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Geography in the News: Mardi Gras 2014

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM Carnival Season Just Six Months Away Rio de Janeiro hosts one of the largest carnival celebrations in the world. Unfortunately, a huge fire swept through the Rio Carnival center in early February 2011, destroying thousands of costumes and floats. Three of the top 12…

Geography in the News: Mormons

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM THE GEOGRAPHY OF MORMONISM          The Mormon faith is in the news, as a new atlas,  Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter-day Saint History, (by Brandon S. Plewe and S. Kent Brown, editors, etal) was recently heralded  by The Mormon History Association. At its…

Geography in the News: A New International Canal?

Guest Authors: Malavika Nidhi and Rahul Nagvekar, students of Mrs. Rita McMahon, Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas.* This invited Geography in the News article initially was posted on Maps.com’s website and was made part of its 900-article GITN archive. Permission to post here is granted by Maps.com and Neal G. Lineback and Mandy Lineback…

Did St. Brendan Reach North America 500 Years Before the Vikings?

Without hard proof, many great adventures from the past stand the risk of being ignored and ultimately forgotten.

Apostolic Palace Video Exposes Ivory Use

During a week when the world learned that yet again a massive slaughter of elephants has taken place, this time of 89 elephants in Chad, many of which aborted upon being shot, I am struck by this video from ABC World News, which takes us inside the Apostolic Palace that Pope Francis I now calls…

Looking Inside the Vatican as Cardinals Prepare to Pick Next Pope

As Catholic cardinals prepare to convene on Tuesday for the conclave to pick the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, we’re highlighting parts of Inside the Vatican, a special that National Geographic Television produced for PBS during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, Benedict’s predecessor. The special’s crew was granted unusual access to the Vatican,…

Ash “Wednesday,” “Lent,” and “February”: Surprising Word Origins

Each year in February or March, Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent. But what does that word even mean? Or, for that matter, where in the world did we get “February”?

Kumbh Mela 2013: Form an Orderly Queue

It’s 4am on January 27, an auspicious date for bathing called Paush Purnima. The full moon hangs big and sharp above the shroud of smoke that covers the Kumbh. It’s still dark, and people are moving quietly and calmly from all directions towards the sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. The temporary…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Lost and Found

There is a stubborn rumour here at the Kumbh Mela that some people come to abandon elderly female relatives and children in the crowd. There are two lost and found camps on site, one of which is run by 86-year-old Raja Ram Tiwari, who took the initiative after seeing an old woman weeping uncontrollably at…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Holy Men

Naga Baba Jai Giri Ji has long, long hair. He hasn’t cut it for 15 years, and when he dances in the processions that the holy men lead to the sangam on bathing days, he loops it over his arms so that it doesn’t trip him up. Lakshman Giri is also famous for his headgear,…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Bathing in the Ganges

If you climb up to high ground above the river plain, you begin to get a sense of the scale of the Kumbh Mela, especially at night. It stretches off in all directions. The sky above it is as light as the sky over a large metropolis, only there are no highrises here—nothing much higher than a lamp-post, in fact. The noise from hundreds of loudspeakers is incessant and very loud—like a human rainforest, technically enhanced.

Kumbh Mela 2013: World’s Largest ‘City’ Rises Alongside Ganges

The stars are aligned. The first aiders are on standby. The latrines are dug. And the city of Allahabad is waiting to see how many tens of millions of people will descend on it between now and March 10. One thing is certain: the Kumbh Mela, a giant gathering of Hindu pilgrims that takes place every 12 years in four cities in northern India, and that is celebrated this year in Allahabad, is unique.

Ireland’s Saintly Women and Their Healing “Holy Wells”

Celeste Ray travels to Ireland to uncover little-known truths about Ireland’s women saints and how the location of their holy wells may give clues to how well these patrons have endured the test of time.