Late dawn. Early sunset. Short day. Long night. Winter solstice.
In the Northern Hemisphere today we celebrate winter solstice – the day with the longest night.
In pre-Christian times in this part of the world the December solstice observance included people sharing food and showing forgiveness.
Many cultures continue to organize feasts, festivals, holidays and celebrations around December solstice.
Although winter was regarded as the season of dormancy, darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days after the winter solstice brought on a more festive mood. To many people, this return of the light was a reason to celebrate that nature’s cycle was continuing. (source: timeanddate.com)
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Humanity is defined as the quality or state of being human, and therefore encompasses all the characteristics that humans are capable of: good and bad, and all the ones in between. However, the term also refers to the quality or state of being humane which means capable of compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals.
If you take a walk with me in the streets of Bratislava, you’ll see some fine sculptures celebrating both human and humane characteristics.
Just before the entrance to the hotel where I was staying stands a nice sculpture of a Girl with a deer which is also the smallest fountain in the town. If you look to the right you’ll see a statue of Hans Christian Andersen in the background.
During his visit to Bratislava Andersen exclaimed: “This city is a fairy tale itself”. On his return from Slovakia he produced his famous masterpiece The Little Match Girl. Is it possible that he found his inspiration on this very square?
In one of the nearby streets you can see the statue of Schone Naci, a well known figure in the early 20th century. A poor and mentally ill man, he paraded the streets of Bratislava in old, but elegant attire greeting passers-by with his top-hat and bowing to ladies.
On Hlavne Namestie (literally the main square) you can see the statue of Napoleon’s Army Soldier that reminds visitors of Napoleon himself. Napoleon visited Bratislava in 1805 and then in 1809. His army blew up the Devin Castle near the town. Both tourists and locals enjoy sitting on the bench with the soldier at their back.
Cumil is the favourite tourist attraction in the town. He dates back only to 1997, and as far as I could see he is heavily abused by tourists and children that like to sit on his head. It has been reported that he was damaged by car drivers on several occasions. Nevertheless, he is a good-humoured chap who is taking a break from his dirty work and enjoying the view of the town and peeking up women’s skirts.
I am at Hviezdoslavovo námestie (“Hviezdoslav Square”) now, the square named after Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav (Hviezdoslav being his pen name meaning celebrator of stars), an innovative poet whose style is characterized by extensive use of self coined words and expressions.
Right there at Hviezdoslav Square I noticed a group of people standing still with their arms up, gathered in a silent protest against organ harvesting in Chinese prisons. “Hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong meditators are held in prison camps across China. For the past decade, they and other prisoners have been medically tested, killed, and used as a living donor bank for China’s transplant industry”. Their silent action drew my attention and I signed the petition. More details on organpetition.org.
Humane or only human, we are all part of humanity and as such have the responsibility of being human towards each other.
This is my response to Weekly Photo Challenge:Humanity.
As the night falls and the hazy daylight gives way to dusky skies, human figures become less conspicuous. That’s when I rush into streets resolved to carry out my plan…
Bratislava by night
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