28th August

1963 Martin Luther King gives his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Onam (2015): Harvest festival, Kerala, India. The mythical king Mahabali visits from the underworld.

Vamana, an avatar of Vishnu (the creator/destroyer), is also celebrated.

The Pookalam (flower carpet) is made over several days, starting yellow and adding a new couple of colours every day.

A little pandal is hung over it, and two earthern square pyramids representing Mahabali and Vamana either side, also decorated with flowers.

They have an onam sadya, or feast, of up to 15 curries served on plaintain leaves.

There is lots of dancing, like the Kummattikali, a colorful-mask dance, sometimes around a procession of elephants.

The Kathakali dance re-enacts legends.

Pulikali, or Kaduvakali, has dancers painted like tigers.

There’s a Vallamkali, or snake boat race.

People buy new clothes and put rice flour batter on their doors as a welcome sign.

Ghost Festival (China, 2015)

The Hungry Ghost Month began at the start of the lunar calendar month – in 2015 it began on 14 August. On that day all the ghosts were let out of the underworld to wander the land of the living. People venerate their ancestors by putting their photos out with food and incense. There are lots of taboos to avoid the ghosts bothering you.

At the festival they have another bout of feeding the ghosts, as they must be very hungry after wandering for two weeks.


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