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Published 5/11/18

The Day of the Dead

                        By Lily Date

It’s November first. Children are running on the street, their feet pitter-pattering with the beat of the mariachi band. The aroma of Pan De Muertos, or Day of the Dead bread, mixes with the powerful smell of the marigolds lining the street. Although you may not find this scene common, it is actually what a typical Day of the Dead day would look, smell, and sound like. The foods, and decorations of homes and the cemeteries for this special day are important in bringing back the souls of dead relatives, and every year, millions take part in preparing for the event.

    No matter where it is, food always plays an important part of Day of the Dead. One very important food is pan de muertos, or day of the dead bread. This bread is typically made with flour, sugar, milk, butter, water, and eggs, as well as any additional ingredients. It is shaped like a body with no head to represent deceased children. The breads are usually placed on the graves of dead relatives, but many people also enjoy eating them. Children also take part in preparing for the festivities by making sugar skulls. These miniature skulls are made out of sugar cubes and decorated with colorful icing. Many times, letters spelling out a dead relative's name is written in this icing, though faces and patterns are common too. When people build altars and arches, they will usually put a family member's favorite foods and drinks on them too, along with the bread and skulls. These things can also go in graveyards with the dead relatives, where people usually head next.

    While on a normal day the cemetery is dark, cold, foggy, and over all avoided, on Day of the Dead, it is like a festival, complete with music, candles, and decorations. One decoration that is used is flowers. Marigolds, cockscomb, and orchids are flowers that represent Day of the Dead and are normally used in arches, on graves, or in someone's hair or clothing. For arches, they are placed in an arched frame. Once all the flowers are put in, foods and drinks are added to bring back the spirits. The graves of dead relatives can also be decorated. The graves are cleaned of any dirt, and then flowers are placed on top. Sometimes people will also bring pictures, games, and other things the relative may have loved. Another decoration is candles. Many candles are placed in the cemetery on Day of the Dead. These scented candles are supposed to bring back the souls of the dead. There is usually one for each deceased family member and extras for for forgotten souls. Many other things are used as decorations. Some people will make skeletons out of perforated paper and hang them in the streets. Mariachi bands can play music, too. However, cemeteries aren't the only places that are decorated. A lot of time is spent making preparations at home too.


At home, people spend time dressing up and putting the final touches on their altars. Every year, a deceased family member is honoured with an altar. The altar is on a table and can have a picture of the person, things they liked, flowers, food, and drinks. These altars are believed to bring the spirit home. Families will also make lists of deceased family members. The list can be on paper, but some people can memorize the lists and recite them on command! Honouring the dead isn't just done at home. Parades will  also take place. In order to prepare for the parades, people will dress up as skeletons or in colorful dresses. They also paint their faces to look like a skeleton. One way people do this is to paint half their face as a skeleton, and keep the other clean to represent both the living and dead.

    Every year, people bake, paint, gather flowers, decorate, and write the names of relatives on paper. It can take a long time and is very thorough. However, it pays off with the delicious foods, fun parades, and interesting stories about relatives, and every year, people are glad to do it again.

Published on 10/11/17

Trail of Tears

Abby Roth


Dance, repeat dance, Ankti, repeat your dance.

Little did I know that was my last chance.

The whites came to our house with guns, playing no games,

And that was the last day I lived out my name.

We were taken because of an Act by the Americans,

Now known to us because of their arrogance.

Their law said we were living on their land,

And from then forward, we would be banned.

But this was not the whole truth, it was their President.

He didn’t care about the court’s ruling or the laws that he bent.

We have been walking on the Trail ever since,

All because of the American Democratic Prince.

Our leader, who held my hand, was behind the white men,

Who would, time and time again,

Fire their guns up in the air,

And the birds around here didn’t seem to care,

Unlike the birds back home, who would fly away with fear.

Now I wish I was a bird that could fly out of here.


Step. Step. Trip. Get back on my feet.

Don’t stop, don’t die, and don’t forget to eat.

“Keep walking, keep going, my little girl.

I promise you will make it to this new world.”

I held my leader’s hand, afraid for my life,

I haven’t let go since the day he buried his wife.

“But Ahiga, my feet are hurt and dirty,

And when I look up from the trail, it’s all blurry.”

He still smiles when his people, the Creeks, come to us,

And once they stop helping me in a fuss,

They say, “Ahiga, Ahiga, leader who fights,

Why won’t you do so in these blackest of nights?”

He still smiles and holds my nine year old hand,

Then quietly, whispers to his dying clan,

“I will not fight what I can not change,

And that is the mind of these white and strange.”


I don’t know how long we have walked,

But not for a second has one soldier talked.

I don’t know how many days of walking are left,

But we are all on our last breaths.

Ankti, our youngest and weakest of all,

Died and was buried, where Ahiga would quickly scrawl:

“Ankti, repeat your dance for those who cross your way,

And after some time, you might see me, and we will dance that day.”

He hasn’t spoken since, all the days have been dull.

Soon, with the feeling of our feet, we will lose our minds to null.

Published on 3/29/17

Letter to the US President Mr. Obama
Written by a Teacher in India
Perfect believe in your policy

is the great.

Reflective knowledge in your mind

is the best.

Electiveness method in your thought

                                   is the vest

Specific thought in your power

                                   is the purest

Interior wise for children

is the heartiest

Developing method in science

                                   Is your creation

Encouraging nature to the earth

                                   Is the merriest

Negotiating dialogue with India

is the honest

Tolerance capacity for the world

                                   Is the great.

From these angles

           We are proud of your sir.

We don’t invite you as a person

           Nor we don’t invite your post

           Nor we don’t invite your name.

But, we invite you for your loving and blessing for India.

           Thanks a lot sir,

                       Come to us again and again……..

Durga  Prasad Mishra.

The tgt Sanskrit of kendriya vidyalaya,

Berhampur-4, ganjam, Odisha, India.

Mobile no.919090044577.


Published on 6/24/2014


             The Art of Henna

Henna is a plant that is used to decorate hands and works like a medicine as well. The art of henna can also be referred to as mehendi, as Indians say. Henna has not only been practiced in India, but also in Pakistan and Africa.This dye is also used in the United States of America, as the Americans calls it “tattoo.” Mehendi is not a permanent tattoo. If it is well cared for and decorated, then it will last for about 1-3 weeks. The paste will last longer if people take good care after it. For example, when the paste is on your hand, don’t move around a lot, put lemon juice on it, or sugar juice for more richness in color. The hard work of henna will surely pay off.

Henna has been practiced for 5,000 years in all different places of the world. Henna began because it cooled down the body, so people put henna on their hands to cool them down from problems or stress. Today, henna comes in cones that can be cut; the thick paste comes out which can be used to decorate hands. Since lower income families couldn’t afford jewelry to decorate their bodies, they used henna instead to make themselves look beautiful.

    Today all over the world, people adapt to other traditions. One of the famous ones is henna. Celebrities like Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Yasmine Bleeth, Liv Tyler, and Xena all put henna on their hands and showed them to the public. People in the west also did it during pregnancy for a good-looking baby. Henna is used if someone is undergoing chemotherapy, so their lack of hair is not noticeable.  Henna is worldwide famous, and it has many useful purposes.

Henna, the Plant

    Henna’s scientific name is Lawsonia Inermis. The plant is a shrub that usually grows about 12 feet tall. It is found in really hot and humid climates, such as Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Morocco. It can stand at 120 degrees fahrenheit, but it will fall apart at 50 degrees fahrenheit. It grows best in dry and damp soil. The size of the leaves varies, but they are usually 2-4 centimeters. Each flower has a special smell, but they are all 5 meters in diameter. The fruit itself in the plant is very dry, but the seeds are 12.5mm. The henna plant contains lawsone, which is a reddish-orange dye that binds to the keratin, a type of protein in our skin, and safely and carefully stains the skin.  The stain color can go from orange to black, depending on the quality of the henna when someone’s skin takes it.  

The best henna is from the hottest and driest climate, which will dye the richest and the darkest colored skin. For body decorations, the leaves of the henna plant are dried in the sun, crushed into powder, and made into a creamy thick paste.  The paste then is applied to the skin, but only stains the first layer of the skin. It will naturally dye the skin orange or a brownish color.  Although it looks dark green when applied on hands, this green paste will freeze and show its orange stain.  The stain becomes a reddish-brown color after 1-3 days.  The palms and the soles of the feet stain the darkest because the skin is the thickest in these areas and contains the most protein in our body.  The farther away from hands and feet the henna is applied, the less the color. The designs usually last from 1-4 weeks on the skin surface depending on the henna type, care, and skin type. There are also side effects of henna. Never use black henna; it contains PDD which is chemically very dangerous and harmful for your skin!!!!  Black henna is basically tar/coal that is getting dyed in your hands.

Henna Acting like Medicine

    Henna is considered an herb and can heal many things. It is usually not ingested or inhaled because of certain chemicals. In ancient times, it was applied to the skin to

reduce headaches, stomach pains, burns, sunburns, open wounds, as a fever reducer, athlete's foot and to prevent hair loss. It is also a sunblock to put on the noses of animals to prevent sunburn.  The paste also acted like an insect removal powder, which killed many harmful insects.

“My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story”. ~ Shag-Fu

Shivani Padhi



Published on 12/9/13

Middle Ages
                                                  By Shivani Padhi
“BANG” went the cannon as the armies shot their bombs! During the Middle Ages, many started due to the territory of lands and fighting between the kings. In The Hundred year’s war, weaponry was a big part; the English had longbows that travelled far compared to the French crossbows, which barely travelled any distance. In the feudal system, knights were only taught to fight in small battlefields. The Hundred Year’s War was a huge war and needed a professional army. In the battle, the English had more of an advantage than the French, due to weapons such as the longbows and the cannons. Cannons were a major success because they could destroy land. They ruined crops, manor houses, and castles. This led to the decline of feudalism because people went hungry and died. Also these weapons killed important people, such as the king. If the king died, everyone that worked under was free to go. Finally, the English had more of an advantage as the French wore heavy armor, which made them slow and hard to move, and gave the English a boost in the war.

Feudalism was based on political power shifting. The peasants in the feudal system always looked up to their lords as their leaders and obeyed them. During the war, the king was the main leader of all the people, including peasants. This led to the decline of feudalism since the peasants didn’t agree to obey the king. Also peasants weren’t used to the king in their daily lives. Another reason that power shifting led to the decline of feudalism was the Black Death. During the middle Ages, a large number of people became sick due to the bubonic plague. The Black Death had a very high chance to kill the king which created a power shift and make a chaotic scene. Power also shifted when there was a lack of servants; fewer crops and servants demanded more wages since there were more need for them. The peasants gaining more power led to the decline of feudalism. No one would listen to them because they were the low and working class people. At last, lack of servants meant slow trade because the food was processed slower, and the feudal structure didn’t receive any goods from other countries. Power shifting turned the feudal system upside down, and eventually broke it.

Growth of medieval towns was a big event that led to the decline of feudalism. This was because when population grew, it spread diseases faster, like the Bubonic Plague. This led to the decline of feudalism because there were be less people to work, for example herders for sheep and cattle and peasants for crops. Growth of medieval towns caused the peasants to leave manor houses since their wage was really low. Instead the peasants went to the town to get better jobs and better wages too. Another reason was farmers found more improvements in agriculture and surplus of crops to sell in town markets. Towns growing led to more merchants; more merchants led to better trade, which led to more money and wealthier towns. Towns becoming richer were able to pay better wages to peasants compared to manor houses. When peasants left their lords, there was no one to work on crops, and people become hungry and starved to death. As the towns grew, there was no need for a monarch anymore and towns became more independent when they signed the Magna Carta, a sign for independence The Great Charter led to the decline of feudalism because the towns were in chaos. It is clear that the growth of medieval towns was destined to break feudalism apart.

Feudalism was a delicate system and was unmaintainable, due to the Hundred Year’s war, Political power shifting, and the growth of medieval towns. Destroying important parts impacted the structure of feudalism and ruined it. The growth of medieval towns led to decline of feudalism because peasants left manor house, towns became richer, and the Magna Charta took over and eventually destroyed feudalism.
Published on 11/7/13


            “BANG BANG BANG!” Goes the firecrackers to signify the most recent Chinese celebration, Chinese New Year. As many may know, Chinese New Year is a large celebration held to celebrate the new lunar year and a new Chinese calendar, but the most important part of it all is being with family and the celebration itself. This year, the year of the snake, many improvements have been made to this ever-exciting holiday.

            During Chinese New Year, many traditions are held! These include setting off firecrackers, watching the Chinese New Year Festival Gala, and the very popular Chinese Red Envelopes. To begin the celebration, families always start a yearly cleaning process of getting ready for the big day with their extended families so everything is organized, sorted out, and prepared. After the actual work is finished, the fun begins. As one of the most exciting traditions, firecrackers and fireworks are set to signify joy and excitement over past tales and  past beliefs that they will scare away all evil spirits and misfortunes, and will prevent them from coming into the New Year or that the noise will wake up the dragon that will fly across the sky to bring the spring rain for the crops. This is why firecrackers are actually set before the dragon puppets during dragon dances which are used to represent prowess, nobility, and fortune. After the daytime festivities, families and friends gather to watch the CCTV Chinese New Year Gala which is a very popular Chinese New Year special produced by CCTV that can be compared to the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Time’s Square and has a yearly viewership of over 700 million viewers. With such a heavy popularity, this television event is impeccable and is said to be “the largest Asian talent show”. China’s most talented, well-known, and exciting entertainers gather on one night to make people laugh, be amazed, and bring memories back; throughout the night, many events are presented, ranging from magic shows, instrumental and singing performances, comedy and drama acts, and other miscellaneous things. Although the CCTV Chinese New Year Gala event is the spark of never-ending night for most grown-ups, the children of China all wait for one thing. The red envelopes. During the night, the elder relatives and friends give out little red pockets that are filled with money and encouragement for the future. On the red envelopes, different words and paintings are drawn to show different meanings of, “Happy New Year!”, “Good Luck”, or even “Get Rich!” On the night of the new lunar year, The food is eaten, envelopes are given, and TV is watched, but what is it all without family?

            Chinese New Year is one of the rare moments where many Chinese families gather together just to be with family and treasure their time with each other. Even now, families only gather on this one occasion due to plenty of inconveniences. Having just one week or even one day off to visit family and have a laugh together is one of the many reasons why the lunar new year is such an important event for Asian families. Even the popular CCTV Chinese New Year Gala understood the importance of being with family this year by producing a very touching commercial depicting a poor village family getting together with the famous saying of “回家” which means to go home to celebrate the new year. As an annual tradition, a big meal is held with family that consists of the most impressive display of an assortment of foods. As many non-Chinese people may guess, Chinese dumplings are a big part of a Chinese New Year meal; however, there are many different types of dumplings made for this occasion. Not only are dumplings prepared to be devoured, but many other dishes and desserts as well. The plentiful abundance of dishes consist of very different flavors, meats, and vegetables; but a must-have for a Chinese New Year dinner are dishes of fish, other meats, vegetables, and of course, rice. Even though many asian families are still in poverty, each dish and plate is filled with so much culture and flavor just for the family. Many people argue that the food for Chinese New Year is one of the best parts, and that also includes the desserts. rice cakes, nian gao, and tang yuan. (Mara Tu)



Bangladesh may be an unknown country, but their culture is very interesting.  In Bangladesh the common religion is Islam. As Bangladesh being my mother country,  I know how people enjoy celebrating Eid- Ul- Fitr and Eid - Ul - Adha.

The people of other religions like Hindu, Buddha and Christian enjoys the Islamic festival as well as their own. The other holidays Bangladesh celebrates are Independence day, International Language Day and the first day of Bengali year. The language they speak is Bengali. (It is hard to learn the language at first but after awhile it gets easy to learn it.) They fought for the right to speak their language.  If one travels to Bangladesh they will see that the women are wearing beautiful sari, colorful salwar kameez

and the men wear shirts, pants, fatua and pajamas.

The traditional songs of Bangladesh are Polli Geeti, Bhawaiya, Nazrul Geeti and Robindro Shongit. The national poet of Bangladesh is Kazi Nazrul Islam. The people are generally friendly, generous and likes to treat and greet others from their heart.

           The main thing the people eat in Bangladesh is rice and daal. They also eat cooked vegetables, fried and cooked fish that they get from The Bay Of  Bengal, lakes, rivers and ponds, fried and cooked chicken, cooked beef, cooked goat and cooked duck.

          Bangladesh has the world’s biggest mangrove forest you have ever seen in your life, the Sundarban

Creeping in the forest are 400 Royal Bengal Tigers

(which are Bangladesh’s national animal) chasing about 30,000 spotted deers. There also are many other different kinds of animals. As large as the sky sitting at the south of Bangladesh  is the Bay Of Bengal.

Cox’s Bazar is the world’s longest beach which is 120 kilometers long.

              Now you know a little about the fascinating lifestyles of people, culture and natural beauties of this great country. But there is more to discover!