Posted by: danielfee | April 27, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture 04-27-2013

 pago a la tierra

Pago a la tierra ceremony – Peru

Pago a la tierra or “payment to the earth” is a ritual offering prepared by a Peruvian Altomisayoc (a shaman) in the Andean religion who perfects his knowledge over years and receives power from lightning and interprets dreams as revelations from Apus. The offering package contains sugar, candy and dozens of other items that are laid out with clusters of three coca leaves and huayruro seeds. The package is wrapped, sprinkled with wine and alcohol and, accompanied by prayers and invocations, then burned in a special place to ensure good health. On our first full day of hiking in the Andes Mountains, we were accompanied by two brothers, one of whom was the Altomisayoc for the local village. He performed the offering ritual to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) when we reached the glacial lake.

Chena Indian Village Fairbanks, Alaska.

Chena Indian Village – Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Chena Indian Village is located along the banks of the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska. The Indians who came to Alaska represent two general groupings: the Tlingit and Haida, who live in Southeast Alaska, and the Athabascans, who inhabit interior Alaska. This is the place to learn about Athabascan culture which is central to an understanding of many of the characteristics shared by the inhabitants of the interior.  Clothing for the Athabascans was tailored of tanned caribou or moose hide and decorated with quills, pieces of fur or trade beads. Their clothes were more than just a covering to protect them from the elements; they were also beautiful works of art. This young lady is modeling an authentic Yupik fur parka.

Matariki Hangi and Concert - Rotorua, New Zealand

Matariki Hangi and Concert – Rotorua, New Zealand

Matariki is the Maori name for the small cluster of stars that can be seen low on New Zealand’s north-eastern horizon just before dawn in the last days of May or in early June. The first appearance of these stars, which are also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, heralds the beginning of Maori New Year celebrations. Rotorua is a town which is rich in the Maori culture and there you can experience the legend of the Maori people by attending a hangi (Maori food) and concert which they call a Matariki (party). Prior to the show you can see the chef’s lifting of the hangi, the traditionally steamed cooked food prepared in the hangi pit, which will be served during the show. Just walking around town we saw the locals still cooking their dinner in the traditional hangi method by placing their food into a wire basket and lowering it into a pit that cooks the food by the geothermal activity (steam) generated in the pit. At the concert they will discuss the legends of the local Maori people, sing the traditional Maori songs, and perform the haka, poi dance, stick games and the famous story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

Sichuan Opera - Chendu , China

Sichuan Opera – Chengdu , China

Wenshu Buddhist Temple

Wenshu Buddhist Temple

Yangtze River-Ship 018

Yangtze River-Ship 059

Traditional costumes and dance

Traditional costumes and dance

China is such an old, large and varied country, it seems that everywhere you turn you encounter Chinese culture. The group of photos above are a small sample.

The Sichuan Opera is a type of Chinese opera originating in the Sichuan province around 1700. Today’s Sichuan opera is a relatively recent synthesis of 5 historic melodic styles that were initially 5 distinct opera styles. So today’s opera is more of a variety show, where you see singers, marionette performer, handpuppet performer, with the finale a face changing performer which first appeared during the reign of Emperor Qianlong 1736-1795 in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).

The Wenshu Temple, located in the northern section of Chengdu, is a Buddhist monastery which dates back to the Tang dynasty. It is Chengdu’s largest and best-preserved Buddhist temple. Originally known as Xinxiang Temple, it was renamed after a Buddhist monk who lived there in the late 17th century. The monastery’s Sutra-Preservation Pavilion holds an abundance of history and art. It includes everything from famous handwriting exhibits to paintings and artwork. The ritual of bathing the Buddha is conducted every year on Buddha’s birthday. This practice has been inherited from the Buddha times and is still observed by Buddhist around the world.

On our Yangtze River cruise, the staff preformed a show that demonstrated the fashion and dance of various regional cultures and periods from Chinese history.  I didn’t take notes so I am not able to provide more detail on each photo.

Temple Bar - Dublin, Ireland

Temple Bar – Dublin, Ireland

I was searching for a photo that represented Irish culture and, even though Irish drinking is a stereotype today, there are many references to food and drink in early Irish literature. Of course the pubs have always been places for traditional Irish folk music and dance so the Temple Bar seemed to represent a blend of various Irish cultures.



  1. WOW! Is there anywhere you HAVEN’T been?!? Beautiful!

    • Yes, there are some places we haven’t been. But we have been to 44 countries, so far. That still leaves a lot of places to visit.

  2. beautiful shots – so colorful and indicative of so many cultures. Well done!

    • Thanks, I am glad you liked it.

  3. Lovely and informative review of a culture of which many may not be aware =)

    • Thanks, that is the great part about traveling.

  4. Great hats!

  5. Wonderful photos.

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