Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas carols with grandfather

The Christmas Truce, Western Front 1914

Starting on Christmas Eve—24 December 1914—many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across No Man’s Land; some Allied soldiers would swear they even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing. 

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines, cautiously calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their own trenches and shook hands. 
The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings, sang carols and their own native songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of football. In a more somber manner, some soldiers used the short-lived ceasefire: to retrieve the bodies of their fallen comrades who had been left between the lines. 

The Christmas Truce of 1914, as it would be known, came only five months after the outbreak of the Great War in Europe. It would become one of the last examples of an outdated notion of war chivalry, something that would die quickly to the modern warfare that was emerging. It was an event that was never repeated—future attempts to recreate the holiday ceasefire were quashed by officers’ threat of being put up against the wall—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutality of war, a soldier’s essential humanity could endure.


Friday, December 20, 2013



Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela is a mountainous area in Ethiopia famous for its a peculiar complex of twelve religious constructions built probably in the 12th or 13th century. These “Monolithic Churches” (Church of the Redeemer, of Saint Mary, of Mount Sinai, of Golgotha, of the House of the Cross, of the House of the Virgins, of Saint Gabriel, of Abba Matta, of Saint Mercurius, of Immanuel, of St. George) have been carved out of red volcanic rock in the Middle-ages probably for the will of King Lalibela. 
The local sovereign wished to found a a “New Jerusalem” after Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land was forced to stop due to Muslim conquest.

Santa's Coming

The Cliff House, San Francisco (1901)