Cover Photography © Narinder Nanunarinder / AFP | Amritsar, India

Around the World on Fridays (“I”)

In loving memory of Leonard Cohen (21.09.1934 – 07.11.2016). R.I.P.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

Today: Iceland | India | Indonesia | Iran | Iraq | Ireland | Israel | Italy

Cover Photography © Narinder Nanunarinder / AFP | Amritsar, India

 

ICELAND

Welcoming national football team after EURO 2016 / Viking clap

Did you know?

Iceland did it first in the world!

Iceland had the first democratically elected female president in the world (Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, appointed in 1980 and served for 16 years, which also makes her the longest-serving, democratically elected female head of state worldwide).

Iceland has first openly declared lesbian head of government (Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the first openly declared lesbian prime minister in the world. She was prime minister from 2009 to 2013 and was listed as one of the most powerful women in the world during that time.)

Iceland is the first nation with less than 350 thousand people to win a medal in a group sport at the Olympics or to qualify for the European Championship in football.

More …

 

INDIA

Photo © Adde Adesokan | Varanasi

Photo © Adde Adesokan | Varanasi

Did you know?

Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. Brace yourself. You’re about to enter one of the most blindingly colorful, unrelentingly chaotic and unapologetically indiscreet places on earth. Varanasi takes no prisoners. But if you’re ready for it, this may just turn out to be your favorite stop of all. Also known at various times in history as Kashi (City of Light) and Benares, this is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities and is regarded as one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death), making Varanasi the beating heart of the Hindu universe. (Lonely Planet)

 

INDONESIA

Photo © Darren Whiteside / Reuters | Indonesian Dancer

Photo © Darren Whiteside / Reuters | Indonesian Dancer

Did you know?

Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world by population. About 260 Million people are inhabiting the more than 17.000 islands of the archipelago. Indonesia is home to 300 different ethnic groups. The national motto Bhinekka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) thus refers to the variety in the country’s internal composition and also indicates that – despite all differences in its multicultural society – there is a true sense of unity (Indonesianness) among the people of Indonesia.

 

IRAN

Photo © Eric Lafforgue | Iran

Photo © Eric Lafforgue | Iran

Did you know?

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, religious dress codes have been enforced in the country – meaning women need to cover their hair, neck and arms in public. But when he travelled to the country, French photographer Eric Lafforgue found that this wasn’t stopping Iranian women pushing the boundaries to express themselves and look incredible. Read more here.

 

IRAQ

Photo © Marco Di Lauro | “Azeize”, Iraq

Photo © Marco Di Lauro | “Azeize”, Iraq

Did you know?

Baghdad celebrates and challenges in its own way the horror on its doorstep, the fanatics of the Islamic State. “Azeize”, which in Arabic in Iraq stand for “bad luck” is a play that was conceptualized by the artist collective “Studio Noqtah”. The play can host 75 visitors per show and is sold out every night. The director of the play Bassam al-Tayeb, 38-years-old has lived in Belgium since 2005 where he has been working as an actor and director, before coming back to Iraq in 2014. The seventeen actors who participate in the play have developed the play together in 2014 starting from discussions related to the problems they had working as actors in the Iraqi society. Read more here.

 

IRELAND

Photo © M. Spencer Green | The Sheila Tully School of Irish Dance

Photo © M. Spencer Green | The Sheila Tully School of Irish Dance

Did you know?

Ireland ranks in first place for international English Language students per head of population. In 2016, Ireland has once again been ranked in first place for international English language students in terms of the number of students coming to Ireland, per head of population. The figures are contained in a new report published by Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the association that represents 62 regulated English language schools and colleges nationwide.

 

ISRAEL

Photo © Simon Urwin | Pilgrims (River of Jordan)

Photo © Simon Urwin | Pilgrims (River of Jordan)

Did you know?

Leonard Cohen has long held a special place in the hearts of Israelis, thanks in large parts to his touching act of solidarity during one of their darkest moments. (Haaretz)

When the Yom Kippur War began, Aharon (Yalo) Shavit, the commander of the Etzion Airbase in Sinai, telephoned his close friend, the singer Oshik Levi. “You have to come here and perform,” Shavit told him. “This isn’t anything like what we know. It’s not like the Six-Day War at all. It’s something completely different.”

Levi did not hesitate. The next day he and his partner in the show, Mordechai Arnon, came to perform for the troops just before they entered the war.

At the same time, not far from the chaos in Israel, Leonard Cohen was in the midst of a performance tour on the island of Hydra in Greece. His wife Suzanne and his son Adam were with him. When Cohen heard on the news that the war had begun, he felt he had to drop everything and head for Israel from Athens to help in the national effort in any way he could. And so he did.

While quite a few of the soldiers didn’t know who Cohen was, others identified his songs and his voice, and were very touched that Cohen had come to Israel to be with them during those difficult times. For those who knew Cohen, his show was an extraordinary event. After all, it was not every day that they got to be present at a private, intimate performance just for them. It was a musical escape from hell. During one show, before Cohen sang “So Long, Marianne,” he told the soldiers: This song should be listened to at home, with a drink in one hand and your other arm around a woman you love. I hope you’ll have that soon. Full story here

Rest in Peace, Leonard Cohen …

 

ITALY

Photo © Steve McCurry | Italy

Photo © Steve McCurry | Italy

Did you know?

For Italians beauty is about revealing the true nature of things. What is beautiful or attractive is different in many cultures, not just in the sense that something is beautiful in some and ugly in others, but in the larger sense of the meaning of beauty. For Italians, beauty is about revealing the true nature of things. Something is beautiful if it makes manifest something that was hidden. Beauty is not about creating a fiction, but a clearer version of reality. For instance, according to tradition, when Michelangelo finished the Moses he said: «Perché non parli?», «Why don’t you speak?». (Gabriele Pellegrino on Quora)

 

Around the World on Fridays: A visual experience of people portraits and a curiosity glimpse into alphabetically selected countries for each post & regular updates in “A Country a Day” (*) on Madalina Dobraca People & Culture Boutique. For the love of humans everywhere!

(*) “A Country a Day” is a mini-project I started on the 4th of June 2016, aiming to alphabetically cover each country of the world through a daily photo-pictorial illustrating the unique and diverse personalities of the featured countries. Enjoy the variety and beauty of people and cultures every day!

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Around the World on Fridays (“A”)

Around the World on Fridays (“B”)

Around the World on Fridays (“C”)

Around the World on Fridays (“D”)

Around the World on Fridays (“E”)

Around the World on Fridays (“F”)

Around the World on Fridays (“G”)

Around the World on Fridays (“H”)

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