ALMATY, March 16
An exhibition of Kazakhstani painters is being held in the Tribune Gallery (Republican Square). The exhibition presents works made in different genres � batik techniques, paintings and ikebana.
Batik works are being shown by the creative group Batini, which was started several years ago by female graduates from Almaty Abai University (the Fine and Applied Arts Faculty). Their paintings are of a great interest to connoisseurs of art. The artists exhibiting have not follwed any particular style but they work using various mediums. For example, creations by Svetlana Blaga are mostly using graphics but the still life form is explored by Natalya Korablyova and Anna Korneva .
The exhibition pieces are have been produced on satin, silk, crepe de Chine using hot and cold batik techniques.
We would like to point out how their use of colour breaks with tradition yet their range of colours is in harmony with the form and creative image of their paintings. In this regard, Scarlet Flower by Olga Yuldasheva is worth particular note.
Other than batik, the exhibition presents works by painters Bube Nelly, Botagoz Akanaeva, Bella Sadieva and others. The exhibition is also complemented by ikebana creations by Lyudmila Pakulina, the designer-decorator.
ALMATY, March 15
Allah's messenger said: "He who has gone on a pilgrimage, does not use foul language, does not sin and becomes sinless as he was when his mother gave birth to him.�
Pilgrimage to Mecca is obligatory (at least once) for each Muslim man who is in a position to do so. Pilgrimage take place during the month of Zulhija (the Moon calendar) and comprises of a number of rituals.
Caravans of pilgrims reach Mecca by the 7th of Zulhija and firstly hold a purifying ceremony. People wash themselves, cut their hair and nails in a precise traditional way. They have to wear special clothes once they have made themselves clean in order to step on Holy Land. They consist of two lengths of clear linen that has not been touched by a needle. One of the lengths of the linen is girded around the waist and with the other, people cover their chests and backs, slipping it over the left shoulder and tying it on the right side. A man's head is left uncovered whereas a woman's must be covered with shawl. Sandals should be worn. Entering this state of ihram (cleanliness) is marked with the special appeal to Allah:
Here I am before You, oh God! Here I am before You!
No one is equal to You!
Thank You, all good is from You!
There is no realm, except Your realm!
You have no comrade!
It is obligatory to pronounce these words while entering Mecca and visiting main relics. After ihram , it is prohibited to sell, shed blood, cut your hair, shave, use fragrances, marry or seek in marriage, wear sewn cloth. If people infringe these prohibitions, their pilgrimage is invalid.
Tavaf (moving around Kaaba, the central pillar of Mecca) is a necessary element of pilgrimage. During pilgrimage, tavaf is made twice: while entering Mecca and while completing pilgrimage rites. To make tavaf, pilgrims must enter the al-Masjid al-Haram first with the right foot through the World Gate. Having come to the Black Stone, people then go seven times around Kaaba. Pilgrims who cannot go are carried on stretchers. After these seven turns around Kaaba have been completed, it is necessary to return to the entrance and raise the right hand towards the entrance to glorify Allah, the Prophet and ask for mercy and a pardon of sins. To finish the ritual, people pray.
In the territory of al-Masjid al-Haram there is the holy well Zamzam. Water from Zamzam is believed to have different properties: it treats illnesses, satisfies hunger, etc. According to common beliefs, Zamzam is connected by underground canals with the wells of famous mosques. Washing in Zamzam and drinking its water are important elements of the pilgrimage. Pilgrims often take water from Zamzam .
Another important part is sai � running between the hills Safa and Marva. Sai occurs after having made tavaf. Pilgrims go out from the al-Masjid al-Haram stepping first with the left foot, climb onto Safa Hill and face Kaaba to appeal to Allah by asking for mercy and protection from grievances. Then they go down to the pillar at the foothill from where they run to the pillar at the Marva Hill. After that they climb on the latter. There they pray facing Kaaba and then return to the Safa Hill. People run between the hills seven times.
Vukuf � standing on the Arafat Mountain is an obligatory rite that symbolises facing Allah. By midday on 9th Zulhija, crowds of pilgrims gather near the mountain situated within several kilometres from Mecca. Pilgrims listen to hutba, and pray. The gathering lasts until sunset. Having completed vukuf, pilgrims go to the Muzdalifa valley to spend a night there, where they pray, pick small stones in order to throw them at the three stone columns symbolising pagan idols that before the Prophet were situated in the Mina Valley. Pilgrims go there at dawn. Here they throw seven stones to the last column symbolising Iblis, who prepared Mohammed's way.
On the same day, 10th Zulhija , people hold a sacrificial rite: each pilgrim sacrifices an animal � a sheep, and a group of several people � a camel. This day is considered the most important Muslim celebration, Id al-Adha, and is celebrated all over the world.
Then, either having shaved the head or cut a strand of hair, pilgrims go to Mecca to hold the last tavaf. After that pilgrimage is believed to have been successfully completed, all prohibitions are abandoned. Almost all pilgrims go to Medina - the town of the Prophet. People that have been on the pilgrimage are called Hadjas and are entitled to wear a green turban.
ALMATY, March 15
In the National library of Kazakhstan, in the UNESCO the book-illustration exhibition devoted to the 150th anniversary of the outstanding Romanian poet Michael Eminesku was opened.
In Romania 2000 is the year of Michael Eminesku and is being celebrated within the UNESCO.
The Romanian poet Michael Eminesku was born on January 15, 1850 in the town of Botashan. He received his education in Vienna and in Berlin. From his youth he took a great interest in poetry and at 16 he published the first volume of his poems. The literary fame came to the poet very early � when he was 20.
Eminesku's literary heritage is great. It consists of verses, poems and critical notes. We should especially mark his philosophic poem Luchafer, in which the poet meditates of the genius' fate devoid of happiness on the Promised Land.
The poet's book Luchafer published in Kishinyov in 1989 is being demonstrated at the exhibition. The book composes of some best translations of the poem into Russian by famous philologists � Alexander Brodsky,
Yuryi Kozhevnikov, Grigory Petrov and David Samoilov.
Readers' attention was attracted by the book by the Moldavian author Constantin Popovich �Michael Eminensku. Life and Creation�, in which the famous literary critic pictured the public, journalistic and pedagogical activity of the Romanian poet, and conducted a deep analysis of his literary heritage.
Apart from Michael Eminesku's works, the exhibition presents books by Romanian writers and literature about them. Here are writings by Michael Eminesku's contemporaries � Ion Kryange, Ion Slavic, Ion Luka Karajale, Alexander Vlahutse and Jorge Koshbuka, as well as by Romanian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.
We would like to emphasise especially that several books by Romanian authors translated into Kazakh are exposited at the exhibition. They are �Romanian short stories� (translated by M. Gumerov and K. Mustafin) and stories by Michael Sadovyanu �Mitrya Kokor� and �Flowers Island� (Zh. Zhumakanov and S. Toleshev).
The book-illustration exposition forestalled the poetic party where the Romanian Temporary Charge' d'Affaires to Kazakhstan Marin Stenesku, famous Kazakhstani poets Akushtap Baktygereeva and Shomishbai Sariev, artists of the theatre, etc. participated.
March 13 1781 The German-born astronomer William Hershel discovers Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun and the third largest planet by diameter.
March 13 1881 In Russia, Czar Alexander II is killed near the Winter Palace by a hand-bomb thrown by a member of the �People's Will,� a militant wing of the Narodniki movement, which advocated socialist reform in Russia and the elimination of the central government. Ironically, on the same day, Alexander had just signed legislation granting Russia's liberal local governments an advisory role in czarist legislation.
March 14 1938 Nikolai Bukharin, a leading Bolshevik revolutionary, Communist theoretician, and early opponent of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, is executed for espionage at the end of one of the most notorious show trials of the twentieth century.
March 14 1964 Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, is sentenced to die in the electric chair for his �murder with malice� of Oswald.
March 14 1879 Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize-winning physicist : developed the Theory of Relativity, was born.
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