Las Posadas – A Novenario of the Latinos


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Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Chimayo Las Posadas (Photo - Mark Nohl)

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The festival of Las Posadas celebrated chiefly in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the Southwestern United States has its origins in Spain. Observing Las Posadas has been a tradition in Mexico for 400 years.

The Spanish phrase “Las Posadas” means  “accommodations”, “The Inns”, or “lodgings”.

This traditional nine-day festival re-enacts the cold and difficult journey of María and José from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for a room at the lodgings in Bethlehem.

Even though the roots of this celebration are in Catholicism even Protestant Latinos follow the tradition.

The festivities of Las Posadas start in full swing on December 16th and ends on December 24th. These nine days are, in fact, a novenario – nine days of religious observance signifying the nine-month pregnancy of María carrying Jesús in her womb.

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A red Poinsettia (Photo - André Karwath)
A red Poinsettia (Photo – André Karwath)

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Devotees enact Las Posadas by carrying a doll or a statue representing the Christ Child and images of José and María riding a burro. The doll is left at the chosen home and picked up on the next night when the processional begins again. This continues for eight nights.

In certain areas, individuals play the part of María and José, with the expectant mother riding a real burro with attendant angels and shepherds; or the devotees would carry images of the holy family and the saints; followed by musicians, with the entire procession singing Posadas. Children may carry poinsettia flowers.

Holding candle lanterns the procession ambles through the streets of the community, stopping at previously selected residences, singing a Posada such as Para Posada (Asking for a place to stay). At each residence, the innkeeper responds to José’s query by singing a song.

Spanish

English

Afuera:
En
nombre del cielo
Os pido posada
Pues no puede andar
Mi esposa amada
Outside
Joseph asks:
In the name of heaven
I request you grant us shelter
Given that she cannot walk
She is my beloved wife
Adentro:
Aquí no es mesón

Sigan adelante
Yo no puedo abrir
No sea algún tunante
 Inside
“Probable” host answers:
This is not an Inn
Please continue ahead
I cannot open
You may be a robber
Afuera:
No seas
inhumano
Tennos caridad
Que el Rey de los cielos
Te lo premiará
Outside
Joseph replies:
Do not be inhuman
have mercy on us
Since the King of heavens
will reward you for that
Adentro:
Ya
se pueden ir
Y no molestar
porque si me enfado
Os voy a apalear
Inside
Still “probable” host answers:
You can already go away
and do not bother
because if I get upset
I will beat you up
Afuera:
Venimos
rendidos
Desde Nazaret
Yo soy carpintero
De nombre José
Outside
Joseph insists:
We come exhausted
From Nazareth
I am a carpenter
named Joseph
Adentro:
No me
importa el nombre
Déjenme dormir
Porque ya les digo
Que no hemos de abrir
Inside
Still unconvinced host replies:
I don’t care about your name
Let me go to sleep
Because, as I said
We shall not open
Afuera:
Posada te pide

Amado casero
Por sólo una noche
La reina del cielo
Outside
Joseph expects reasoning:
She asks you shelter
Dear innkeeper
for just one night
She, the queen of heaven
Adentro:
Pues si es
una reina
Quien lo solicita
¿Cómo es que de noche
Anda tan solita?
Inside
The almost convinced host asks:
So, if it’s a queen
who’s asking for it,
how is it that at night
she travels so alone?
Afuera:
Mi
esposa es María
Es reina del cielo
madre va a ser
Del divino verbo
Outside
Joseph answers:
My wife is Mary
She’s the Heavenly Queen
And she’ll be mother
Of the divine word
Adentro:
¿Eres tú José?

¿Tu esposa es María?
Entren peregrinos
No los conocía
Inside
Convinced host finally offers shelter:
Are you Joseph?
Is your wife Mary?
Come in, pilgrims
I did not know you
Afuera:
Dios 
pague, señores
Vuestra caridad
Y que os colme el cielo
De felicidad
Outside
Joseph gratefully says:
May God reward, sirs
for your charity
And may heaven heap you
With happiness
Adentro:
Dichosa la casa

Que alberga este día
A la virgen pura
La hermosa María
Inside
Host replies:
Joyful be the house
That this day hosts
The pure virgin
The beautiful Mary

 

The innkeeper after recognizing María and José allows them and the group of guests to enter their home.

All sing together:

Spanish

English

¡Entren santos peregrinos!
¡Reciban éste rincón!
Que aunque es pobre la morada
¡Se las doy de corazón!
¡Cantemos con alegría!
¡Todos al considerar!
¡Que Jesús, José y María
nos vinieron hoy a honrar!
Come in, holy pilgrims!
Receive this corner!
Because even though the place is poor
I offer it to you from my heart!
Let’s sing with joy!
Everyone at the thought!
That Jesus, Joseph and Mary
Came today to honour us!

 

Once inside, all kneel around the Nativity crib to pray the Rosary. The hosts provide refreshments.

The final location of the sojourn, most likely, would be a church where the devotees would sing villancicos at the end of each night’s journey.

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The World in the First Half of the 20th Century


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Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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In the first half of the 20th century, four flagrant men with their competing egos drove almost the entire human race to the brink of extinction with their charismatic personalities and grandiose visions.

The four, deemed notorious, are:

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini

Adolf Hitler

 Adolf Hitler

Hideki Tojo

Hideki Tojo

  • Joseph Stalin – General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, from April 3, 1922, to October 16, 1952.
  • Benito Mussolini, leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country as Prime Minister from 1922 until his ousting in 1943.
  • Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945.
  • Hideki Tojo, who was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan from October 17, 1941, to July 22, 1944.

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The Communists of Russia

 

Communist symbol

The Russian Revolution of 1905 is considered the major factor that led to the February Revolutions of 1917. This series of revolutions, collectively known as the Russian Revolution, led to the creation of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (SFSR) after demolishing the Tsarist autocracy.

The first Russian revolution in February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar since the old Julian calendar was in use in Russia at that time) focused around Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War (1914–18), which left much of the Russian army in a state of mutiny. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution and Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, abdicated. During the chaos, members of the Imperial Parliament or Duma assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. The Soviets (workers’ councils), which were led by more radical socialist factions, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias.

During the second Russian revolution in October (November in the Gregorian calendar) 1917, the Provisional Government in Petrograd was overthrown by the Bolshevik (communist) party, led by the revolutionary, politician and political theorist Vladimir Lenin, and the workers’ Soviets. The Bolsheviks appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and seized control of the countryside.

Joseph Stalin was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who took part in the Russian Revolution of 1917. He was named the general secretary of the party’s Central Committee in 1922. Following the 1924 death of Vladimir Lenin, he managed to consolidate power while eliminating any opposition. By the late 1920s, he was the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union.

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The Fascists of Italy

 

Fascism was a unique radical force that emerged in Italy in 1919. It had no clear predecessor, but developed out of World War I. Fascism in Italy was the offshoot of two other movements: nationalism and syndicalism.

Angered by Italy’s treatment after World War I, the nationalists, combined the idea of a class struggle with that of national struggle; and the syndicalists postulated that economic life in Italy should be governed by groups representing the workers in various industries and crafts. Italy was a proletarian nation, they said, and to win a greater share of the world’s wealth, all of Italy’s classes must unite.

Benito Mussolini, Mussolini was a syndicalist who turned nationalist during World War I.

Originally Mussolini was a revolutionary Socialist, and editor of “Avanti” (Forward) the socialist newspaper. He was later expelled from the Socialist Party. Mussolini rose to power in the wake of World War I, as a leading proponent of Fascism. At the start of World War I, like all socialists, he condemned the war as workers were forced to fight other workers while the factory bosses got richer at their expense. He forged the paramilitary Fascist movement in 1919 and became prime minister in 1922.

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The Nazis of Germany

 

Nazi symbol

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In 1914, Adolf Hitler joined the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. He fought on the Western Front and was awarded the Iron Cross for his bravery in battle. In 1918, he was temporarily blinded by a gas attack and was invalided out of the war.

After the war, in 1919, Hitler joined the German Worker’s Party led by Anton Drexler and was in charge of the political ideas and propaganda of the party. In 1920, the party announced its 25-point programme and was renamed the National Socialist German Worker’s Party – NAZIs.

In 1921, Hitler became the leader of the party and soon began attracting attention, with his powerful speeches. Hitler stirred up Nationalist passion, giving the people the fodder to blame for Germany’s problems. Hitler’s opponents tried to disrupt the meetings so for protection Hitler set up the SA – Stormtroopers. Though the actual membership of the NAZI party remained quite low in this period, Hitler, through his meetings and speeches gained a very high profile.

By 1932, the Nazi party was the largest party in the Reichstag but did not have a majority. On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. A month later, on February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building was burned down. The Communists were blamed for the fire and the Communist party was banned in Germany, giving the Nazis a clear majority in the government.

On August 2, 1934, Paul von Hindenburg, the second president of Germany from 1925 to 1934, died. Hitler then combined the position of Chancellor and president and made himself Fuhrer of Germany and began building his Third Reich. Ignoring the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, he began building up the army and stockpiling weapons. The Nuremberg Laws passed in 1935 defined Hitler’s ideal pure Aryan German citizen and barred Jews from holding any form of Public office.

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Statism in Shōwa Japan

 

Japanese symbol

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Statism in Shōwa Japan also referred to as Shōwa nationalism or Japanese fascism, was a union of Japanese right-wing political ideologies, developed over a period of time from the Meiji Restoration. It was a mixture of ideas such as Japanese nationalism and militarism and “state capitalism” that was proposed by a number of contemporary political philosophers and thinkers in Japan. This statist movement dominated Japanese politics during the first part of the Shōwa period, during the reign of Hirohito.

Hideki Tōjō (December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II. Politically, Tōjō was a fascist, nationalist, and militarist. He had a sharp, legalistic mind capable of making quick decisions, and was nicknamed “Razor”.

Even before he became the Prime Minister of Japan, Hideki Tōjō had planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. When he assumed office on October 17, 1941, he put his plan into effect and attacked Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941, and thereby initiated the war between Japan and the United States.

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The Non-static Currency – a Lesson in Economics.


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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One day a foreign tourist came to the only hotel situated on the main street in a small town in India. On seeing the hotel manager the tourist pulled out a 2000 rupee note from his wallet, placed it on the counter and then went upstairs to inspect the rooms.

The hotel owner took the 2000 rupee note and rushed out to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher then hurried to pay the poultry wholesale dealer.

The poultry wholesale dealer then ran to pay the feed supplier.

The feed supplier sped to pay the prostitute, who lived on the main street, to pay her for servicing him on credit.

The prostitute then hastened to the hotel to pay off her debt to the hotel owner for the rooms she rented for carrying on her business.

The tourist came downstairs and said he did not like any of the rooms.

The hotel owner then placed the 2000 rupee note back on the counter. The tourist took back his money and left the hotel.

Lesson: This is business today. No one earned anything. Now clear of any debt, everyone is happy, optimistic, and look forward to doing more business in the future with each other.

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself?


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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This reading is from Gospel of Mark 12:28-34.

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?

Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’

And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”l

And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions

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All the established religions of the world concur in one axiom, namely, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

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In Hinduism

The Hindus, followers of the oldest of the religions now being practised, believe that one’s own Self or Soul is really identical with the Self or Soul of all other creatures. Hence one who injures another injures oneself. In the Hindu Vedas, “Love your neighbour as yourself'” is an inherent precept of unity with the absolute self, ‘That art thou’ (tat tvam asi). So, it follows that because one loves oneself, one is bound to love one’s neighbour, who is not different from oneself”

“This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” (Mahabharata 5,1517)

“One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.” (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8)

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In Judaism

For the devout Jew, all the commandments were to be kept with equal care, but there is evidence of preoccupation in Jewish sources with the question put to Jesus.

In Leviticus 19:15-18, we read:

You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your neighbour justly.

You shall not go about spreading slander among your people; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbour’s life is at stake. I am the LORD.

You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbour openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person.

Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.

It is a mitzvah (commandment) for every human to love each and everyone from Israel as he loves his own body (self). As it is written, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself“, therefore one must sing his neighbour’s praises, and show concern for his financial well-being, as he would for his own well-being and as he would for his own honour. Anyone who aggrandizes himself at the expense of another person has no portion in the world to come.

In the first century BC, Hillel (later known as Hillel the Elder) migrated to the Land of Israel from his birthplace Babylonia, to study Torah. He worked as a woodcutter and eventually became the most influential force in Jewish life. Hillel is said to have lived in great poverty. He was known for his humanitarianism. One of his most famous sayings, recorded in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers, a tractate of the Mishnah), is “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

The following source Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a is usually quoted to approve of Hillel’s indulgence of the gentile and the wisdom of this approach.

Shammai, a native of the Land of Israel was Hillel the Elder’s friendly adversary.  Little is known about him, except that he was a builder, known for the strictness of his views. He was reputed to be dour, quick-tempered and impatient.

One day a gentile came to Shammai and said to him: “Convert me (to Judaism) on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.”

Irked by the request of the gentile, Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding.

A few days later this same gentile went to Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it.”

Let us take Hillel’s words seriously and try to understand what he means.

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In Zoroastrianism

That nature is only good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self. (Dad istan-i-Dinik)

“Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.” (Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29)

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In Jainism

“A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.” (Sutrakritanga 1.11.33)

“One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated.” (Agamas Sutrakritanga 1.10.13)

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In Taoism

Regard your Neighbour’s gain as your own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss. (T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien)

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In Buddhism

“…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?” (Samyutta Nikaya v. 353)

“Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” (Udana-Varga 5:18)

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In Confucianism

“Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.” (Analects 12:2)

“Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.” (Mencius VII.A.4)

Tsekung asked, “Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?” Confucius replied, “It is the word shu–reciprocity: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.” (Analects 15.23)

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In Islam

“No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” (#13 of An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths)

I am reproducing here a part of the article “‘Love thy neighbour’ in Islam” written for the January 2008 issue of the London-based Faith Magazine. cf. http://www.faith.org.uk (See Related Articles at the bottom for the link to the full article).

  • Another point needs to be made. Whereas Christian doctrine prescribes loving thy neighbour like thyself, Muslim doctrine prescribes loving for one’s brother (an yuhibba  li-akhî-hi) what one loves for oneself. Here, Islam’s wording of the golden rule is not dictated by any of Arabic’s linguistic or syntactical rules but is instead intentional. It is not love thy neighbour, but love for thy neighbour [. . .].” The object of man’s love is again beyond mankind because it is of God. As the eminent medieval theologian al-Ghazâlî (d. 505/1111) wrote, only God is the One who deserves love; man’s love for himself leads directly to God since every man owes his existence to God.
  • But who is the one for whom we must love that which we love for ourselves? Another important collector of canonical sayings and deeds by and about the Prophet, al-Tirmidhî (d. 278/899), said that “if you love for those you love what you love for yourself, you are a Muslim.” One’s brother is also Muslim and, not unlike neo-testamentary writings, brotherhood is first of all linked to confession, this according to the writings of the Tradition. For many, the Muslim’s brother is a Muslim, the believer’s brother is the believer, everyone is a brother in God’s religion and in His Book, that is to say in the pact with the Messenger, and even a slave is a brother when he prays. The Qur’an itself says that “believers are naught else than brothers” (Qur’an, 49:10) and that “He made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace” (Qur’an, 3:102-103).

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In Sikhism

Treat others as thou wouldst be treated by thyself. (Adi Grandth)

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In Bahá’í Faith

Desire not for anyone the things that ye would not desire for yourselves. (Gleanings 66)

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Recently I read the following passage attributed to the American Shawnees Indians: “Do not kill or injure your neighbour, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbour, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself. But love him, for Moneto loves him also as he loves you.”

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There are many people
who will say they’re Christians
and they live like Christians on the Sabbath day

But come Monday morning, til the coming Sunday
They will fight their neighbor all along the way

{chorus}
Oh you don’t love God, if you don’t love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God

In the Holy Bible, in the Book of Matthew
Read the 18th chapter in the 21st verse
Jesus plainly tells us that we must have mercy
There’s a special warning in the 35th verse

Oh you don’t love God, if you don’t love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God

There’s a God almighty, and you’ve got to love him
if you want salvation and a home on high

If you say you love him while you hate your neighbor
then you don’t have religion, you just told a lie

Oh you don’t love God, if you don’t love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God

Oh you don’t love God, if you don’t love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God

then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God

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The Insidious Blue Whale Challenge (Game)


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The insidious online Blue Whale Challenge (Game) has changed the mindset of vulnerable teenagers and young adults in their formative years who aspire to be part of something bigger than what they could achieve. This fatal game with its origin in Russia exploits this weakness.

The Blue Whale Game began in Russia in 2013 with “F57”, one of the names of the so-called “death group” of the VKontakte, the largest European online social media and social networking site that offers services in several languages, and is very popular especially among those who speak Russian.

The game is also known by other names such as “Blue Whale Suicide,” “F57“, “A Silent House,” “A Sea Of Whales,” and “Wake Me Up At 4:20 am” and allegedly caused its first suicide on Christmas Day 2015 when 12-year-old Angelina Davydova, fell to her death from the 14th floor of a block in central Russia. She was a member of the user group called ‘Wake Me Up at 4.20 am‘ which had more than a quarter of a million subscribers before it was blocked.

In 2016, Blue Whale game came into broader use among Russian teenagers after a journalist brought attention to it through an article that linked many unrelated suicide victims to the Blue Whale game, creating a wave of moral panic in Russia.

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The Devil: Philipp Budeikin aka Philipp Lis (Fox)

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Philipp Budeikin aka Philipp Lis (Fox), an innocent looking 21-year-old young Russian Psychology student who was expelled from his university claimed that he invented this Internet suicide game in 2013 in which the player is given certain tasks to complete during a period of 50 days. Since then he polished his tactics of recruiting. Now, the final task leads the player to commit suicide.

Philipp and his aides at first attracted as many children as possible into the VK (social media) groups by using mega-scary videos. Then they chose those who would be the most affected by psychological manipulation. They knew that out of 20,000 people, their audience would be only 20 people or 0.1%.

The administrators of the death group referred to the children they pushed to commit suicide as ‘biological waste‘.

In July 2017, Philipp Budeikin was arrested and he pleaded guilty to “inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide”. This led to the Russian suicide prevention legislation and also rekindled worldwide concern over the Blue Whale suicide phenomenon.

After getting arrested the 21-year-old did not exhibit a single sign of remorse on his face. After confessing to the crimes in a statement to the police he said that he thinks his young female victims were ‘happy to die‘ and that he was ‘cleansing the society‘ by pushing to suicide those he considered as ‘biological waste‘.

While being held at Kresty jail in St Petersburg the inventor of this suicide-inducing ‘game’, received dozens of love letters from teenage girls.

He is not thought to be the only organiser and according to BBC understands more people are being looked for in connection with these so-called “death groups”.

On February 21, 2017, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a United States government-funded broadcasting organization that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, reported that people are finding curators by using the Russian-language hashtags of “blue whale,” “sea of whales,” “I’m in the game,” “Wake me at 4:20 am,” “F58,” along with many others and that there were 4,000 searches for the hashtags on January 20, 2017, alone.

The often seen flying whale is said to be a chosen symbol due to whales committing suicide by jumping out of the water and beaching themselves on land. It is said that the whales are going to freedom.

An RFE/RL correspondent after creating a fake profile for a 15-year-old girl on the popular Russian social media site VKontakte spoke to a so-called curator of the Blue Whale game.

RFE/RL correspondent: “I want to play the game.

Curator: “Are you sure? There is no way back.”

RFE/RL correspondent: “Yes. What does that mean — no way back?

Curator: “You can’t leave the game once you begin.

RFE/RL correspondent: “I’m ready.

Then the curator explained the rules.

You carry out each task diligently, and no one must know about it. When you finish a task, you send me a photo. And at the end of the game, you die. Are you ready?

RFE/RL correspondent: “And if I want to get out?

Curator: “I have all your information. They will come after you.”

Over the course of a week, RFE/RL claimed they managed to speak to over a dozen people who claimed to be either players or curators.

Here is the list of 50 challenges of the Blue Whale Game that force players to commit suicide.

1. Carve with a razor “F57” or “F58” on your hand, send a photo to the curator.

Note: An RFE/RL correspondent responded by sending a photoshopped picture to prove the completion of the task, and the communication with the curator ended.

2. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.

3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.

Note: Click on the link below to see a video about the task#3. The video contains graphic and disturbing scenes that may not be acceptable for all audiences. In this video, as strange music plays in the background an arm that appears with a presumably self-induced deep cut across the wrist. The hand moves forcing blood to leak from the wound.

http://thedailyhaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/f58.mp4?_=2

4. Draw a whale on a piece of paper, send a photo to the curator.

5. If you are ready to become a whale, carve YES on your leg. If not, cut yourself many times (punish yourself).

6. A task with a cipher.

7. Carve F40 on your hand, send a photo to the curator.

8. Type #i_am_whale in your VKontakte (a Russian social network) status.

9. You have to overcome your fear.

10. Wake up at 4 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)

11. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to the curator.

12. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.

13. Listen to music that curator sends you.

14. Cut your lip.

15. Poke your hand with a needle many times.

16. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick.

17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.

18. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge.

19. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it.

20. The curator checks if you are trustworthy.

21. Have a talk with a whale (with another blue game player) in Skype.

22. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling.

23. Another task with a cipher.

24. Secret task.

25. Have a meeting with a whale.

26. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it.

27. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and visit any railroad near you.

28. Don’t talk to anyone all day.

29. Make a vow that you are a whale

From 30th to 49th day wake up at 4:20 a.m., watch horror videos, listen to music that the curator sends you, make 1 cut on your body, talk to a whale.

50. Kill yourself by jump off a high building, or by hanging from a noose, or go under a train or swallowing negative side tablets. Take your whale.

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Oh, What a Name?


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike KCMG JP.

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Most Sinhalese names of the Ceylonese colonial-era are mouth-filling. Here is an interesting name:

Sir Solomon Dias Abeywickrema Jayatilleke Senewiratna Rajakumaruna Kadukeralu Bandaranaike

I wonder whether the bearer of this name would have recited his name without forgetting a single one, and in the correct order.

Sir Solomon Dias Abeywickrema Jayatilleke Senewiratna Rajakumaruna Kadukeralu BandaranaikeKCMG, Maha Mudaliyar, JP  (May 22, 1862 – July 31, 1946) was a Ceylonese colonial-era headman. Appointed as Head Mudaliyar and the aide-de-camp to the British Governor of Ceylon, he was one of the most powerful personalities in British colonial Ceylon.

In 1898, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, married Daisy Ezline Obeyesekere, daughter of Solomon Christoffel Obeyesekere, a member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon. His son, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, became the 4th Prime Minister of Ceylon after independence, and his granddaughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, became both Prime Minister and President of Sri Lanka. His grandson, Anura Bandaranaike, became Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.

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The Meat of the Land Monitor (thalagoya) Was a Yesteryear Delicacy in Ceylon!


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

Sri Lankan Land Monitor lizard (thalagoya)

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The monitor lizards are large lizards in the genus Varanus. They are native to Africa, Asia and Oceania. Currently, a total of 79 species has been recognized.

The Bengal monitor lizard, also known as the common Indian monitor lizard, is found in Asia and Africa.

The length of this large, mainly terrestrial lizard, can range from about 61 to 175 cm (24 inches to 69 inches) from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. While the adults mainly hunt on the ground preying on arthropods, small terrestrial vertebrates, ground birds, eggs and fish, the young monitors are more arboreal.

In Sri Lanka, there are two types of monitor lizards: (1) the Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) (Sinhala: kabaragoya-කබරගොයා; Tamil: kalawathan-களவத்தன்) and (2) the Land Monitor (Varanus bengalensis) (Sinhala: thalagoya-තලගොයා; Tamil: Udumbu-உடும்பு). While the former is shunned as poisonous, the latter is considered somewhat harmless.

It is widely said that Tanaji Malusare, a general in the army of the Maratha ruler Shivaji used the land monitors to scale the fort of Kondana in Pune, India because these lizards have a firm grip. In Tamil, ‘a firm grip’ is expressed as udumbu pidi (உடும்புப்பிடி).

In India, the skin of this lizard has traditionally been used in making the Kanjira, a South Indian classical percussion instrument. Now, however, the skin of the lizard is not in vogue owing to the increased awareness to the dwindling population of the lizard.

In Tamil Nadu and all other parts of South India, the monitor lizards are listed under the Protected Species Act.

The lizard evokes mixed responses from the people across the world. It is killed for sport in North Eastern India.

In Sri Lanka, the meat of the thalagoya is considered a delicacy.

Way back in 1947, when I was 6 years old, I was boarded at St. Gabriel’s School in Yatiyantota, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

In the evenings, we, about 40 boarders walked in two-by-two formation to the playground a kilometre or so away from the school.

On our way, when our seniors saw a thalagoya they immediately broke away from the queue and went after the thalagoya with stones and sticks which they picked up on the roadside.

After killing the thalagoya, two seniors would return to the boarding house kitchen carrying the carcass and hand it over to the chief cook. That night we had thalagoya curry.

It was an unwritten rule that the person who threw the fatal stone should be honoured. The cooked tongue of the thalagoya inserted into a hollowed out ripe banana was ceremoniously presented to the ‘killer’. It is believed that the tongue of the thalagoya is a cure for stammering and asthma.

While travelling to Trincomalee by bus, the drivers used to stop the vehicle at a roadside boutique cum eatery for lunch at Dambulla. The waiter after sizing up the people who sat at the tables would ask in hushed voice whether they would like to savour thalagoya curry. On three occasion I ordered the delicacy and it was not costly.

In 1974, my neighbours at Layards Broadway, Colombo -14, spotted a thalagoya in a vacant plot. It might have sneaked in from the Sebastian Canal that connects with the Kelani Ganga. After killing and skinning the reptile, they inquired whether my wife who was born and bred in Badulla and known as an excellent cook would cook it for them. My wife refused, saying she had never cooked thalagoya meat. That night around 11 pm one of the neighbours brought a dish of the thalagoya meat curry prepared by his wife. My wife and children were apprehensive and refused to eat it and with curiosity watched me eating the delicacy.

The following day one of my neighbours told me he had given the skin of the thalagoya to a maker of musical (percussion) drums.

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Love Your Husband Even If…


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Love your husband even if he criticises your cooking; he purely wants you to excel in the culinary arts!

Love your husband even if he tells you to make tea or coffee at odd times; he wants to feel fresh to listen to your nonstop nagging.

Love your husband even if he steals a glance at other women; it is his way of checking that you are still the best.

Love your husband even if he makes himself a nuisance by snoring at night; it proves that he is more relaxed after being married to you.

Love your husband even if he forgets your birthday and the necklace you were yearning for so long; remember, he is saving the money for your future.

Love your husband always, because you do not have any other choice; remember the oath you both took during your marriage ceremony, “to love and cherish” each other forever.

Love your husband always, because, Exodus 20:13 admonishes: “Thou shalt not kill”; anyway, even if you are not religious, murder is a still a legal offence.

And God said, “Call her Mother!”


My wife Assuntha – Mother of our 4 children and grandmother of our 6 grandchildren.

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A baby asked God, “If you are sending me to Earth tomorrow, how am I, being so small and helpless, going to live there?”

God said, “On Earth, your angel will take care of you.”

The child then said, “Here in Heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing, smile and be happy”.

God said, “On Earth, your angel will sing and smile for you and you will feel your angel’s love for you and you will be happy.”

And the child said, “But who will protect me?”

And God said, “Your angel will protect you even if it means risking its own life.”

Then the child said, “If I am to leave Heaven please tell me my angel’s name.”

And God said, “Call her Mother!”

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History of Mother’s Day – Part 2


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Mother’s Day in 1908

In Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis (1832 – 1905), a social activist, led a women’s group that celebrated an adaptation of Julia Ward Howe’s holiday. She and her daughter Anna Marie Jarvis (1864 – 1948), are now recognized as the founders of the Mother’s Day holiday in the United States.

Ann-Maria-Reeves-Jarvis
Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis

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Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis was born in Culpeper, Virginia, on September 30, 1832, to Rev.  Josiah Washington Reeves and his wife, Nancy Kemper Reeves. The family moved to Barbour County in present-day West Virginia when the Rev. Reeves got transferred to a Methodist church in Philippi. In 1850, Ann married Granville E. Jarvis, the son of a Philippi Baptist minister. Two years later, Granville and Ann Jarvis moved to nearby Webster in Taylor County.

In the 1850s, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis lost eight of her 11 children before they reached the age of seven due to poor health conditions in the area. With the help of her brother, Dr James E. Reeves, she organized “Mother’s Friendship Clubs” in Webster, Grafton, Fetterman, Pruntytown, and Philippi, to improve health and sanitary conditions.

Thousands of women learned nursing and proper sanitation. Among other services, the clubs raised money for medicine, hired women to work for families in which the mothers suffered from tuberculosis, and inspected bottled milk and food. In 1860, local doctors helped to form Mother’s Friendship Club in other towns.

During the American Civil War, this noble woman urged the Mother’s Friendship Clubs to declare their neutrality and give relief to both Union and Confederate soldiers. The Club members nursed and cared for soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

Following the end of the war, she called on her club members to help mend the wounds of the war by reuniting the Union and Confederate families who fought on opposing sides by holding a “Mother’s Friendship Day.”

The Andrews Methodist Church built at Grafton, West Virginia and dedicated in 1873 was built under her husband’s leadership. Ann Maria Jarvis’ life revolved around the church. She taught Sunday School at the church for more than 20 years. After her husband’s death in 1902, Ann moved to Philadelphia to live with her son Claude and daughters Anna and Lillian.

Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis died on May 9, 1905, in Bala Cynwyd, in southeastern Pennsylvania, bordering the western edge of Philadelphia.

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Anna Marie Jarvis
Anna Marie Jarvis

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After Ann Maria Reeves Reeves’ death, her daughter Anna Marie Jarvis, began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States to honour her mother’s wish that there be a day set aside to honour all mothers.

In 1908, Anna Marie petitioned the superintendent of the church where her mother had spent over 20 years teaching Sunday School to hold a memorial service to honour her mother who died three years before. Her request was accepted, and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day celebration took place at Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, and at a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event in Grafton drew a congregation of 407. Anna Jarvis had arranged for her mother’s favourite flower – white carnations. Two carnations were given to every mother in attendance.

At present times, people use white carnations to pay tribute to deceased mothers, and pink or red carnations to honour living mothers.

In 1912 West Virginia was the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day. 

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President Woodrow Wilson
President Woodrow Wilson

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On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, a friend of Anna Marie Jarvis, signed a Congressional Resolution setting the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to celebrate Mother’s Day.

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Portrait

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Soon, other countries too adopted Mother’s Day of Anna Marie Jarvis.

However, by the 1920s, Anna Marie Jarvis felt disappointed with the commercialization of Mother’s Day.

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← Previous:  History of Mother’s Day – Part 1

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of what comes to my mind.

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