of all the necessities their loved one might need in the next life...clothes, cars, perfume, money...these are offered and then burned

The dead are buried according to feng shui practices...a hill behind them and water in front of them
Chinese wear color coded clothing to a funeral. The color is symbolic of how they are related to the deceased. The green is a grandchild, blue is a child...

This grave is not a grave at all. It was build to cheat death...interesting story.

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