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Etruscan Burial and Mourning
Funeral rites are some of the most conservative components of a culture. Because they change so slowly, we can learn much from looking at a society's funerals. Here, examine Etruscan tomb paintings to learn about their religious rituals, from which we can deduce much of their beliefs, cultural priorities, and…
American Death Rituals
In America, death rituals display a remarkable diversity and range from the minimalist to the extravagant. Chart the evolution of American funerals by looking at three major periods: the traditional (exemplified by Puritan burial rites), the modern (characterized by professionalization), and the post-modern (where loved ones play a more active…
Funeral Chants from the Georgian Caucasus
The villages of the Svaneti province are located in north-western Georgia, in the valleys that lie between the mountains of the Caucasus. The Svans represent about 1% of the Georgian population. Their language differs from the Georgian language, and their religion is a syncretism of Orthodox Christian faith and pre-Christian…
A Nation of Drunkards
Part of the Series: Prohibition
Americans have argued over alcohol for centuries. Since the early years of the American Republic, drinking has been at least as American as apple pie. As Episode 1: A Nation of Drunkards begins, clergymen, craftsmen and canal-diggers drink. So do the crowds of men who turn out for barn-raisings and…
Sermons and Sacred Pictures - Reverend L.O. Taylor, Baptist Minister
SERMONS AND SACRED PICTURES profiles Reverend L.O. Taylor, a Memphis-based Baptist minister who in the 1930s and 40s built a fiery reputation by lacing his sermons with parables, fables and dramatic visual descriptions. Taylor was also an inspired photographer and filmmaker with a keen interest in preserving a visual and…
Days the World Changed, Part 5
Part of the Series: Days the World Changed
'This series brings together some of the most significant events of the 21st century. Key moments that have changed our lives from the shocking tragedy of 9/11, to the cracking of the genome, to the launch of the iPod. This episode includes Oklahoma City Bombings, Dolly the Sheep Clone, Princess…
Horses of Life and Death
The Pasola, a traditional jousting battle with hundreds of horses and riders, is the Sumbanese New Year celebration, and also a ritual that anticipates the rice harvest. It is staged to welcome the annual swarming of sea worms on the western beaches, since the worms are seen as representing the…
Tender - An Alternative Model for End of Life Care
Set against the stunning backdrop of the industrial seaside town of Port Kembla, a feisty and resilient community group have determined to take back the responsibility that most of us leave to someone else - to care for their own dead. Scattered throughout are stories that cut to the core…
Mourning For Mangatopi
Because of work commitments and the influence of Christian Missions, traditional mourning ceremonies among the Tiwi people of Melville Island were becoming rare at the time of making this film (1974). The full, elaborate ceremony, called the Pukumani ceremony, lasted several days and involved large numbers of people in ritual…
Funeral Season
"We pray to our ancestors but we do not worship them. You, you need an intermediary, the priest. But for us, our intermediary is the ancestor who is sitting next to God," says Pounde, the old Cameroonian ethnologist, to the young Jewish director from Canada. And with this conclusive statement,…
Up Heartbreak Hill
PBS
Up Heartbreak Hill chronicles the lives of three Native American teenagers in Navajo, New Mexico-Thomas, an elite runner; Tamara, an academic superstar; and Gabby, an aspiring photographer-as they navigate their senior year at a reservation high school. As graduation nears, they must decide whether or not to stay in their…
Funeral Festivities
A Hugo Zemp Film. Among the Senufo people of northern Cote d'Ivoire, the balafon (xylophone with calabash resonators) is an emblematic musical instrument. This film shows balafon orchestras playing in five villages during the two principal days of funeral festivities, celebrations that include the most important rites, ceremonies and rejoicings…