Welcome back to another pick of our Sessions’ Highlights. We continue our travels around the world to find all the superstitions! This week, you joined us at our second stop in our month-long World Tour, to meet all the wonderful superstitions from Africa to the Middle East.
We started off from West Africa after travelling from Central and South America last week, with a tale shared by Mary Keiser about the Griot: a skilled singer, poet and storyteller who learns and performs the songs and tales of African folklore. Griots – sometimes known as jeli or jali – can be found in countries such as Gambia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and more. These admired individuals are considered walking repositories of oral tradition – and thus, often seen as leaders and advisors. According to Cameroonian writer and composer Francis Bebey – author of the book The Minister and The Griot – Griots can be likened to minstrels and troubadours of medieval Europe, or even bards. They can also be of any gender, and no less respected for it.
Our second Highlight was from Haunted History BC, who told us about the Sacred Crocodile Ponds of Paga. This town in Ghana’s northern border with Burkina Faso boasts a special connection with its resident crocodiles, which are said to protect the souls of their community’s deceased. Such a spiritual connection has, curiously, made these otherwise feral reptiles very docile – bringing the town a vast amount of tourists willing to pay to feed chickens to the crocs or even touch them!
Finally, we travelled eastward with Sarah Nour who told us about the Turkish custom of peering into the sediments left inside coffee cups as a divination method. This art is sometimes called Tasseography – from the French tasse, meaning cup. In Turkey (where coffee is usually thicker than in the West), this ritual can be called kahve falı. Patterns to pay attention to may range from simple circles and squares, to mountains and other natural features. To be able to spot these patterns you must first drink the coffee, then place the saucer on top of the cup and tilt both with your thumb, index and middle fingers while making a wish. For a better explanation of this ritual, we found this video for you, made by Azerbaijan and Turkish students at Harvard University. And for more folklore from Turkey, have a look at our latest Guest Blog by Selin Umai from Autotelic Tales, called Forty Days – Turkish Superstitions for Mother’s Day!
That was all for today. I hope you enjoyed this selection. Do join us next week (28/05) as we continue to travel further eastward to
SOUTH/ EAST ASIA
to find ALL the superstitions in the World! If you participated in our Session yesterday: thank you so much. Whether you’re old, new or just passing through, your presence is very much appreciated and I am very glad to see you stop by. I hope you have a great week.
– Superstition Sam 🐾