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Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul

Podcast Heart and Soul

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5 of 217
  • Turning of the bones
    To celebrate the lives of loved ones after they have passed away is nothing new. Many communities cling to memories, stories and anything else that makes them feel as close as possible to those who have died. For the Malagasy people, an Austronesian ethnic group native to the island country of Madagascar, this desire to remain close to lost loved ones is viewed in a more literal sense with a funerary tradition known as Famadihana - the turning of the bones. With the belief that the spirits of the dead only finally join the world of the ancestors after the body's complete decomposition, this ceremony involves exhuming the bodies of loved ones, replacing the silk cloth wrapped around them, and celebrating their lives as they are once again laid to rest. Volana Razafimanatsoa explores the shifting spiritual landscape amongst the Malagasy people in the 21st Century, joining a family celebrating their loved ones and discovering what the future holds for one of their most cherished traditions. (Photo: Isabel Malala Razafindrakoto carries the wrapped body of her son, who died aged three, as she takes part in a funerary tradition called the Famadihana. Credit: Rijasolo/AFP/Getty Images)
  • The hidden faiths of Northern Ireland
    This year marks the centenary of Northern Ireland. Since its inception it has been divided between those who want to be Irish, who are mostly Catholic, and those who want to remain British, who are mostly Protestant. But what about the people of faith outside the sectarian divide – or those of no faith? Reporter Julia Paul meets Joseph Nawaz, whose father was a Muslim from Pakistan and whose mother a white Catholic from Northern Ireland. His parents were married in the 1970s, at a time when most NI churches wouldn’t even marry a Catholic and Protestant. Joseph talks about his journey to embrace his mixed heritage and the two very different religions in his childhood. Esther Chong was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents and moved to Northern Ireland for a better life. The day after she arrived she attended a service at the Chinese Christian Church in Belfast and she says God began to show her her path forward in Northern Ireland. Both her children are autistic and she now runs support groups at her church for other Chinese families, especially those who struggle with the language barrier. Dr Satyavir Singhal is a consultant at the Royal Hospital in Belfast and a Hindu. He moved to Northern Ireland from India with his family in 2000. The more people in Northern Ireland asked him about his faith and his country of birth, the more he was drawn closer to his faith. In 2014, he became more involved in the Indian Community Centre and Hindu Temple in Belfast, and now he teaches society about Hinduism. (Photo: Dr Satyavir Singhal. Credit: Julia Paul)
  • Lipa Schmelzer: The Jewish Lady Gaga
    Lipa Schmeltzer is a bright star in the world of Jewish music; only his music sounds nothing like traditional Jewish music! In fact, he has been nicknamed, the ‘Jewish Lady Gaga’! Growing up in New York, in an ultra-conservative Hasidic community, Lipa was always different. At school, he was taught all subjects in Yiddish, and when he found it hard to concentrate his teachers called him the 'dumb kid' and told him he would never amount to anything. He had a dream of being a singer, but when he started writing and performing his own songs, his father and rabbi told him to stop and concentrate on studying the Bible. Lipa agreed and publicly apologised to the community for the modern music he had been creating - but it was not long until he started again. Lipa's music and performance style represented a split in his community: the younger Hasidic Jewish who loved the modern Jewish beats and wanted him to perform at their weddings and children's bar mitzvahs, and then the older more reserved Jewish who thought it was disrespectful and would lead people away from holy scripture and on a path to hell. Today Lipa lives in both worlds, creating modern Jewish music while trying to stay true to his roots. But it is not always easy, as Colm Flynn found out when he went to New York to visit Lipa. (Photo: Lipa Schmeltzer)
  • COP26: Faith and the environment
    This week leaders from over 200 countries have been making pledges to cut carbon emission at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). But for many climate activists on the ground, action speaks lounder than words. Reporter Rajeev Gupta speaks to activists who say they are compelled by their faith to act now. He hears from Alphonce Munyao, a Catholic activist from Kenya, who says climate change there is causing droughts, leading to wild animals entering urban areas in search of food and water. Alphonce says religion for him is not just about preaching, but is a call to action. William Morris, an Evangelical, says he grew up believing there was no need to protect the planet as the world was temporary. He describes why many in his tradition believe climate change is a hoax, and how he now goes back into his church and tries to persuade people otherwise. Rajeev also speaks to Sheila Chauhan, a Hindu who runs a project called Green Karma – Blue Planet. Sheila says the protection of the environment is one of the fundamental teachings of her faith, and that the energy of God is found in all living things. She describes her own deep connection to the environment, and how she has made it her life's work to spread the message of climate protection. Tonga is a country that faces an extensive threat from rising sea levels: some scientists have predicted the South Pacific island could be completely drowned within 50 years. Sixteen-year-old twins Louisa and Lorrain describe how the changing weather has been affecting them, and how they want religious leaders to do more than just talk about the issues. Finally, Rajeev speaks to Malaysian activist Aroe Ajoeni, who has been working with indigenous Malay tribes. Aroe says the indigenous people are aware things have been changing, but thought it was because the gods were angry with them. She says by helping them to understand the impacts of carbon emissions, some of the youngsters in the community have started to question why they should be affected by the pollution of others. Presented and produced by Rajeev Gupta Image: A protester at the COP26 summit in Glasgow (Credit: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Trying to save the Latin Mass
    Communities that celebrate with the Latin Mass have prospered. Now, Pope Francis has ruled that Catholics may only use the Latin Mass if their bishops agree to let them. Instead of a rule of tolerance for the Old Rite, wherever Catholics want it, there will be tolerance on a case-by-case basis. Many traditionally-minded Catholics believe that what is at stake here is the soul of the Catholic church, with a liberal old guard, with Francis at their head, hoping to snuff out a rising generation of conservatives before they take over. In France, the more old-fashioned Catholics still often have very large families and, proportionately, many more of their sons become priests. In this edition of Heart and Soul, France-based correspondent John Laurenson takes us into the extraordinary world of traditional Catholicism in France. We go to Versailles, the former seat of the ardently-Catholic monarchy, that is today the unofficial capital of the ‘tradi’ movement. John meets young Catholics to find out what attracts so many young believers to the Old Rite. Producer and Presenter: John Laurenson Image: John Laurenson/BBC

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