THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
THE ART OF BREAD MAKING
The craft of bread making is more than learning the secrets of baking. It is a tradition that connects people and brings childhood memories to life. Follow us to the mountain villages of Bulgaria and the small towns of Georgia to learn how bread making became a craft of the locals
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Roman Kraft, Juan Manuel Nunez Mendez, Eiliv Sonas Aceron, Henry & Co, Maria Orlova, Rodolfo Marques
11 February 2020
I remember when I was young walking up to the village shop was a daily ritual. This was the best and one of the few places where locals could buy bread. This seemingly insignificant daily act was very important to the residents of the village I spent some summers at. People took buying bread very seriously. In some places of the country growing and making your own food was the craft that supported the entire livelihoods of the locals.
There was nothing like the smell of freshly baked loaf early in the morning. People would have to get up at the break of day and head straight to the bread shop before all the loafs were already sold. It only took about fifteen minutes to walk between the bakery and my home, but I remember that on the way back, a chunky part of the sourdough loaf was already gone. It was that good, you see, just the smell would make your mouth water. I thought the crust was probably the best part, although most people from my family preferred to dig into the soft parts whilst the bread was still warm and fresh.
I spend some of my childhood in a small village not too far away from the mountains of Bulgaria. Those were moments of my early life that I would treasure forever. Early walks for bread were something of a tradition for the villagers and being able to make dough with my grandmother and my mother is something I will always be grateful for.
Bread making is a craft known in other places around the world. It seems to me that it is almost like a well-kept secret that has been passed on from one traveller to another and has made its way to far-away lands. There are plenty of ways to make bread. Each country has their own. Georgia is one of those places, where making dough is considered more than just making food – it is a form of art, it shapes the country’s culture and exists so that people can bond over a tradition that is meant to be passed along.
Bread making is not an easy task. Good bread takes time, practice and knowledge. The more you know about it in advance, the better the dough is going to taste once baked. In Georgia they have a word specifically designed to describe this feeling. ‘Supra’ is the term people use when friends and family gather together over food. It is a truly special occasion, one that many people might dismiss because of our busy lifestyles. Places like small mountain villages in Bulgaria and Georgia still have respect for those moments and make sure to prioritise them. Bread making is not a chore, it is a ritual.
There are plenty of villages one can travel to on the territory of Georgia. Some follow breathtaking tracks along green fields and vineyards; others are more challenging zigzagging around monasteries in mountain hills. Sometimes you will know you are on the right track even before you get there. If you are lucky enough you can stumble across a place where people would sell bread loafs on the street.
Georgians know how to cook and surely know how to throw a feast. As there is an art to bread making, this is usually a moment shared among the family. Often younger and older generations would gather to learn from one another tricks that give the loafs their unique taste. Making bread is a family thing just like eating it and sharing it with friends is a family tradition.
Some days I wake up and I could smell freshly baked loafs, despite being far from that tiny Bulgarian village I spent a small part of my childhood in. This is the magic of it all. Bread is not just bread once you’ve watched somebody make it or if you’ve learned to do it yourself. Bread becomes a symbol of homeliness. It is what bonds families and to many it brings a sweet feeling of nostalgia for childhood days. Bread making is an art that has been perfected by different cultures scattered across the Black Seacoast.
If you ever find yourself in a place where one of the locals’ craft is bread making, do pay attention. There is a lot to be learned from the traditions embodied in small representative groups of entire nations. You will be sharing a special moment that not many get to experience. After making the bread, there is nothing more joyful than setting up the table for all friends to join and toast to the well-done job. The warmth of the oven will spread around the room; laughter and conversations will be the music of the day; the smell of the freshly baked sourdough will fill the air. Bulgaria and Georgia are two countries so far and different from each other. Yet, they share something so fundamental to the way locals have been crafting their traditions and cultural values. There is no better way to get close to the Georgian or Bulgarian customs than spending a day of bread making somewhere in the mountain villages of both countries.