Tuesday, September 16

Today is Tuesday of WEEK 4 of the class. For those of you who are working ahead, Weeks 5 and 6 are also available! If you have not turned in your Week 3 Storybook assignment yet, you may still do that for partial credit.

Storybook Stack. I'm still working my way through the large stack of Storybook assignments that people have turned in. If you turned in an assignment on or before Sunday at 2PM, you should have comments back from me now. If you turned something in after 2PM on Sunday or on Monday, it is probably still in the stack, waiting for me to get to it. If you want to check and make sure your assignment is in the stack, you can see the contents of the stack here.

Week 4 Storybook: Introduction. For your Week 4 Storybook assignment, you will be writing the first draft of the Introduction, and then in Week 5 you will be revising the draft and publishing the Introduction online. A few students have already finished the Week 5 assignment and published their revised Introductions. Just to give you a sense of the creative freedom you can take with the Introduction take a look at these two great examples, which combine a very imaginative style while still giving you lots of background information about the topic: Ghost Stories of Japan and Escaping Maya's Traps. Also, I have to single out Bekah's amazing progress on her Storybook: The Jataka Tales Retold - she is a Visual Communication major (!), so she is taking a very original approach to the design of her Storybook, doing all her own artwork (it's gorgeous, as you will see) - and she is also well into developing her stories too; you can read her Introduction (it's in a more traditional style), and even read the first drafts of the four stories she will be developing over the course of the semester. Although you are not required to plan out all your future stories in such detail as Bekah has done, any planning and organizing of your project that you do now will make the rest of the semester all that much easier to manage. Way to go, Bekah!

September 16: Pitra-Paksha. Today marks the beginning of the Pitra-Paksha observance (also known as Mahalaya Paksha) in the Hindu calendar, a ritual period in honor of departed ancestors. Like many religious holidays (including Easter), this ritual period changes its date each year, depending on the lunar cycle, and the ritual period will culminate with the new moon two weeks from now. The rituals performed during this period belong to the respects owed to the ancestors, or Shraddha. If you are interested in learning more about the rituals for honoring the departed in Hinduism, you can read more about the practice of Shraddha in this personal account of a Hindu funeral. The image below shows the use of pinda (balls of rice) as a funeral offering: