Shell grottos have a certain murky ambiguity to their history and folklore. This for me made them all the more enticing to use as the basis for a ghost story in my tale, ‘The Grotter’ in Nyctophobias. Especially with my roots as a Whitstable native in Kent, where grottos are still primarily lit once a year as part of the Oyster Festival celebrations. These grottos are usually stacked in a ‘beehive’ style pyramid, held together with wet sand and illuminated by a short candle.
Since the beginnings of human civilization, seeds have been revered for their gift of life. How we treat them in our gardens, the plants they produce, and the importance of the weather, reveal many fascinating practices, myths and superstitions.
Of all the Chinese festivals, I love the Mooncake/Mid-Autumn Festival the most. Right after the scary Hungry Ghost Festival or Ghost Month, it is a lovely festival celebrating family gatherings, enjoying sweet mooncakes and admiring the full moon.
“Hat, cat, rat,” Umakant would shout at the top of his voice whenever he would see cowherds around the Peepal tree.
Wife selling is often claimed to be an ancient practice, carried out by brutish men to free themselves of unwanted wives, but the truth is far more varied and fascinating.