Human Flower Project

Religious Rituals

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wendish Roses

Wendish heritage is strong on noodles, Lutheranism, coffee cake, and roses.


Window of the Luther Rose: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Serbin, TX

Photo: Human Flower Project

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in tiny Serbin, Texas, looks severe as a whitewashed Amish barn, but inside it shines likes a sapphire. The sanctuary really glowed Sunday with two services, part of the town’s celebration of its Wendish heritage.

Pastor Robert L. Hartfield had come all the way from Pennsylvania to preach the German sermon. He remembered the faith and courage of Johann Killian, another Lutheran minister, who led a group from near the Spree River through to Liverpool, Ireland, and on to Texas in 1854. The Wends, a Slavic people from the northeastern part of today’s German nation, risked their lives to sail away for many reasons, primarily so they could go on practicing their hard line Lutheranism after the German state required all churches to come into one more moderate Protestant union.

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Posted by Julie on 09/26 at 02:09 PM
CookingCulture & SocietyReligious RitualsPermalink

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bon Pka Prap in Lieu of a Car Wash

A Cambodian tradition makes the act of cash collection decorous and beautiful.


Floral and cash arrangements, a Khmer charitable custom

Wat Khmer Metta, Chicago, Illinois

Photo: Vanna So

As a fund raiser, it sure beats a car wash or bake sale.

Till today, we’d never heard of Bon Pka Prak, the Cambodian money flower ceremony. Many thanks to Cindy Liese of the Elyria, Ohio, Chronicle for her announcement:

“A community of Buddhists celebrated the opening of a new temple on the city’s north side with food, music, meditation and the joyous ‘Money Flower’ procession Saturday night.” Liese reports, “Families carried offerings of money in flower arrangements as they circled the temple, which is decorated with colorful panels depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha.”

The event at the Watt Buddhavacanarama in Elyria seems to have been part grand opening, part every-member-canvass, and a human flower project, too. From what we’ve been able to learn this afternoon, the Bon Pka Prak is a floral custom that people of Khmer heritage—Cambodian Buddhists, in particular—often observe when money needs to be raised for a good cause.

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Posted by Julie on 08/28 at 09:42 PM
Culture & SocietyReligious RitualsSecular CustomsPermalink

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Assumption’s Blessed Produce

The Feast Day marking the Virgin Mary’s arrival in Heaven also blesses the fruits and flowers of late summer—at least in the lands where plants survive August.

Late in the day we found this notice from Saint Mary’s church Pittston, Pennsylvania.

“Masses for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary will take place Monday, Aug. 15 at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 715 Hawthorne St., and noon at SS. Peter and Paul’s Church, 1000 Main St. The public is invited to bring flowers, vegetables, and herbs to be blessed at all of the feast day masses.”

We’d realized this was the Feast of the Assumption (also, in these parts, the polka mass of Praha Pout) but hadn’t realized that so many Catholic and Orthodox parishes observe this custom of blessing vegetables, herbs and flowers on the day Mary is believed to have entered heaven.

Understandably, this wouldn’t be a strong custom in Central Texas; mid-August is hardly “harvest time.” On the contrary, this is our deadly season, especially so this year as the historic drought extends.


Blessing of the Flowers, at the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate’s 54th Annual Holy Dormition Pilgrimage, Sloatsburg, NY, August 2008

Photo: The Way

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Posted by Julie on 08/15 at 09:41 PM
Religious RitualsPermalink

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wedding Belles, Wedding Beaux

Let love lead—and legally.


Luz Heurtelou (left) and Nastassia Heurtelou waited to be married at the Brooklyn Clerk’s Office, July 24. New York’s Marriage Equality Act took effect Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Sunday’s not ordinarily a big day for weddings, but July 24, 2011 was a resounding exception. New York state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriages went into effect at midnight and the vowing, kissing, and flower wearing haven’t let up since.

On Monday, a mass wedding in Niagara Falls saw 46 same-sex couples exchange vows, and 100 more couples were expected to marry en masse at Bethpage State Park on Long Island on Tuesday.”

Congratulations and best wishes for wedded happiness to all, gay and lesbian and straight, bold enough to jump the broom.

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Posted by Julie on 07/25 at 04:57 PM
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