March 2018

Beyond Pinterest: Getting Hitched With High-Tech Tools
Couples have moved beyond basic wedding websites and into high-tech tools to help mind the details, hire help, and pay for their special day.

Couples have moved beyond basic wedding websites and into high-tech tools to help mind the details, hire help, and pay for their special day.

Technology is an inseparable part of our lives. We often think of ways we can use it to simplify work, home life and leisure, so it’s no surprise that engaged couples harness technology for all aspects of wedding planning. Couples have moved beyond basic wedding websites and using Yelp! to scope out potential vendors, and Pinterest is already a top planning resource. Meanwhile, other high-tech tools are taking center stage to help mind the details, hire help, and pay for that special day.

Mobilize With Organization Tools 

Let’s face it: Planning your wedding is a project. That’s why some couples purposely turn to management, collaboration and information-collecting high-tech applications to organize their nuptials. For example, Evernote allows users to create individual “notebooks,” write notes, create task lists, clip photos and articles from the web, archive information and even set reminders. Meanwhile, others turn to nuptial-specific tools such as Wedding Wire Canada, described by CBC writer Katrina Clarke as a free service that helps couples locate vendors, discover décor and style ideas, plan a budget, and create to-do lists. You’ll want to make sure that your desired planning app supports Canadian users, but you should also evaluate several other factors:

  • Functionality and ease of use
  • Support for multiple media types such as text, photos and video
  • Available storage space for saves and uploads
  • Ability to share access with other users
  • Cost for usage and pricing plans

Wedding Websites That Help You Plan 

Couple-created wedding websites originated in the late 1990s. Some designed their own homegrown versions and published them on free hosting providers and independent ISP accounts. Meanwhile, TheKnot and other purveyors of nuptial planning advice debuted their own free website services alongside gift registries, budgeting utilities and online planners.

Personal wedding websites have come a long way in the last two decades. Besides supplying information about your event and allowing you to show off cutesy engagement photos, modern high-tech versions offer standard planning tools and advanced features such as online invitations, RSVP tracking, guest management and social media integration. Many, such as Zola and Joy, also provide visual matching between your website and your invitations so that the two share the same look and feel. Writing for Woman Getting Married, Lindsey Goldberg Jones lists and describes key features of the most popular services available.

Money Matters: Budgeting With Apps

If your favorite high-tech app doesn’t involve budget capabilities and expense tracking, it might be wise to add one to your arsenal. In a 2017 Brides article, contributor Molly E. McHugh revealed that money-management utilities such as Mint can be used to budget your event. Although it’s not wedding-specific, Mint permits Canadian users to detail spending plans, log expenses and submit payments to vendors.

High-tech Apps for Hiring Helping Hands

You and your partner can only do so much, so you might benefit from outsourcing services for all those extra wedding-related tasks. In a 2016 write-up, Medium contributor Sarah Schacht discloses her go-to tools. For instance, FancyHands is a United States subscription service that provides English-speaking assistants to perform tasks such as reservations, quotes, appointment scheduling or basic information gathering. AskforTask is a Canadian service that allows you to delegate small jobs such as decoration and setup for your event.

If you’re getting married, you might feel swamped by all the details involved. Couples used pen and paper in the past to keep track of essentials and minutiae, but both newbies and the tech-savvy can take advantage of new and emerging wedding planning apps. At the same time, popular productivity favorites can also be repurposed in new ways. Either way, you’ve got many high-tech possibilities right at your fingertips to help you pull your wedding together.

 

Getting the Most With Wedding Photos
In order to get the most out of your wedding photos, see how you can make the time with your photographer as useful as possible.

In order to get the most out of your wedding photos, see how you can make the time with your photographer as useful as possible.

Spending time with a wedding photographer can be a wild and wonderful experience. Though you might have a general idea of what you would like your photos to look like, you also know you need to trust in the professionalism of the photographer you have decided to work with for your photos. Many couples do not know what to expect from this experience. According to polls conducted across a range of married couples, many wish they had the chance to spend a bit more time with their photographers the day of the shoot.

In order for you to maximize your time and get the most out of the experience, you might find it useful to take a look at a couple of simple tips. Consider these ideas, and see how you can make your time with a photographer as useful as possible.

Talking Business 

Wedding photography is a booming industry. This means most successful photographers are balancing a dozen or so clients at any given time. While your event might be the only one the photographer is worrying about on the day of the shoot, so many different jobs can cloud the mind of even the most experienced individual. You cannot expect your photography team to remember each and every detail of what you’d like from your shoot, especially when you have not expressed your ideas enough.

When first making contact with the person or team you want to work with for your photos, you need to have a discussion about the timeline. Learn exactly how much time you are going to receive from the photographer when doing preliminary shoots, and discuss the option of bringing the photographer back for the wedding event itself. Some companies or individuals will offer discounts for shooting early photos and event photos. By having the conversation about the timeline early enough, you can get a solid idea of how much time you will have with your photographer without any distractions.

Light Game 

Photography is all about manipulating light in the right way. This means you want to make sure you take your wedding photos at an ideal time for natural lighting. Since most people opt to take their photos outdoors, you need to consider the weather and time of day you plan on shooting. An overcast day can seem like a problem at first, but it actually can be a huge advantage. Clouds filter direct sunlight, spreading it beautifully across a landscape. There will be far less glare or need for editing when the sunlight is slightly obscured.

On a sunny day, it is best to chase the lighting in a proper manner. “Magic hour” is the time of day, usually in the evening, when the setting sunlight paints the world in tones of orange and gold. It is a romantic and dazzling type of lighting that most photographers lust after. If you want to get the most eye-catching photos for your special day, you need to talk to your photographer about planning the shoot around this time of day and figuring out a contingency plan in the event of poor weather conditions.

Multiple Angles

Finally, you need to think about whether or not you want multiple photographers working your event. Preliminary photos usually do not require more than one person with a camera. Your actual wedding, on the other hand, is going to benefit from having multiple professionals shooting from a wide variety of angles. You are less likely to miss a stolen moment from your wedding when you have a number of experts on the job.

Making the right decisions for your wedding comes down to doing your research and selecting vendors who meet your specific needs. Before picking your photographer, be sure to consider the suggestions listed here to feel more comfortable with your decision.

Is Atheism on the Rise in Canada?
Statistics appear to show the number of Canadians who proclaim no religious affiliation, including atheism, may have increased during the last two decades.

Statistics appear to show the number of Canadians who proclaim no religious affiliation, including atheism, may have increased during the last two decades.

The last two decades have brought gradual transformations to Canada’s religious landscape. Data tables from Statistics Canada appear to show that the number of Canadians who are irreligious, including adherents of atheism and humanism, may have increased during this period. Is atheism on the rise, as some sources in Canada purport? Comprehending the answer to that question requires a wider examination of recent shifts in religious beliefs within our country.

Counting Canada’s Atheist Population

As a 2013 Huffington Post article revealed, around 7.8 million Canadians disclosed on the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) that they claimed no religious affiliation. That’s almost 24 percent of Canada’s population, and a significant increase from the 16.5 percent that claimed no religious affiliation in the 2001 survey. Notably, the NHS groups several belief systems under the “no religious affiliation” umbrella, including atheism, humanism and agnosticism, along with those who simply answered “no religion.”

Atheism on its own totaled almost 48,700 adherents, or nearly 0.15 percent of all Canadians surveyed for the 2011 version. According to Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, around 18,600 declared themselves to be atheists on the 2001 edition and over 13,500 responded the same way on the 1991 survey. That would suggest a slow, steady increase over the last two decades, with their numbers more than doubling since 2001.

Are There Problems With the Numbers?

On the other hand, data from the 2011 National Household Survey has been scrutinized and criticized due to a lower-than-expected response rate. As CityLab contributor Aarian Marshall pointed out in a 2015 article, policy changes enacted in 2010 meant that response to the NHS became voluntary instead of mandatory. Only 69 percent of respondents sent back their long-form surveys, raising some serious questions about data precision in the 2011 edition as well as possibly the 2016 version. Moreover, concerns remain about accurate counts for underserved populations such as those living in poverty, immigrants, First Nations communities and people of color.

In the face of these possible trends and worries, questions arise concerning what the 2011 NHS numbers really mean. Meanwhile, the 2016 NHS’s census profile has been released on the Statistics Canada website, but the current data does not include information regarding respondents’ religious affiliation.

Understanding the Bigger Picture 

With the absence of reliable numbers, journalists, theologians and scholars rely on other data sources and anecdotal testimonies to understand the larger picture of religion in Canada. A March 2015 Angus Reid Institute report revealed several key developments:

  • An increase in the number of Canadians “inclined to reject religion”
  • Dwindling numbers of those who “embraced religion”
  • A sizable group of respondents who said they were “in between”

Nevertheless, these figures only tell part of the story. A 2015 CBC article explained that traditional Protestant Christian congregations are losing members while Catholic and evangelical churches, along with Muslim mosques and Sikh temples, are experiencing increases. Although misgivings remain about the 2011 NHS data, these observations are supported by its finding of sharp upswings in Sikh and Muslim populations between 2001 and 2011. Simultaneously, more Canadians may also be embracing Neopagan paths, African orisha-based religions or the First Nations spiritual practices of their ancestors, but it’s difficult to make any concrete guesses without solid data.

Faith in Canada: A Complex Picture

While there are serious doubts about the accuracy of NHS data on Canadian religious affiliations, some general observations can be derived from multiple sources. Atheism, humanism and agnosticism adherents in Canada may have grown within the last 20 years, but the overall picture of faith in our country is more multifaceted. With immigration causing shifts in membership and more people adopting non-Abrahamic spiritual paths, it’s important to remember that there are larger, more complex stories behind the data and headlines.

 

An Ancient Religion Struggles for Survival in Canada
The ancient religion of Zoroastrianism remains poorly understood by outsiders while continuing its fight for survival and relevance in the modern era.

The ancient religion of Zoroastrianism remains poorly understood by outsiders while continuing its fight for survival and relevance in the modern era.

Imagine a pre-Christian religion that is thousands of years old, originated within an ancient empire, and serves as the source of some important religious concepts that we take for granted. You might immediately guess that this description fits Hinduism or Buddhism. Yet both of those faiths count several hundred million believers all over the globe, while followers of the ancient religion just described number less than 200,000 worldwide. With less than 10,000 adherents in Canada today, Zoroastrianism remains poorly understood by outsiders while continuing its fight for survival and relevance in the modern era.

A Quick Crash Course on Zoroastrianism

This distinctive ancient religion originated with Zarathustra, a Persian religious thinker who was thought to have lived sometime during or before the sixth century B.C.E. Throughout his writings, he laid out a cosmology with several important elements:

  • The existence of a benevolent creator deity, Ahura Mazdā
  • A dualistic world with both good and evil
  • The human capability of free will to choose a side
  • Good’s eventual triumph over evil

These philosophies were expanded through later writings to include other concepts such as the existence of a destructive spirit known as Ahriman, a final judgment of all humanity, and an eternal afterlife. Some ideas influenced Judaism during the Babylonian exile, while others made their way into Islamic and Christian theologies.

Why Are There So Few Zoroastrians Left? 

If asked to name a famous Zoroastrian, you’d probably struggle to find one. Freddie Mercury, the late front man for the British rock band Queen, was one high-profile believer familiar to many in the West. You’d likely have an easier time coming up with a name if you’re an Indian or Iranian Canadian, perhaps naming Bollywood actor and producer John Abraham or the late model and actress Persis Khambatta. While those two nations currently have the largest populations, with 69,000 and 25,000 respectively, estimates on the number of Zoroastrians in Canada vary. Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey counted around 6,100 while a 2016 CBC article cited 10,000 followers currently in our nation.

Either way, those are still relatively small numbers, but history may reveal why this is the case. As the Encyclopedia Britannica discloses, Zoroastrianism was a major ancient religion throughout Persia’s history until the Sasanian Empire fell. Between 629 and 640 C.E., the kingdom suffered several invasions from Islamic forces, including armies commanded by supporters of Muhammed. During the early years of Muslim rule in Iran, many Zoroastrians converted either by choice or force. Some groups opted to avoid persecution instead, leaving to settle in India during the 10th century C.E.

Canadian Zoroastrians Grapple With Faith and Inclusion

Canadian Zoroastrian communities discover that finding clergy and building temples remain salient concerns, as these elements are needed to serve their faithful as well as pass on and define traditions. Also, the Encyclopedia Iranica explains that there is no global hierarchy present, so local clerics wield supreme authority in each region when it comes to matters of doctrine. That includes the acceptance of converts, and stances on the issue can range from a liberal welcome to a refusal to even recognize the children of interfaith marriages as Zoroastrian. With traditionalists insisting that only those born into the religion can be members, growth proves to be an ongoing challenge.

Several historical and modern developments have contributed to the small numbers of Zoroastrians all over the globe. Thanks to conquest and persecution along with heated debates about accepting converts, some believe that this ancient religion’s future is in jeopardy. Although its legacy can be seen in vital ideas that were transformed into theological points within the three Abrahamic faiths, its Canadian followers continue to form strong communities while attempting to define key issues of their faith.

Common Questions To Ask Your Wedding DJ
Your wedding DJ can help you craft the perfect soundtrack for your wedding, so picking one with the right experience and flexibility is important.

Your wedding DJ can help you craft the perfect soundtrack for your wedding, so picking one with the right experience and flexibility is important.

Music is one of the more important elements of your wedding. Though you might spend a lot of time selecting décor, signature drinks, and flowers, guests are more likely to remember what music played throughout the course of the event. While you may believe you have excellent taste in tunes, a quick examination of your iTunes library might prove otherwise. Luckily, you and your partner are not going to be solely responsible for selecting the soundtrack of the evening. In most cases, the task will be left to the DJ you select for your needs.

Before you hire a DJ, you might want to ask a few important questions of your potential candidates. Having a clear idea of what an entertainer can offer and how successful he or she has been in the past can help you in making your final selection. Look over a few of these questions to ask DJs before you hire anyone, and you might have an easier time finding the right fit for your special day.

Experience Required

As with any vendor or service provider you work with, you want to get a solid understanding of this individual’s previous experiences. The longer someone has worked in a specific field, the more likely he or she knows how to go above and beyond during a wedding. Right away, speak with potential candidates about their previous experiences and how many events they have provided music for. Getting a feel for this can help you determine if the person is a qualified individual for your needs.

Seeing is believing, as they say, so you might find it most helpful to ask your candidates for a bit of proof. A DJ who tells you he has worked hundreds of weddings in the past might simply be exaggerating in order to get your business. A great way to get an actual idea of how a DJ will perform at your event is by asking for video from previous jobs. Most DJs will have video clips ready to show potential clients, so be sure to take note of any DJs who seem surprised by your request.

DJ Selection Process 

Your DJ is also going to be a powerful resource for you as you move through additional phases of planning for your wedding. Many moments of your reception need to be underscored by music. When you have absolutely no idea what tune to play for specific moments, you are going to need help from someone who has a better idea. When you trust your DJ and his or her tastes, you have a perfect resource available to help you find an ideal soundtrack for each and every aspect of the night.

Before hiring any potential candidate, be sure to ask about whether the person can help you with picking songs. Though most DJs are more than happy to help in this regard, there are also several candidates out there who do not like to get involved with song selection. Should you need this help desperately, be sure to opt for a candidate who can actually deliver on assistance.

Requests

Finally, you need to think about requests. Some couples do not like to give guests the power of requesting songs, as it can disrupt the flow of the night. Still, you might want to allow the people at your wedding a bit of control. Regardless of what your personal preference might be, you need to make sure your DJ allows requests. Ask this early and come up with your own plan from there.

Giving your event the right soundtrack is all about picking a DJ you love. In order to feel confident in your decision, be sure to meet with your candidates early and talk through any important questions you might have about services.

Signature Drinks: A Simplified Guide
Signature drinks are a popular way of capturing the essence of your wedding while simultaneously providing guests with ample libations.

Signature drinks are a popular way of capturing the essence of your wedding while simultaneously providing guests with ample libations.

The requirements for throwing a wedding have changed significantly over recent years. While the goal of a reception is to ensure guests have a wonderful time celebrating the union of a happy couple, new trends have shifted the manner in which this occurs. Now, it is quite common for couples to have to go above and beyond in regard to specific features of their special day. Signature drinks, for example, are a popular way of capturing the essence of the event while simultaneously providing guests with ample libations.

In most cases, a signature drink at a wedding is featured during the cocktail hour of the event. This is typically when the newlyweds are off taking care of business like photographs before the actual reception takes place. To select an ideal signature drink, be sure to think about a handful of these suggestions.

One or Two?

Though the tradition is somewhat new, there are already a number of different ways you and your partner can go about making your selection. The first decision to think about is whether you would like one or two signature drinks. One drink is meant to symbolize your union. Two drinks allow both members of the happy couple to craft their own signature beverages for guests to sample. Providing two options can be fun for competitive couples who want to see how many guests select which drinks.

Still, you might find having a single signature drink is more than enough. The drink is meant to help guests get through the cocktail hour without feeling bored waiting around for the reception to begin. This means you want to think about drink combinations that will keep people energized and excited. Stick with light, possibly fruity, alcoholic drinks to keep people engaged and ready for everything else. Keeping the alcohol content of these drinks low can also be helpful, as the actual event has not yet begun and you don’t want to deal with too many sloppy guests.

Favorite Choices

There are a number of ways you can go about the process of selecting your signature drink. Many couples find that it is easiest to go with drinks they already enjoy. When you and your partner go out every now and again and enjoy the same beverages, it might be a great place to mine for wedding inspiration. If you tend to drink “tequila sunrises” together when you go out, then you should definitely consider this drink or something similar as your signature cocktail.

You might also want to go in a completely different direction. When you want something new and refreshing for your guests, consider speaking with a certified mixologist. Though a new profession in many ways, mixologists spend countless hours trying to figure out the right drinks for any occasion. Those looking to keep their spending in check might also benefit from talking with friends or family members who have a background in bartending for some help.

What Drinks Are Hot?

Finally, you can never go wrong with selecting a drink based on recent trends. You and your partner might not be big drinkers, or you may not have specific beverages you gravitate toward on your nights out. If this is the case, there is no shame in taking a look at trendy blogs and restaurants for a bit of inspiration for your wedding drink.

Choosing the right signature cocktail for your special day can be a fun and interesting way to add an extra-personal touch to your event. Find the perfect fit for your needs by giving yourself ample time to make your choice and doing lots of research to find a solid option.

“Two-Spirit”: A Modern First Nations Concept
The modern term “Two-Spirit” is being used by some Indigenous peoples to speak to their experiences where gender, sexuality and spirituality intersect.

The modern term “Two-Spirit” is being used by some Indigenous peoples to speak to their experiences where gender, sexuality and spirituality intersect.

Prior to European exploration and colonization, some First Nations civilizations in Canada had less restrictive definitions of gender and sexuality. In several of these pre-colonial cultures, queer and transgender individuals made integral contributions. The modern term “Two-Spirit” is being used by some Indigenous peoples to speak to their experiences where gender, sexuality and spirituality intersect along with the histories of the special roles that many LGBTQ Indigenous peoples held within their tribes.

Contemporary Origins of the “Two-Spirit” Term

As the Canadian Encyclopedia details, “Two-Spirit” is a translation of the Ojibwa words “niizh manidoowag.” Manitoba First Nations activist Albert McLeod is credited with first developing the term, suggesting that it could refer to the Indigenous LGBTQ community at a 1990 meeting of the Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference. After its positive reception at that event, the “Two-Spirit” concept began to catch on within many First Nations communities, and its usage slowly spread to groups in the United States over the next two decades.

LGBTQ People in Pre-Colonial First Nations Communities

Since each First Nations society in pre-colonial Canada possessed its own views on gender, sexuality and spirituality, the definitions used and the roles assigned to LGBTQ people would have vastly differed from tribe to tribe. The Canadian Encyclopedia does list a few examples from these cultures, such as the Cree terms “napêw iskwêwisêhot” and “iskwêw ka napêwayat” that refer to “men who dress like women” and “women who dress like men,” respectively.

Each society defined its own sets of roles assumed by queer and gender variant members. For example, people initially considered male at birth might have donned “feminine” clothing and assisted with weaving, cooking and crafting, while others normally assigned female at birth may have worn “male” apparel and joined the men of the tribe in hunting, healing and protective duties. Writing for the Dancing to Eagle Spirit Society, Sandra Laframboise and Michael Anhorn document that some groups performed rituals for children demonstrating these kinds of behaviors before puberty. At times, some civilizations believed they were powerful individuals who might be able to perform specific functions:

  • Heal
  • Prophesy
  • Provide spiritual guidance
  • Sing sacred songs
  • Intercede on behalf of their people with the gods

Difficulties With Historical Sources

Many sources speaking about the “Two-Spirit” phenomenon may disagree with each other for a variety of reasons. Indigenous peoples have elucidated that not every pre-colonial American culture treated its LGBTQ members in the same ways. When each culture ascribed special statuses to queer and trans folk, this may have required specific processes undertaken by tribal leadership, as a 2006 New York Times piece clarifies.

Moreover, journalist Mary Annette Pember explains in a 2016 Rewire article that documentation of “Two-Spirit” traditions in Native societies was often written by non-Native individuals who lacked a deep understanding of the groups they observed, combining concepts and treating all these groups as if they were a single monolithic culture. She also emphasizes that “Two-Spirit” was developed in a modern context and that many LGBTQ First Nations people find it difficult to reconnect with their histories, thanks to the destruction of their heritage and older queer and trans Indigenous peoples remaining “in the closet” out of fear.

Recovering Lost Legacies

As Indigenous peoples in North American have contended with violence, the destruction of their families, cultural erasure, the loss of their tribal lands and even extinction, they have also attempted to retain or reconstruct their heritages. As part of these efforts, some LGBTQ First Nations people embrace the term “Two-Spirit.” While documentation is incomplete when it comes to the roles that queer and trans people used to play within their tribes, modern LGBTQ Indigenous individuals have used the “Two-Spirit” concept to create spaces of mutual support, forge identities and try to recover what has been lost.

Trickster Deities in Canadian Religions
Trickster deities bend or outright violate rules or norms of social order and play important parts within several religions observed by Canadian people.

Trickster deities bend or outright violate rules or norms of social order and play important parts within several religions observed by Canadian people.

Just as real life is not without its tricksters, these individuals play important parts within several religions observed by Canadian people in modern times. Broadly speaking, trickster deities either bend or outright violate rules or norms of social order through their clever and cunning ways, often with humorous results. In his writings, psychiatrist Carl Jung spoke of this trope within First Nations mythologies, describing it as an archetype that apparently combines qualities seen as divine along with human tendencies. According to mythology, tricksters are usually deities, human folk heroes, anthropomorphic animal characters or some combination of the three. 

“Let There Be Light,” or Raven Steals the Sun 

As the Canadian Encyclopedia reveals, trickster deities frequently appear in the creation stories of many First Nations cultures. You might be familiar with Raven, a figure present in the tales of multiple groups such as the Inuit, Nisga’a and Haida. One famous account depicts Raven bringing light to a dark world by stealing the sun, a feat he accomplishes by turning into a hemlock or pine needle that’s swallowed by the Sun Chief’s daughter. She gives birth to a child strangely resembling the brazen bird who then begs to see the sun, which has been secreted away in a box. Once the Sun Chief obliges the child, the avian god steals the sun and flies away. Some editions of the story insist that Raven’s feathers were white prior to his theft and that the burning sun turned them black. 

Baron Samedi: Lord of the Dead 

Canada’s National Household Survey doesn’t include Haitian Voodoo as a separate religious category. Nevertheless, a 2010 piece in the Globe and Mail disclosed informal estimates that its practitioners make up between 30 and 80 percent of Haitian nationals in the country, which numbered more than 248,000 according to the 2011 survey. Significant spirits in most versions of Voodoo are called “loa,” and Baron Samedi is a charismatic loa said to dig the graves of the newly departed and escort them to the afterlife.

The Baron fits the “trickster” idea in both his demeanor and behavior. He’s described as having a jovial cheekiness manifesting itself in his liberal use of profanity, indulging in scandalous humor, frequent flirtations with mortal women and love of rum and tobacco. Such irreverence matches the “trickster” profile, but it’s his ability to defy the forces of death that’s most notable. The Baron has been known to refuse to dig some graves, which effectively saves the individuals in question from dying. 

Loki and Mohini: Breaking the Gender Binary

As many trickster tales include some sort of physical transformation, it’s no surprise that some tricksters shift genders. Loki, a well-known charlatan from both ancient Norse legends and modern-day Heathenry, aids Valhalla’s finest in several stories while bringing ruin and death in others. One gender-bending account shows him shifting into the form of a mare and giving birth to Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged steed. Some texts from Hinduism speak of Mohini, a goddess and avatar of Vishnu whose ruses include the following:

  • duping a group of demons into handing over an immortality elixir
  • charming another demon into mimicking her dance moves until he turned into a pile of ash
  • causing Shiva to be overcome with lust and temporarily lose his cosmic powers

As long as humanity has existed, people have been fascinated with “trickster” characters. Within many cultures, these personae have often manifested as deities who frustrate plans of humans and gods alike. Although their mischief is sometimes meant in fun, in other cases it breaks the rules or challenges authority to accomplish their own agendas. Whether these actions have altruistic, selfish or more complex motivations, examining the stories of divine beings with a trickster disposition becomes a fascinating study in human nature.

 

This Year’s Exciting Wedding Dress Trends
To discover a wedding dress that perfectly encapsulates your persona, look into some of the latest and hottest fashions while you explore your options.

To discover a wedding dress that perfectly encapsulates your persona, look into some of the latest and hottest fashions while you explore your options.

weThe right outfit can really change the way a person feels about an event. When it comes to your wedding, for example, you are going to end up putting many hours into searching for the ideal wedding dress. For brides, this means taking time to “say yes to the dress.” Bridal gowns and dresses have remained somewhat consistent over the years in regards to general style and color. While brides might have been wearing white to weddings for quite a bit of time, you should feel free to explore your options.

Each year, new and interesting design trends come about for brides to consider for their wedding dress. To discover a dress you feel perfectly encapsulates your persona, it might be a useful idea to think about some of these latest and more interesting fashions. Accessorize your dress in the right manner, play around with color, and personalize your outfit for your own special day.

Like a Princess

Though it might seem somewhat cliché, many people want to feel like royalty on the day they get married. While you might not have been born into the correct lineage to ascend to the throne, you definitely can create a look of a noteworthy aristocrat. One way to tackle this goal is by investing in accessories for your wedding dress. Lately, a hot trend for wedding fashions has the bride adopting all sorts of interesting accessories in order to fully flesh out her appearance while walking down the aisle. This task is simple when you explore options like princess capes. 

Princess capes, also known as “royal capes,” have been making a huge splash at special events all over the world. While you might not be next in line for the throne, you definitely can cultivate an appearance of decadence and class with a few small touches. If you believe your outfit will benefit from this addition, take time to consider all the style choices available to you and set out on finding the ideal match for your cape.

Ruffles in Your Wedding Dress

The style of the dress is something to play around with during the preparation stages of your wedding. In 2017, a number of prolific designers showcased ruffled bridal dresses at an array of large fashion shows. The designers, including such hot names as Vera Wang and Casablanca, have helped to launch a movement in regards to upcoming weddings. Brides all over have been rushing to boutiques and retail shops to get fitted for dresses with sweetheart necklines and layers of thin and dainty ruffles.

Though this option can seem appealing, it is important to remember it is not going to look wonderful on everyone. Some design strategies can come across as awkward or clunky on specific body types. When you are picking your dress, it is best to have yourself fitted by a professional so you can get a better feel for how the dress can be altered. Buying a dress online can also be a good option as long as you understand you might need to put a lot of money down to have it altered.

Touch of Blue

Finally, current designs are pushing away from the concept of a “white wedding.” Though innumerable brides still opt to wear white, many are considering other choices for their looks. Lately, a big trend is to use a slight splash of blue in the dresses. In most situations, the blue is very faint and simply adds a bit of life and dimension to the dress. This might be an ideal way to bring some color to the event.

Picking the right wedding dress for your special day can be a lot of work. Get ready to “say yes to the dress” by thinking over all of the latest style and design trends and landing on an option that appeals most to you.

A Brief History of Religious Veiling
With current efforts to ban religious veiling in public, it is important to understand the history of this practice.

With current efforts to ban religious veiling in public, it is important to understand the history of this practice.

With several Western nations experiencing increases in Muslim immigration, one major issue rising to the surface is religious veiling. Depending on the type of Islam they practice and the countries from which they originate, Muslim women might opt for simple headscarves, veiling that obscures their heads and shoulders, or complete body coverings. Current public discourse has sometimes resulted in legislation to ban religious veiling in public. Against the backdrop of such fevered discussions, it’s important to understand Islam is not the only faith in which people wear veils. In fact, the origins of religious veiling can prove to be rather surprising.

Religious Veiling in the Ancient Middle East 

Racked contributor Liana Aghajanian revealed in a December 2016 piece that women all over the world have been wearing some form of head covering for more than 3,000 years. For instance, the practice was common throughout the ancient Levant region as well as Greece, Rome and regions located in modern-day Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Rather than signifying any devotion to religious piety, they originally denoted that the women who wore them belonged to these societies’ upper classes. Aghajanian discloses the discovery of a 13th-century Assyrian text forbidding anyone other than aristocrats from donning veils. Working class women, slaves and other lower-class individuals faced legally prescribed punishments if they were caught wearing them.

Head Covering and Religion in the Modern Era

It isn’t immediately clear how head coverings became associated with religious modesty, but they were eventually adopted by women of all socioeconomic classes throughout the Middle East. Traditions from the three major Abrahamic faiths soon dictated that veils should be worn. The University of North Carolina’s Center for European Studies explains that some Jewish people interpret their faith’s “tzniuth,” or laws on modesty, to mean that women’s hair should be covered. While the Bible’s New Testament records no commandments issued by Jesus Christ concerning the issue, Saint Paul upheld the practice in his first letter to the Corinthian church.

Meanwhile, various sects of Islam actually disagree over religious veiling. CNN writer Abed Awad disclosed in a June 2015 write-up that the Quran never explicitly mentions the word “veil.” Additionally, there are two general schools of thought on the matter resulting from different interpretations of customs said to be handed from Aisha, one of Muhammed’s wives:

Veil everything except for the hands, feet and face upon reaching puberty.

It’s a good idea to wear veils, but they are not obligatory.

Bill 62: The Latest in Veil Legislation

Recent Canadian news includes reports about Quebec’s Bill 62, which initially required the province’s residents to show their faces to provide or receive any sort of public services. The Globe and Mail clarified in December 2017 that this law, which would have impacted aspects of daily life such as riding public transit and visiting libraries, was temporarily put on hold by the province’s Superior Court. The Quebec law is certainly not the first of its kind. The Guardian revealed in March 2017 that Europe has an almost decade-long history full of repeated attempts to regulate the practice of religious veiling, and debates over the issue rage on south of our border. While advocates of these regulations cite public security worries, pushback ensues based on concerns about religious discrimination as well as the safety of women who opt to cover their heads. Muslims also hold views on both sides of the issue, with some opining that such bans are fueled by Islamophobia while others support measures to outlaw face covering.

Several factors prove that the issue of religious veiling in public isn’t as cut and dry as one might be tempted to believe. Religion, personal freedom, public safety and concerns about racial and religious discrimination all play into the larger discussion. Since Statistics Canada predicts that the number of Muslims will significantly increase by the year 2036, public debate may continue for some years to come.