Spirits in the Teachers’ Room: a Story of Possession

— By Grace Wivell — When a crowd of students came bustling in, a few boys in the lead carrying someone on a stretcher, I didn’t blink an eye.  Though there is a small nurse’s office at my school, often students who have passed out (which happens quite frequently here due to the omnipresent sweltering…

Siraman: The Indonesian Bachelorette Party?

Indonesians celebrate the day before a wedding a little differently than do most Americans. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to witness a Siraman ceremony, the traditional Javanese event that precedes a wedding. Siraman represents a physical and spiritual cleansing. It is not tied to any one religious tradition but instead to Javanese…

Celebrating Idul Adha around Indonesia

This year the Muslim holiday Idul Adha, or Eid al-Adha, marked one of the first cultural experiences for Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) at their host sites. The holiday marks the peak of hajj season and a celebration of the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God.  Many Fulbright ETAs placed in Muslim areas were…