HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM KOTCH MAGAZINE

Though the Bible makes no mention of the birth of Christ, Christians eventually came to settle with December 25th. Other dates such as March 28th were drummed up by an unknown writer of North African origin and later, there were speculations of November 18th and September 11th. But prior to establishing this date, Rome’s pagan population celebrated a holiday which they called Saturnalia from December 17-25, a period during which, courts were closed and lawlessness reigned as no one could be punished during this period of celebration. Brutal murder, rape, injury to human and damage of property were marked features of its observance. Christian leaders, who were well aware that these festivities were far removed from the basic tenets of Christianity, were hard put to convert the pagan masses, consequently in the 4th century CE they dedicated December 25th as the date of Jesus’ birth with hopes of metamorphosing the pagan celebration with the sanctity and religious symbolism that is implicit with the birth of Christ. There are claims that the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul II revived the Saturnalia observance for the amusement of Roman citizens and forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city.  An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators.  They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily. It was not until 1687 that some success was attained along with the...

RASTAFARI REFLECTIONS – Marlene Daley

My earliest recollection of the Rastafarians of Jamaica comes with memories of a subculture filled with idioms of mystique, if not mystical connotations and double entendre proclamations such as “I and I.” But this was not just of self, they had unique ways of greeting, expressing blessings, exaltation of religious ideology and “wicked” critique of those lesser beings like myself, whose “livity” (way of life), had seemingly, if not surreptitiously, become far removed from their own, through an acculturation that was now perceptually foreign; a despicable paradigm through a stereotypical vision which could easily identify those not yet awakened. Their pronouncements of “fire bun!” which could have meant subjugation to the pit of hell to pay penance for our sins or restitution; “weak heart tremble!” which could have meant, shuddering in your shoes to look upon their face or stand firm in the face of danger, are forever etched in the recesses of my mind. Those statements were made with the kind of guttural crescendo that could have frozen a weak heart individual to the spot, as fright seem to cause the rushing of blood and muscle contraction that converged in the feet and rendered them heavy and difficult to lift. They were “public announcements” meant to instill fear, not only to the target but everyone else in earshot. It was intimidation at its best. As those hitherto frightful thoughts matured in later years and I played with their implications, it struck me that as disturbing as they were, they brought a strengthening of character that has served me well as I sojourned through life. They were some of...

THE AMAZING COCONUT OIL CAN WHITEN YOUR TEETH! – Marlene Daley

India has embraced the coconut as nature’s gift to that country. Their claim that the coconut originated there, is substantiated by fossils dating back over 15 million years, but after all is said and done, it seems the verdict is still out on its genesis. There is no question however, on the versatility of the coconut and the fact that India has moved in leaps and bounds in the use of product and byproducts and is predominant in their use of the coconut in rituals as well. It is symbolic of blessings, fertility and purity in India but so too in other societies around the world where it has great cultural and religious significance. The coconut tree has long ago established itself in other countries where it thrives in tropical climate but on the face of it, India seems to be the forerunners for its myriad of uses. Here are some of the ways in which the coconut is used, though all are not attributed to India: Coconut Water Cooking Oil Coconut Shell Powder Coconut Milk Coir Coconut squash Coconut sweets Coconut vinegar Coconut jam Neera or palm nectar Coconut Syrup Coconut Palm Jaggery (unrefined, non-distilled sugar) Coconut Palm Sugar Coconut Flour Coconut Wine Coconut oil used as cuticle moisturizer Coconut oil used as Deodorant Face Scrub (mixed with baking soda) Gin (from the sap) Detergent Soap Shampoo Laxative Makeup remover Moisturizer Shaving Cream Toothpaste (coconut oil added to baking soda to make a paste) “Oil Pulling” Add to coffee (to increase metabolism) Tanning Oil The coconut, its water, milk, and byproducts, are also revered across the Caribbean and...