Thursday, July 30, 2015

Songkran Festival

In Thailand they celebrate the new year, or the Songkran Festival (here in LEGO by Jared Chan), from April 13-15. Traditions include spending time with your parents, grandparents, and other elders; throwing out what is old to look forward to the new; sprinkling with water in a form of ritual purification; and a tradition called 'bathing the Buddha'. A statue of the Buddha is brought through the streets and splashed with water, again a symbol of cleansing the soul of inner impurity. This tradition of splashing with water has evolved into a party-like atmosphere, with people taking to the streets with buckets, hoses, and super-soaker water guns in a city-wide water-fight, as shown in Jared's MOC.

The structure in this MOC is also of note. Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is one of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Bangkok. The temple, a little over a hundred years old, houses a statue of the Buddha known as Phra Buddhajinaraja in the inner hall, other statues of the Buddha found throughout the structure, and the remains of King Chulalongkorn, who reigned in Thailand from 1868-1910 and is the one who ordered the temple's construction. Today the temple is a symbol of the nation, a popular destination for tourists and is depicted on a Thai coin.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Our Lady of Lourdes

Freelug, a French LEGO group, is holding a contest for the Tour de France to build sites from around France. Seb Toutouille built the Vierge de Lourdes (Virgin of Lourdes). In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous saw a series of visions of the Virgin Mary. The shrine at Lourdes has been a site of pilgrimages, and the waters of the spring are said to perform miraculous healings. This LEGO rendition is of a statue of the Virgin that is seen now in the shallow cave where Saint Bernadette saw the vision.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Eid Mubarak

Today (or tomorrow, depending on where you are) is Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadam. Ramadam is a month-long observance of the revelation of the Quran, a time that Muslims around the world mark with prayers, study of the Quran, fasting, and charity. The month ends with more prayers and a general celebration today. These LEGO renditions come from Mezba Mahtab's site Teaching Kids the Holy Quran that illustrates scenes from the Muslim scriptures.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Duomo di Milano

The Duomo di Milano (built here in LEGO by Bright Bricks for Nano Bleu Toys in Milan) was begun in 1386 and completed just in 1965. This cathedral is the fifth largest church in the world and the largest in Italy (though remember that the Vatican is a separate country - St Peters is the largest Christian church in the world), and I can testify that it is massive. I was there once and the columns reminded me most of the giant sequoia trees at Yosemite National Park. This model is built at a 1:200 scale and took the builders much less than the six centuries of the original, just an amazing ten days(!).