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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, September 11

Religious groups around the world rally to fight global warming. Hindus around the world commemorate the fight between Vishnu and his demonic adversaries with a month-long festival. And practitioners of Shinto in Japan honor their ancestors in the traditional way. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly take on news about religions from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

One of the world's largest pilgrimages is Kumbh Mela an annual ritual gathering throughout several holy places in India. The festival originated as a commemoration of the god Vishnu's victory over several demonic asuras over possession of the nectar of immortality but it has since evolved into a pan-Hindu celebration that lasts about a month each year. You can read more about the festival (which is currently ongoing) and how modern Hindus celebrate it here.

When Pope Francis announced his fervent advocacy for combating global warming, he was met with criticism and ridicule by many American Catholics. But Catholics elsewhere in the world have taken his call to action more seriously. In the Philippines, both one of the world's most populous Catholic nations as well as one of the most vulnerable to rising sea levels, Catholics and government officials alike are working to improve their country's environmental outlook.

Catholics aren't the only ones pushing for more public recognition of climate change. In addition to Pope Francis, many Muslim leaders have called upon their communities to take global warming seriously. Recently, a gathering of several Muslim leaders and activists from around the world gathered in Istanbul specifically for this purpose.

One of the most important Japanese festivals of the year, Obon, is an annual observance in honor of the dead. Vaguely analogous to the Western Halloween and blending traditions from Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, Obon is celebrated every year around mid August. One of the most unique traditions in Obon is the toro nagashi, the ritual placement of paper lanterns on water as a symbol of the spirits' return to the underworld.

And of course, as many are doubtless aware, today is the 14th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The impact left by the attacks has changed America and Western culture in many notable ways but has one of them been a rise in xenophobia and anti-Muslim discrimination? That's the argument The Guardian makes in this article.

Top image by Babasteve

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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