In Thailand they celebrate the new year, or the Songkran Festival (here in LEGO by Jared Chan), from April 13-15. Traditions include spending time with your parents, grandparents, and other elders; throwing out what is old to look forward to the new; sprinkling with water in a form of ritual purification; and a tradition called 'bathing the Buddha'. A statue of the Buddha is brought through the streets and splashed with water, again a symbol of cleansing the soul of inner impurity. This tradition of splashing with water has evolved into a party-like atmosphere, with people taking to the streets with buckets, hoses, and super-soaker water guns in a city-wide water-fight, as shown in Jared's MOC.
The structure in this MOC is also of note. Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is one of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Bangkok. The temple, a little over a hundred years old, houses a statue of the Buddha known as Phra Buddhajinaraja in the inner hall, other statues of the Buddha found throughout the structure, and the remains of King Chulalongkorn, who reigned in Thailand from 1868-1910 and is the one who ordered the temple's construction. Today the temple is a symbol of the nation, a popular destination for tourists and is depicted on a Thai coin.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Freelug, a French LEGO group, is holding a contest for the Tour de France to build sites from around France. Seb Toutouille built the Vierge de Lourdes (Virgin of Lourdes). In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous saw a series of visions of the Virgin Mary. The shrine at Lourdes has been a site of pilgrimages, and the waters of the spring are said to perform miraculous healings. This LEGO rendition is of a statue of the Virgin that is seen now in the shallow cave where Saint Bernadette saw the vision.
Friday, July 17, 2015
Today (or tomorrow, depending on where you are) is Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadam. Ramadam is a month-long observance of the revelation of the Quran, a time that Muslims around the world mark with prayers, study of the Quran, fasting, and charity. The month ends with more prayers and a general celebration today. These LEGO renditions come from Mezba Mahtab's site Teaching Kids the Holy Quran that illustrates scenes from the Muslim scriptures.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The Duomo di Milano (built here in LEGO by Bright Bricks for Nano Bleu Toys in Milan) was begun in 1386 and completed just in 1965. This cathedral is the fifth largest church in the world and the largest in Italy (though remember that the Vatican is a separate country - St Peters is the largest Christian church in the world), and I can testify that it is massive. I was there once and the columns reminded me most of the giant sequoia trees at Yosemite National Park. This model is built at a 1:200 scale and took the builders much less than the six centuries of the original, just an amazing ten days(!).
Friday, June 26, 2015
Ulm Minster is a Lutheran (formerly Catholic) church in Ulm Germany that is the tallest church in the world. Construction began in 1377 but was only finished in 1890, 125 years ago. As part of the anniversary celebration, two Legoland model designers, Vera Feldmann and Anastasia Trautwein, built a 2.3 meter tall LEGO rendition. It was originally displayed at Legoland Germany, but is now installed in the church itself for the rest of 2015. I don't see in the various articles what will happen to the model after that - presumably it will either return to Legoland to become part of the permanent display at some point.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Someone (who?) brought this MOC to the recent BrickWorld gathering, illustrating this passage from Martin Luther King Jr's Letters from a Birmingham Jail:
There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed in. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators”. But they went on with the conviction that they were a “colony of heaven,” and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” They brought to an end such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest. Things are different now. The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Simon Pickard made this miniland-scale version of the Ark of the Covenant. In Exodus 25, God orders Moses to build the Ark, a gold-covered box, which eventually carried the tablets of the ten commandments, the original version of the Torah, Aaron's rod, and a jar of manna. The Ark became a center of Jewish religious life, as it was said to be the focus of God's presence among them, holding a spot in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and eventually the Temple.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Legorevival made this rendition of Szent István-Bazilika (Saint Stephen's Basilica) from Budapest. This Roman Catholic basilica is the third largest church in Hungary, completed in 1905. It is named for Stephen, the first king of Hungary.
Friday, May 1, 2015
Brendan Powell Smith of Brick Testament fame has announced a new project, the Brick Book of Mormon. You can read more here, but it looks like he is just in the planning stages at this point. No estimated time when this will result in fully illustrated stories. I'm looking forward to seeing his take.
Monday, April 27, 2015
I've previously noted JBrick, started by Yitzy Kasowitz to create and sell Jewish-themed LEGO sets. Here we see two different sizes of tzedakah boxes. Tzedakah means charity, but the word comes from the same root as righteousness, justice, or fairness (see here), so giving is not just seen as generosity, but also fulfilling justice (see, for instance, Deuteronomy 10:18, "He [the Lord your God] executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Giving is grouped with prayer and repentence in the liturgy of the High Holy Days. Many Jewish homes have a Tzedakah box to collect coins which will later be given to the needy. These boxes have the word Tzedakah in Hebrew, either in sticker form on the smaller boxes, or built into the LEGO bricks in the larger version.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Let's mark the fourth Sunday of Easter with Mrs. Dagsbricks' Waiting on the Women - Jesus' tomb sits open and empty on Easter morning, with the Angel just bursting to proclaim the good news.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Beginning on the second day of Passover (evening of April 4 this year) Jews begin the Counting of the Omer. This is a countdown of the 49 days until Shavuot (or Pentecost, which celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, evening of May 25 this year). The count is mandated in Leviticus 23, and a blessing is said each day. The period has also become a time of remembrance of 24000 Torah students killed either in a plague or by the Romans in the years 132-136. The 33rd day of the count is known as Lag BaOmer, which might mark the end of the plague, or else commemorate the life of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and the publishing of one of the key works of kabbalah, a day marked with bonfires. Anyway, always looking for a way to mix traditions with play, Joanna Brichetto of Bible Belt Balabusta has come up with a LEGO Omer Counter. Each day you open a door to reveal an object as you count down. The day of Lag BaOmer includes a small flame. Note the Passover Seder at the bottom and the tablets of the Law at the top to mark the start and the end of the count. Remember, Hebrew is read from right to left, so you start at the Seder in the bottom right and count your way to Sinai at the top left.
Monday, April 20, 2015
I've been waiting to post this as it was built, and I think it's now finished. Timofey_tkachev has built this really amazing Buddhist temple. I do not know if this is patterned on a specific existing temple or simply built in the style of a Buddhist temple.
He also included some interior details.
He also included some interior details.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Monday, April 6, 2015
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Passover began at sundown last night. Families around the world gathered for the Seder, the traditional meal filled with ritual. One of the staples of the gathering is the seder plate, here in LEGO by JBrick, which holds six symbolic foods that point back to the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and also the Temple. I described the details previously.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Today is Maundy Thursday, the day Christians commemorate the Last Supper. On the night that he was arrested, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples. "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." John 13:3-5 Brendan Powell Smith illustrated this scene.