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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Writing To My Summer Solstice!

Summer Solstice! Lilies in Bloom! Super Moon! Midnight Sky! Daylight at Dawn! So many reasons to celebrate life. And so much inspiration to write about. Sometimes I write when I’m in the hole, digging my way up from depression. Other times I write to learn or to share. I read, listen, research, travel, interview, absorb, organize, synthesize and formulate: a poem, an essay, an article, a proposal, a monologue, a fiction, a blog post. But most often, I write because I must.

“Each and every poem I write, I consider a gift from God. A turn of a phrase. Emotions that surface. An experience distilled into verse. Each offering is a present from the Creator. All praises, I say. Thank you for choosing me as the vessel.”

It’s not like I ever consciously chose to become a writer. Writing chose me.  I fell in love with the craft in 1960 at the age of five when I began to write letters to my grandmother, who lived 500 miles away in South Carolina. I have continued to write ever since.  And yet, even as I upload this post, I have three blogs languishing in various stages of inactivity.

Why three blogs?
First I started out with “Cultural Collideoscope.” I created it as a repository for my musings and meanderings about the arts:  music, dance, drama, film, visual art, fashion – all the cultural stuff that so inspires and defines me. I invented “Cultural Collideoscope” so I would have a place of my own to profile and review artists and a plethora of family and community events, especially because I so often find myself on the cultural scene, being overwhelmed with inspiration, taking the pulse of my life. Being me. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Odunde - A Celebration of African Culture

Pheralyn Dove Photo

African traditions in all their glory and splendor are celebrated every second Sunday in June at Philadelphia’s Odunde Festival. I always look forward to Odunde. Here I have captured photographs and written a series of Haiku verses to commemorate this observance that embraces the African Diaspora and pays homage to West African rituals. Odunde was created in 1975 by Lois Fernandez upon her return from a profound journey to the Motherland.
Odunde is a
Spiritual gathering that
celebrates Oshun.
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Odunde is based
on African traditions,
folkways and mores.
Pheralyn Dove Photo

The second Sunday
in June is set aside to
Celebrate Oshun.
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Pheralyn Dove Photo
For each Odunde
Festival, Oshun holds back
the clouds and the rain.

Pheralyn Dove Photo

Water is a part
of Odunde rituals
we observe each year.

South Street Bridge overlooks
Schuylkill River, where we
Praise our Ancestors.
Pheralyn Dove Photo
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Blessings pour down while
Praises go up to Oshun,
our River Goddess.

We chant prayers to our
Ancestors; We hold hands and
ask Oshun’s blessings.
Pheralyn Dove Photo
Pheralyn Dove Photo
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Mountains, Rivers, and
oceans do not separate
us from Africa.

We give thanks and praise
for our Ancestors’ gifts and
their sacrifices.

Pheralyn Dove Photo

Dancers and drummers
perform with exuberance,
pure love, joy and pride.
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Dazzling array of
beautiful families are
wonderful to see.
Pheralyn Dove Photo

We come attired
in our traditional garb;
We celebrate life!
Pheralyn Dove Photo

We hug old friends and
make new acquaintances in
the huge marketplace.

Some vendors sell food
Some sell clothes, while others sell
Textiles and sculptures.
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Jewelry and handmade
trinkets of all sorts are on
exquisite display.
Lois Fernandez, Odunde Founder - Pheralyn Dove Photo
Pheralyn Dove Photo

Designers show off
their unique creations and
entice you to buy.

Pheralyn Dove Photo

Asante Sana. Peace, Blessings & Homage to Oshun Always!