Alexandra Radu is an author at Religion News Service.
Malaysian Buddhists celebrate Vesak from home during pandemic
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (RNS) — With all temples in Malaysia closed to the public in an effort to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s 5.4 million Buddhists — the second largest faith group in the mostly Muslim nation — observed Vesak, or Buddha Day, from home this year.
Christians lend an anthem, and a pacifist spirit, to protests in Hong Kong
HONG KONG (RNS) — Since protests began more than 12 weeks ago over an extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trial, the city’s Christian community has taken an active role.
Indonesian Haul festival recalls pre-Islamic culture
WONOTIRTO, Indonesia (RNS) — In this small village in Central Java, the end of Ramadan is an auspicious time to honor one’s ancestors in a festival called Haul. The celebration is a mix of Islam, Hindu and animist traditions.
A profitable ‘mismatch’ pairs strict Islamic islanders and partying Western tourists
(RNS) — On Gili Trawangan in Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara Barat Province, year-rounders accommodate the several thousand tourists that flood the island every day out of necessity, while sticking to their religious lifestyle.
Malaysia women’s march meets disapproval from religious, political authorities
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (RNS) — Several hundred people marched in Malaysia’s capital on Saturday (March 9) to mark International Women’s Day in an event organized by activist groups and local NGOs and criticized by politicians and religious groups for its inclusion of LGBT activists.
In Malaysia, Lunar New Year keeps ethnic Chinese in touch with ancient customs
PANANG, Malaysia (RNS) — For ethnic Chinese Malaysians, Lunar New year celebrations can be both raucous street festivals and private, family affairs, a time to clean the house, pay debts and start fresh.
Pro-LGBT boycotters foil Romanian referendum on marriage
(RNS) — LGBT groups in Romania claimed the definition of family in the measure would increase discrimination toward not only same-sex couples but also single parents or children raised by other relatives.
Malaysian Buddhists celebrate Vesak
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (RNS) — In Malaysia, as it is across the Buddhist world, a holiday celebrating the Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment is celebrated with floats, burning joss sticks and lotus-shaped candles. The national holiday, also known as Buddha Day or Buddha’s birthday, bring together Buddhist communities from many of the country’s widely diverse ethnic and social groups.
Animist war game ritual lives on on Indonesian Christian island
PULAU SUMBA, Indonesia (RNS) — On the island of Sumba, in central Indonesia, a ritual war game known as Pasola is celebrated annually between villages, and it draws large crowds of all ages.
A Malaysian animist group gives thanks to spirits of the sea
CAREY ISLAND, Malaysia (RNS) — The ceremony takes place over four days, in which shamans and villagers visit different points on the rivers and seashores where boats have sunk in the past.
Balinese Hindus await the eruption of Mount Agung, home of a god
BALI, Indonesia (RNS) — A volcano that Balinese Hindus consider sacred is about to erupt. In the days before the lava flows, photographer Alexandra Radu captures Mount Agung and those who revere it.
Hungry Ghost Month animates the streets of Singapore
SINGAPORE (RNS) — For Buddhists and Taoists during the seventh month of the lunar year, the line between the realms of the living and dead blurs.
A Buddhist prayer festival fills a remote Tibetan village with color
(RNS) — Every year, between the sixth and seventh months of the lunar calendar, nomad tribes gather in the tiny Tibetan village of Ser Geyrgo for a prayer festival that is meant to invoke heaven.