Christmas is coming; we hereby officially claim the first Christmas-related post of 2006.
“Holy Santa, Batman!”
We’re visiting the Museum of World Religions tomorrow, a famous museum in Yonghe for the promotion of
Buddhism pluralism mutual respect and acceptance among religions. Check out the website; it’s really flashy. The real action is on the Chinese version, but there’s still a big English site.
The museum’s website profiles the major world religions by mythology, ritual, pilgrimage, history, and figure. Personally, I think it’s too artificial to apply the same grid to every religion because it forces them all into an artificial shape that will be more or less appropriate depending on the religion. But it’ll be interesting to learn about Eastern religions from people that practice them, and hear their perspective of Christianity, the ‘Western’ religion.
Speaking of which, go here and select “Religions” (on the left) : “Christianity” (top right) : and “Mythology” (in the middle). Christian mythology – I was expecting maybe something on the Genesis creation accounts, the Exodus, or maybe the Incarnation, Resurrection, or Judgment Day. What do we get instead? Go see for yourself, or
Santa Claus ~
The legend of Santa Claus originated from the story of Odin, a god of wisdom, art, poetry and war in Scandinavian mythology of several thousand years ago. Every winter, Odin would ride his galloping eight-foot steed around the world, punishing the evil and honoring the good, and also giving gifts to his people. His son Thor, the god of thunder, wears a red outfit. He uses his thunderbolt as a weapon to defeat the multitude of gods in the dark, icy land and conquer the freezing cold.
Santa Claus is said to be a descendant of Odin. Because these stories all champion a Christian spirit, Santa Claus stays in people’s minds long after the sources and details of these stories were forgotten. In the descriptions of later writers and artists, Santa Claus appears as a lovable old grandpa with a long white beard, wearing his familiar red outfit.
I’m not questioning their intelligence, but I would like to ask, “What the heck kind of message is Western culture communicating???” And if you’re going to do historical research on Santa, there should at least be something about Saint Nicholas.
Chinese Firefox plugin
This is great – I just found it. When you mouseover any Chinese characters, like the ones in our sidebars, it instantly gives a translation. And there’s a bunch of other features I haven’t tried yet. All you have to do is go here and install the plugin. Then right click on a page and select “Toggle Chinesepera_kun.”
But you have to be using Firefox, which has been giving me a faster, ad-free internet for months now.