Heather Jephcote


Heather Jephcote

Embarking on a year of travel-less exploring.

I will be filling my 2017 with different traditions and celebrations from around the world. Every day will be a mini-adventure into a new culture for me.

If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations for future celebrations, please let me know! message me here or tweet me @fighiggins

Africa » Central African Republic » North March 21st 2017

So.... I've fallen behind of late. I have been doing the odd celebration, but mostly because they are British or religious. I am in the process of catching up. So here is the rest of March (most of which were celebrated on time and I never got round to blogging). April has been a little bit hectic, but I'm catching up with them now. 21st - World Down Syndrome Day - Odd Socks - The idea behind the campaign is that people will ask why you are wearing odd socks and you can discuss Down Syndrome. I usually wear odd socks, so on this day I wore matching ones. One of my colleagues did comment and we had a lovely discussion. 22nd - Osatara (neo-paganism) - I put together a pagan altar. Candles, gem stones, incense, ... read more

Middle East » Iran March 20th 2017

10th - Lamu Yoga Festival, Kenya. A little light stretching before work. 11 - Dad's Brithday! Happy Birthday! 12th - Purim - Read the Book of Esther. 13th - Holi. Made gujiya - a sweet dumpling stuffed with nuts, dried fruit and cardamon seeds. 14th - π Day - 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971... is as far as I got. It's not that enjoyable but at least it's not repetitive. 15th - Argentinian Tango Conference - I watched some instructional videos and then I watched a narcoleptic Argentinian singing Police (Moulin Rouge). 16th - Gnaoula festival - listened to Moroccan jazz. 17th - St Patrick's Day - Guinness. 18th - Six nations - technically watched online on Sunday due to too much wine on Saturday... but I was still celebrating seeing a friend... so it counts as double? 19th - ... read more

It may sound like I';m celebrating a couple of things today, but no. This is Turks & Caicos' Wine Cellar Golf &Fishing Tournament. The 7th one, to be exact. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The Wine Cellar/Discount Liquors put on events to 'give back' to the community. Today event includes both a golf and a fishing tournament. To celebrate - I drank a bottle of wine and played golf with by umbrella and a soft rugby ball. I probably didn't win the seventh Wine Cellar's Golf and Fishing Tournament... but it was fun :) Today's Woman: Fanny Mendelssohn wrote a piece of music 118 years ago and it's finally been played under her name. Scholars and musicians described the sonata as 'masculine', 'violent' and 'ambitious'. "Easter Sonata" was ... read more

Oceania March 8th 2017

It's been a bit of a busy week! So I'll sum up quickly and try to be moire regular in future! 2nd March Yap Day in Micronesia. Celebrating the Yapese culture - culture, tattoos, cuisine, and scuba-diving. Tourists are encouraged to participate and learn about Yap culture, meet people and take photos. There are dance competitions, demonstrations of traditional crafts (canoe building, net making, grass skirt weaving, jewellery ). To clebrate I tried dancing the women's sitting down dance and the men's bamboo stick dance (with my trustly umbrella). 3rd March - Noche de Brujas - Night of the Witches. In Catemaco, Mexico, Shamen, witches and fortune tellers meet at an annual convention and read tarot and palms and buy cleansing spells, charms and healing potions. Indigenous beliefs mixed with medieval Spanish folklore and voodoo from ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales March 1st 2017

Happy Saint David's Day! Born in Caerfai, Wales, he founded a Celtic monastic comunity at Glyn Rhosyn (The Vale of Roses). He died on this day in 589AD, and since his canonisation in the 12th century, this feast day has been regularly celebrated. It is, disappointingly, not a public holiday, but almost was until it was struck down by the prime minister in 2007 *shakes fist* (true it woul would only have been a bank holiday in Wales, but still). In Wales, St David is celebrated with parades that celebrate Welsh heritage and culture. School children take part in eisteddfodau (Welsh culture concerts), given a half-day holiday, and wear traditional Welsh clothing.People eat cawl, bara brith tea loaf and Welsh rarebit. I bought some daffodils, the first time I've ever bought a bunch of flowers for ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England February 28th 2017

It's Shrove Tuesday, the only day of the year you can legitimately eat your weight in pancakes and not feel bad, because hey, it's lent tomorrow, when Christians fast or give up fatty foods for 40 days. Pancakes are the traditional way for believers (and nowadays, everyone) in many European countries to rid themselves (or shrive themselves) of temptation. Get rid of butter and eggs, have a little cake and prepare for Lent. In England there are 'mob football' games in towns like Alnwick, Ashbourne, Atherstone, St Columb Major and Sedgefield. Imagine a dividing a town in two and throwing a round ball into the middle and the only rule is to get the ball to your side of town... and no eye-gouging. Pancake tossing traditions have lived on and pancake tossing races occur in Olney, ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Grenada » Carriacou February 27th 2017

The Carriacou Carnival is currently taking place. Carriacou is one of the Grenadian Islands, and strangely a bastion of Shakespearean theatre... of sorts. Pierrot, or Shakespearean Mas, is a tradition celebrated on Shrove Tuesday (I know I'm a day early, but I've got pancakes to make tomorrow), as part of the carnival that stretches over a long weekend. The Mas is performed by wandering actors who walk around the island performing Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar and beating each other with sticks when they make a mistake It is a carryover from the plantation era, when slaves were forced to perform for their owners and were hit when they made any errors. One site descibes it as 'an annual opportunity to mock the mannerisms and cruelties of the past. To celebrate this strange carnival, I challenged my friends ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom February 26th 2017

Every year on the 26th February, the BHF (British Heart Foundation) has a 'National Wear Red Day' in order to raise awareness of heart disease in the UK... every year it is, except this year. And I only discovered this after wearing red today. And seen as I'm about to go to bed, damn it. This year's Wear Red Day will be 9th June... though I'm not sure why. But let's pretend it's 2016 and I'm raising awareness by wearing red on the correct day: There are more than 72,000 deaths in the UK caused by heart disease. 1 in 6 men and 1 in 10 women die from Coronary heart disease (CHD). Around 2.3 million people live with CHD, and arouhnd 2 million are affect by angina. Atherosclerosis (arteries being bunged up by fatty deposits) ... read more

Africa » Zambia » Chipata February 25th 2017

The first harvest of the year is celebrated by the Ngorni people in Eastern Zambia with the festival of Nc'wala. During the colonial period, Nc'wala was prohibited as it was seen as too warlike, but was soon revived after Zambia's independence. The Ngorni people, who descend from the ancient Zulu culture, gather at Mtenguleni village. A sacramental meal is offered to the chief, god and ancestors. There is poetry, drumming, theatre and war dances. The chief tastes the fruits whilst women sing his, gods and the ancestors praises. The chief blesses the fruit and then drinks the blood of a black bull that is speared. The chief then makes his way over a 60 miles back to his palace in a slow motorcade (in the past it would be a walk over a couple of days). ... read more

Asia » India » Uttarakhand » Kedarnath February 24th 2017

Hindus celebrate Shivratris every month on the day before the new moon. Mahashivratri is the most spiritual of these because of a natural peak in energy on the day that falls in February/March. It is especially significant for those on a spiritual path or journey or who have particular ambitions. Mahashivratri, 'the Great Night of Shiva' is a solemn festival of remembrance, observing 'overcoming darkness and ignorance' in the world. We should be so lucky. It is observed with chanting, prayers, fasting, yoga and meditating, among other things. Devotees keep awake all night, visit one of the Shiva temples or go on a pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. As has been previously stated, I am not a good meditator. So I tried some yoga and like single ladies across India I prayer for a husband like Shiva (described ... read more

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