Crossroads of Culture 200 Years of Canadian Immigration (1800-2000)
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Rituals and Religion

This Japanese daruma doll is made from paper maché and painted with red lacquer. As with most daruma dolls, it is hollow, and has no arms or legs like Bodhidharma, whom it is modelled after. Bodhidharma was a legendary Buddhist monk whose limbs are believed to have atrophied after many years of meditation.

While waiting for a wish to come true, one displays the daruma doll in a high location in their home, usually close to other significant items such as a Buddhist praying box (Butsudan). (Japanese)

According to information written in Ukrainian on two of its paper labels, this icon comes from the iconostasis of a Ukrainian church. The style of the icon seems to have been influenced by Russian iconography. The form of the letters on the inscription hints at an 17th or 18th Century iconographer. The scene displayed is the Dormition of the Theotokos, which is a popular Eastern Orthodox celebration of the "falling asleep" (death) of the Virgin Mary, which is believed to have been on August 15th. As shown, the apostles are believed to have been miraculously transported from all over the world to be by her side. (Ukrainian)

This traditionally styled oil lamp, used for marriage decoration, was collected from an Indian market. The maker was a Hindu tinsmith born in Gurajat, India. Such marriage decorations are common in India. They are usually purchased in markets and discarded after the ceremony. The lamp flame itself is a symbol of good fortune and domestic purity. The aum and swastika (seen here) are the most common symbols of auspiciousness in Hindu life. (Indian, Gujarati)

Owned and used in Rajasthan, India, this wooden shrine was painted and carved with local tools and materials. A traditional bard travels from village to village, with such a shrine box. He sets up under a tree in a triangle or on a porch and, for donations, sings or recites the Ramayana story using the painted panels of the shrine box as reference. At the center are three images of Rama, Sita and Laxmana, the heroes of the story. (Rajasthani)

Sacred music is the essential complement to cult ceremonies. Musical groups are used during ceremonies when presenting offerings to a god in order to obtain its mercy. This musical assembly called Phe Vo, consists in a pair of drums, a hourglass drum, a buffalo horn percussion, a small gong, a pair of cymbals and oboes. (Vietnamese)

This icon is of Slavic (probably East Slavic) origin, dating to the late 18th - 19th century. (Ukrainian)

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