Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jamaica - The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica 1974

The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica:
National Dance Theatre Company was formed in 1962 to create an atmosphere in which dancers could create and perform works of high standards; to encourage the local public to appreciate the idiom of dance; to research and utilise authentic dance-forms and movement patterns from Jamaica and from the West Indies. During the relatively short period since its foundation it has achieved something of a reputation for artistic excellence taking its repertoire from authentic folk material. The entirely Jamaican cast has performed extensively overseas and has met with unqualified success.
The National Dance Theatre Company is a voluntary group which has managed, not only to stay alive, but also to succeed as a cultural body Financial support for the company has come from commercial organizations, from the Government in cases of cultural exchange programmes with other countries, and from individuals. The Company has managed to preserve its amateur status and remain an independent cultural body, but with professional standards.

Iraq - Popular Indutries, Handycrafts 2007

Popular Industries:

Date of issue: 22 May 2007
Denominations: 250, 350 and 500 Dinars
Stamps designed by Faruq Hassan.
Stamp dimensions: 3.60 x 2.70 cm,
Stamps perforation: Precut stamps.
Each stamp sheet consists of 2 x 5 horizontal separated by white margin x 5 vertical stamps each. All margins are white. Also released in strip format gathering the 3 stamps.
Color and Printing Method: Multicolored Lithography on glossy white self-adhesive paper.
Printed in Marj Al-Bahrain privet printing house in Baghdad, Iraq.
Quantity printed 150.000 from each stamp denomination including the 5.000 sets in strip Sheet format.

Kazakhstan - Traditional Costumes 1996

Issued on 03 December 1996
Topic: Arts & Crafts - costumes and interior decoration of the yurt.
Designer: Fig. G. Ibrayshinoy.
Printed by: Printing House Bundesdrukeray "Berlin.
Offset: on coated paper.
On a sheet of 5x2 = 10 marks. (4 clutches № 144, № 145 and № 146 two brands).
Sheet size: 197x138.

10.00 Tenge - Costume Bride. Circulation 1,016,700. (No: 144)
Release (collection) price is 20-00t.
16.00 Tenge - Suit Groom. Circulation 1,016,700. (No: 145)
Release (collection) price of 32-00t.
45.00 Tenge - The Interior of the Yurt. Circulation 508,350. (No: 146)
Release (collection) price of 90-00t.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kenya - Ceremonial Costumes 1981/ 1984/ 1987/ 1989

Kenya Tribes
We partake to facilitate your opportunity to explore and enjoy the diverse cultural and traditional practices of different tribes of Kenya.
The major tribes in Kenya are Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kikuyu and Luhya which together account for 70% of the total population. In their rural homes, these tribes exhibit distinct cultural code of practices and traditions peculiar to each [pretty different from the others]. We are flexible in these itineraries as the number of days depends on which tribe, season, occasion and distance from the starting point. Bellow is a brief description of some of the tribes adding to the marvel of this unique Nation.

This is a Nilotic tribe settled around Lake Victoria mainly due to their ageless traditional occupation of fishing. History traces their migration to this area from South Sudan around the 15th century in search of pasture and fishing areas. In real sense this is the biggest single tribal block in the country, speaking one language and believing in a common route or origin [not sub-tribes put together] and they form about 15% of the total population in Kenya, save for those in Tanzania and Uganda.
The leading lights in political arena, especially the struggle for independence from this tribe were Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Tom Joseph Mboya [assassinated in 1969]. It remains the most cohesive political block in Kenya.
The luo have influenced the music scene decisively stamping the popular "Benga style" that has since spread to other countries.
Their unique initiation, the removal of six lower teeth, has since changed and they also never circumcised nor practiced FGM. Polygamy is widely practiced and respect, recognition and preference are to those with many wives and children.
There is organization and family is part of a larger grouping of families [Dhoot] or clan, which combine to form Oganda. Several ogendni (plural for oganda) form Piny.
In Luo, age, wealth and respect are converging, and elders control family resources including representation of the family in affairs beyond the compound.
Occasional hunting sprees are organized and gathering is still practiced in small scale.

Although referred to as a single ethnic entity, Kalenjin is a loose collection of several Nilotic groups including Turgen, Kipsigis, Nandi, Marakwet and Pokot people. They have a distinct tradition and lifestyle but different dialects of the same language. They amassed a considerable political power during the leadership of president Moi [1978-2002].
Kalenjin are traditionally along the western edge of the central Rift Valley region including Eldoret, Kericho, Kitale, and Baringo and around Mt. Elgon area.
Today farmers primarily, Kalenjins were pastoralists except for the Kipsigis who still adore cattle, occasionally putting them on war-Perth with their neighbors.
They owe their farming skills to the Luo and Luhya between 16th and 17th centuries.
Koitalel, a Nandi chief, organized a heavy resistance to the construction of the Kenya -Uganda Railway causing delay until he was killed. Their doctors were women skilled in the use of herbs.
Initiation was by circumcision and age-groups set then. They are athletes, notable for world-class long distance runners.

This is the definitive symbol of "East Africa" yet forms only 5% of the total population in Kenya and Tanzania. They have conserved their ethnic identity and tradition against all odds and opposition from all corners of the world.
They still posses large herds of cattle and lead semi-nomadic life, despising agriculture and the idea of land ownership.
Their artistic traditions can be seen vividly in the striking body decorations and beaded ornaments worn by both men and women. Women are especially famous for their magnificent beaded plate-like necklaces.
Their initiation involves circumcision and part of the ceremony where a man becomes a Moran [warrior] entails men going out at around 14 years to build small livestock camps after their circumcision and only return home to marry after 8 years.
They share a lot of cultural practices and language with the Samburu of northern Kenya.

This is the biggest conglomeration of sub-tribes in to one ethnic group in the country that comprise 20% of the total population.
They are Bantu believed to have migrated to the area around Mt. Kenya, locally known to them as Kirinyaga [meaning the mountain of brightness], around the 16th century. They have the nine original clans known as mwaki, tracing their origin to Gikuyu and Mumbi. Each mwaki is made of a group of many families, Nyumba, whose administration was by the council of elders. Witch doctor, medicine man and blacksmith were highly placed.
Kikuyu God, Ngai, is believed to reside on Mt. Kenya, and even today most of their homes are built facing Mt. Kenya.
Initiation consists of circumcision of boys and clitoridectomy for girls, though the later is becoming less common.
They played a great role in the struggle for independence through Mau Mau and remained pretty dominant in politics of the country and business. The first president of the nation was a Kikuyu. This has proven to be a big source of ongoing friction with other groups and a persistent stumbling block on Kenya's path to national integration.

The Borana are one of the cattle herding Oromo peoples, indigenous to Ethiopia, who migrated into South Northern Kenya in the early years of the 20th century. They are now concentrated around Marsabit and isiolo. Life revolved around the family’s animals, traditionally cattle, but also goats, sheep and sometimes camels.
The Borana observes strict role segregation between men and women, men being responsible for care of the herds while women are incharge of the children and day-today life. Borana group may pack up and move up to four times in a year, depending on whether conditions and available grazing land. As a nomadic group their reliance on oral history is strong with many traditions passed through song.

This tiny tribal group has strong links with the Rendile. Their close neighbors on the shore of L. Turkana. The El-Molo relies on L.Turkana for their existence living on a diet mainly of fish and occasionally crocodile, turtle and other wildlife. Hippos are hunted from down palm rafts with harpoons, and great social status is given to the warrior who kills a hippo.
An ill- balance protein-rich diet and the effects of too much fluoride have taken their toll on the tribe, which, over the centuries, has become increasingly vulnerable to disease and attacks from stronger tribes. At one stage there were just 500 El-Molo, living in two small villages on islands on the lake. Intermarriage with other tribes and abandonment of the nomadic lifestyle has helped to raise their numbers to about 4000 who now live on the main land near Loyangalani. Traditional costumes are now uncommon and the traditional dorm-shapes huts of the El-molo are slowly being replaced by permanent concrete homes.

This small pastoral tribe of striking Arabic-looking people in the north of Kenya, from the shore of lake Turkana up into Ethiopia. Many Gabbra converted into Islam during the time of slavery. Traditional believes include the appointment of an abbra-olla (father of the village), who oversees the moral and physical well being of the tribe.
Fathers and sons from strong relationships and marriage provides a lasting born between clans. Polygamy is still practiced by Gabbra, although the practice is becoming less common as old attitudes to women as status symbols and unpaid workers are being eroded. Gabbra men usually wear turbans and white cotton robes, while women wear ‘kanga’, thin pieces of brightly colored cotton. Although nagaya (pieces) is a core value of thee Gabbra, tribal wars with the Samburu were once common. The Gabbra are famous for their bravely, hunting lion. Rhino and elephant in preference to weak animals such as antelope.
The Gabbra lost many of their cattle herd to drought and under pest epidemics in the 19thc and were decimated by malaria and smallpox before being driven into the chalbi desert from their lands in Ethiopia by the army of Emperor Menelik. Somehow the Gabbra survived this and today continue to live in the harshest environment in Kenya.

The Gusii inhabited an area in the western highlands, east of L.Victoria, forming a small Bantu-speaking island in a mainly Nilotic-speaking area. They were driven from their original territory near Mt. Elgon to the Kisii highlands about 200 years ago, as the Luo, Maasai and Kipsigis advanced into their lands. The Gusii strongly visited the British advance and were later consipted in the large numbers into the British army.
The Gusii family typically consists of a man, his wives and their married sons, all of whom live together in a single compound. Initiation ceremonies are performed for both boys and girls, and rituals accompany all important events. Traditionally the Gusii are primarily cattle herders and crop cultivators and some also brew millet beer.
As is the case with many of Kenyan’s tribal groups, medicine men (abanyamon’go) have a highly privileged and respected position. They are responsible for maintaining the physical and mental well being of the group performing the combined role of doctor and social worker one of more bizarre practices was (and still is) trepanning: the removal of sections of the skull or spine to aid maladies such as backache and concussion.

The Luhyas are the Bantu origin and are made up of 17 different groups. They are the second largest group after the Kikuyu, but occupy a relatively small area in western Kenya centered on Kakamega where they settled around the 14thc. Population densities here are incredibly high.
In times past Luhya were skilled metal workers, forging knives and tools that were traded with other groups, but today most Luhyas are agriculturists, farming groundnuts, sesame and maize. Small holders grow large amount of cash crops such as cotton and sugarcane.
Many Luhya are superstitious and still have a strong believe in witchcraft, although to the passing travelers this is rarely obvious. Traditional costumes and rituals are becoming less common, due mostly to the pressure of the soaring Luhya population.

The men arrived in the area North-East of Mt. Kenya from the coast around the 14th century, following invasions by Somalis from north. The group was led by a chief (Mogwe) up until 1974, when the last incumbent converted to Christianity. Justice was administered by a group tribal elders (njuuni) along with Mongwe and witchdoctor, who would often carry out summary executions by giving poison-laced beer to child to face Mt. Kenya and then blessing it by spitting on it. Circumcision is also still common

The Pokot are Kalenjin by language and tradition, but their diet is dominated by meat, supplemented with blood drawn from a cattle, milk and honey. Pokot warriors wear distinctive headdresses of painted day and feather, similar to those of Turkana. Flat aluminium nose ornaments shaped like leaves and lower-hips plugs are common among men. Circumcision is part of the initiation of men and many Pokot women undergo female genital mutilation at around 12 years old.
The postural Pokot herd their cattle and goats across the waterless samb of north lake Baringo and the charangani hills. Cattle rading and the such for water and grazing, has often brought them into the conflict with the Turkana and Samburu and the Uganda Karamajong.
Pokot hill farmers are a separate and distinct group who grow tobacco and keep cattle, sheep and goats in the hills north of Kitale, on the approaches to Marich pass. Those hill farmers have a strong craft tradition, producing pottery and mental work, as well as snuff boxes from calabashes or horns.

The Rendile are pastrolist who live in small nomadic communities in the rocky Kaisut Desert in Kenya’s northeast. They have strong economic and kinship links with the Samburu and rely heavily on camels for many of their daily needs, including food, milk, clothing, trade and transport. The camels are bled by opening a vein in the neck with a blunt arrow or knife. The blood is then drunk on it’s own or with milk.
The colonial in this region found the Rendile to be a thorn in its side, as they managed to avoid taxation and forced labor through indifference and outright hostility. Rendile society is strongly bound by family ties and those center around monogamous couples. Mothers have a high status and the eldest son inherit the family wealth. It is dishonorable for a Rendile to refuse a loan, so even the poorest Rendile often has claims to at least a few camels and goats.
Rendile warriors often sport a distinctive visor-like hairstyle, dyed with red ochre while women wear several kilos beads.

Closely related to Maasai, and speaking the same language, the Samburu occupy an arid area directly worth of Mt. Kenya. It seems that when the Maasai migrated to the area from Sudan, some headed east and became the Samburu.
Like the Rendile, Samburu warriors often paste their hair with red ochre to create a visor to shield their eyes from the sun. Age is an important factor in assigning social status and a man passes through various stages before becoming a powerful elder in his 30’s.
Circumcision heralds a boy’s transition to a moran, while female genital mutilation is performed on the day of marriage for girls (usually at around 16 years old). After marriage, women traditionally leave their clan, so their social status is much lower than that of men. Samburu women wear those similar colorful bead necklaces to the Maasai. Samburu family live in a group of huts made of brunches, mud and dung surrounded by a fence made of thorn bushes. Livestock, which are kept inside the fence perimeter at night, are used for their milk rather than for meat.

Nomadic, camel-herding Somali have long lived in the arid deserts of Kenya’s northeast. Indeed, the cushites-speaking peoples, amongst whom the Somalis are numbered, arrive in Kenya before any of the Bantu-speaking people. The northern towns where Somali are in the majority are now largely off limits due to security concerns where they often run hotels, general stores and mechanical workshops.
Somalis are generally tall and thin with fine equiline feature and all heil from the same tribe, which is divided into nine clans. The clan in particular and genealogy in general is of tremendous people; storytelling and poetry are considered highly.
Many Somalis claim to have originated in the Arabian Peninsula, but historical and linguistic evidence disputes this.

Kenya 1981 - Ceremonial Costumes

Issued on 18 December 1981

0.50 Kenyan Shillings - Kamba

1.00 Kenyan Shillings - Turkana
2.00 Kenyan Shillings - Giriama
3.00 Kenyan Shillings - Masai
5.00 Kenyan Shillings - Luo

Kenya 1984 - Ceremonial Costumes

Issued on 05 November 1984

0.70 Kenyan Shillings - Luhya

2.00 Kenyan Shillings - Kikuyu
3.50 Kenyan Shillings - Pokomo
5.00 Kenyan Shillings - Nandi
10.00 Kenyan Shillings - Rendile

Kenya 1987 - Ceremonial Costumes

1.00 Kenyan Shillings - Embu
3.00 Kenyan Shillings - Kisii
5.00 Kenyan Shillings - Samburu
7.00 Kenyan Shillings - Taita
10.00 Kenyan Shillings - Boran

Kenya 1989 - Ceremonial Costumes

1.20 Kenyan Shillings - Kipsigis
3.40 Kenyan Shillings - Rabai
5.50 Kenyan Shillings - Duruma
7.70 Kenyan Shillings - Kuria
10.00 Kenyan Shillings - Bajuni

Poland - Regional Costumes 1959

0.20 Polish Złoty - Rzeszow Costumes/ Strój Rzeszowski
0.60 Polish Złoty - Kurpiowski Costumes/ Strój Kurpiowski
1.00 Polish Złoty - Silesian Costumes/ Strój Śląski
2.50 Polish Złoty - Góralski Costumes/ Strój Góralski
5.60 Polish Złoty - Szamotulski Costumes/ Strój Szamotulski

Strój Rzeszowski = Rzeszów County folk costume.
Strój Kurpiowski = Kurpie County folk costume.
Strój Śląski = Silesian folk costume.
Strój Góralski = Highlander folk costume.
Strój Szamotulski = Szamotuły County folk costume.

Poland - Regional Costumes 1960

0.40 Polish Złoty - Krakowski Costumes/ Strój Krakowski
2.00 Polish Złoty - Kowicki Costumes/ Strój Kowicki
3.10 Polish Złoty - Silesian Costumes/ Strój Kujawski
3.40 Polish Złoty - Lubelski Costumes/ Strój Lubelski
6.50 Polish Złoty - Szamotulski Costumes/ Strój Lubuski

Strój Krakowski = Cracow (Kraków) folk costume.
Strój Łowicki = Łowicz folk costume.
Strój Kujawski = Kuyavia (Kujawy) folk costume.
Strój Lubelski = Lublin folk costume.
Strój Lubuski = Lubsko folk costume.

Poland - Folk Costumes 1969

0.40 Polish Złoty - Krzczonowskie Costumes/ Stroje Krzczonowskie
0.60 Polish Złoty - Lowickie Costumes/ Stroje Lowickie
1.15 Polish Złoty - Rozbarskie Costumes/ Stroje Rozbarskie
1.35 Polish Złoty - Dolnośląskie Costumes/ Stroje Dolnośląskie
1.50 Polish Złoty - Opoczyńskie Costumes/ Stroje Opoczyńskie
4.50 Polish Złoty - Sądeckie Costumes/ Stroje Sądeckie
5.00 Polish Złoty - Góralski Costumes/ Stroje Góralski
7.00 Polish Złoty - Kurpiowskie Costumes/ Stroje Kurpiowskie

Krzczonów is a village west of Krasnystaw in southeast Poland (near Zamość)
Łowicz is a small town between Warsaw and Łódź
Rozbark is a village in Upper Silesia.
Dolnośląsk is Lower Silesia. The folk costumes are from the Wrocław area.
Opoczno is a small town west of Radom.
Sącz is a name for the Beskid Sądecki region south of Nowy Sącz.
Górale is the name of the Highlanders of the Polish Tatra Mountains.
Kurpie is an area north of Warsaw.

Stroje Krzczonowskie = Folk costumes from Krzczonów.
Stroje Łowickie = Folk costumes from Łowicz.
Stroje Rozbarskie = Folk costumes from Rozbark.
Stroje Dolnośląskie = Folk costumes from Lower Silesia.
Stroje Opoczyńskie = Folk costumes from Opoczno.
Stroje Sądeckie = Folk costumes from Sącz.
Stroje Góralskie = Folk costumes from the Highlanders.
Stroje Kurpiowskie = Folk costumes from Kurpie.

Liechtenstein - Definitives, Coat of Arms 1920

The coat-of-arms of the Princely House of Liechtenstein is also used as the great arms of the nation. As the sovereign emblem of the Principality of Liechtenstein, its use is reserved for the members of the Princely House and state authorities. Private individuals may be authorized to use the great arms, if it is in the interest of the State. The arms are a history of the Princely House, and show the many different areas of Europe with which Liechtenstein has been involved, either by conquest or by marriage.

The first quarter is Silesia; the second is the arms of the Kuenring family; the third quarter, the Duchy of Troppau; and the fourth quarter, the arms of the East Frisian family Cirksena representing County of Rietberg. The base is occupied by the arms of the Duchy of Jägerndorf. The small gold and red shield of the Princely House is shown in the middle of the larger shield. The Princely hat crowns a purple cloak with ermine lining behind the large coat-of-arms.

However, when the family shield is used as the small national coat-of-arms the hat rests directly on the top of the shield.

Liechtenstein - Definitives, Coat of Arms 1920

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poland - Poland History, Polish Coat of Arms 1992

2000 Polish Złoty - Orzeł Biały 1295
2500 Polish Złoty - Orzeł Biały XV w.
3000 Polish Złoty - Orzeł Biały XVIII w.
3500 Polish Złoty - Orzeł Biały 1919
5000 Polish Złoty - Orzeł Biały 1990

2000 Polish Złoty - White Eagle 1295
Polish Złoty - White Eagle Fifteenth century
Polish Złoty - White Eagle Eighteenth century
Polish Złoty - White Eagle 1919
Polish Złoty - White Eagle 1990

Mali - Traditional Costumes 1971

0.05 Malian Franc - Malian Man Peasant (Paysan Malien)
0.10 Malian Franc - Malian Women Peasant (Paysanne Malienne)
0.15 Malian Franc - Clothing Touareg (Habillement Touareg)
0.60 Malian Franc - Grand Boubou Brode (Grand Boubou Brode)
0.80 Malian Franc - Costume Ceremony (Costume de Ceremonie)

Yemen, Republic - Handicraft in Yemen 2005

History of handicrafts:
While most of these crafts have been made for generations, the profile of many of the craftsmen has changed. Until 1948, most silversmiths were Jews. After the establishment of Israel, many of these Jews emigrated from Yemen. However, the craftsmen today will eagerly recount the history of how Muslims came to practice these ancient crafts. According to the story they tell, Imam Ahmed, the leader of Yemen at the time of Israel’s establishment, forced some skilled Jewish tradesmen to stay in Yemen an additional decade to teach the non-Jewish Yemenis their crafts. Now, these Yemenis continue to impart the trade to succeeding generations, and the crafts live on.

The old Jewish designs continue to be replicated by craftsmen in Yemen today. For example, the two most popular jambiya styles today are the badichi and the bowsani. These designs were developed years ago by two Jewish craftsmen, named al-Badichi and al-Bowsani, respectively. The beaded amber necklaces displayed in the shops today are also based on ancient Jewish designs. Additionally, some pieces made by the original Jewish craftsmen are available at the shops.

There are workshops in the larger silver shops that teach young men these crafts. One such silver workshop lies on the third floor of Ali Baba Jewelry, one of the largest shops in the Old City. In this workshop, young Yemeni men with furrowed brows stand crouched, with tools, over silver wire. Through apprenticeships at shops like Ali Baba, the skills needed to be a silversmith are imparted to future generations. These students learn the ancient skills and designs needed to make the breathtaking handicrafts.

Although the majority of silversmiths are now Muslim, some of the Jews remaining in Yemen still work with silver. Craftsmen in the Old City blithely refer to their labor as “Amal Yehudi,” or Jewish work, because of its history and because it requires patience and persistence, qualities traditionally associated with Yemen’s Jews.

Yemen, Republic - Yemen Menfolk Traditional Costumes 2005

Yemen Menfolk Traditional Costumes:
A huge majority of Yemeni men always wear a jambiya. Traditional dress is a striped futa ( loincloth), bare feet or loafers(!) , argyle socks, a raffishly wrapped turban, and a shiny Hong Kong sportcoat over a plaid shirt. Especially for rural Yemenis a Kalashnikov completes stylish dress . Police in the capital try to discourage carrying machine guns in the city without much success,as it is pretty much the equivalent of wearing a tie. The references to masculinity etc have been well established and as jambiyas are worn in front of your belly where an erection would be, it is a moot point.The Yemenis have been described as "backwards, unwashed and primitive" by other Arabs all over the Mideast and even as far as Mauretania who will in the same breath proudly assert " but my ancestors were from very respected families from Yemen". Yemenis were some of the very first Islamic converts and the oldest known mosque is in Yemen.The far southern end of the Arabian Peninsula is considered the original source of all the Semitic peoples which will naturally include Jews as well as all the Islamic Arab tribes.

I was involved in lots of discussion about jambiyas and what they mean to the Yemenis. They are emphatically tribal and status markers and Yemenis will immediately know the origins of a man by his jambiya if other tribal dress variations aren't also visual markers. I saw many Yemenis out grocery shopping who would matter -of-factly hang a bag of raisins from their jambiya hilts to snack on. A small notepad and a pen are also carried often, pushed into the belt behind the hilt. I saw a fellow with a sprig of yellow flowers carried in the same place. Of course the ubiquitous bunch of green qat shoots in plastic bags are also hung from hilts, which are saved for later in the day when most Yemenis gather with their cronies for a qat chewing session.
I don't think I saw a single jambiya, new or old, that had a blade of more than ordinary workmanship.The blades were very uniform, maybe 80% had a single flute and were about evenly divided between solid forgings and the 2 piece welded construction. Northern sibiki/ Wahhabi styles had much finer blades that showed good craftsmanship and considerable ornamentation of chased and engraved designs.
One time I'd seen a man wearing just his scabbard with no jambiya and asked my friends what that was about. Amidst general mirth and cackling I was told he'd been squabbling with a neighbor. The local qadi ( religious scholar/ judge)had confiscated his jambiya and deposited it in the pokey. This was the equivalent of locking up the fellow himself. Because of the very public embarrassment he would do everything possible to quickly resolve the dispute and recover his manhood as it were.
My friends also noted that in spite of how lethal jambiyas look,it is all but taboo to draw your jambiya in anger. Only a hothead or fool would do so as the consequences of tribal feuds ignited from such an act are disastrous in the extreme and can last for generations. It also seemed from the frequent reports of various tribal shootouts that occurred ( over maybe 4 weeks!!)when I was in Sana'a that inflicting fatalities isn't the prime thrust of tribal feuding- it was much more a sort of dangerous and entertaining sport.
The hundreds of jambiyas I saw were fairly uniform in design as far as tribal origins- the styles are very conservative , and for example Sana'a jambiyas are instantly distinguishable from Hadhramaut or Asir. Yemen is a poor country and most jambiyas are of fairly humble quality.That said, whenever possible a Yemeni will own the best jambiya he can afford.
There is a very great distinction of Yemeni and Omani daggers. Both types were traded across the entire Arabian peninsula but in examining old photos we can see that Omani types were favorites of wealthier Saudis and the Yemeni types seem to be more typical of southern Arabian tribes.
Interestingly across the Red Sea in Harar, Ethiopia, there is a large settlement of Yemenis and one sees quite a bit of Yemeni silverwork as well as jambiyas. My Yemeni friends noted that traders often had wives and households in Harar and these ties went back many generations.

Yemen, Republic - Yemeni Traditional Costumes 2003

Old-Fashion customs of Yemeni woman used to be worn with traditional jewelry and harmony between the two is a pre-requisite. Hence, traditional uniform of women in Yemen characterized by wearing a sort of jewelry that must be in fit with the clothes. This is eventually a distinctive feature of the Yemeni female habits.

Yemen, South - Wedding Costumes 1986

A wedding is a joyful is a joyful celebration and considered a welcome opportunity for a social gathering. Customs and traditions are different from one country to another, and many Yemeni customs may seem strange to a Western visitor. Among these is the fact that bride and bridegroom are selected by their respective parents.

In a strict society such as that of Yemen it is easy to see why parents are essential to the choice of a suitable marriage partner. With the exception of relationships within the family, daily life is based on a strict separation of the sexes. A young man has little or no chance of meeting women, particularly those of his own generation. Instead, he has to rely on the advice of his mother of older sisters and aunts.

The bride search: When looking for a bride, the mother and father of the son have to work closely together, as each of them knows one half of the neighbouring families. When the son has reached marriageable age (usually around 17 to 19), the mother looks out for a suitable or from their own family. The marriage of cousins is permitted and practised within Islam. The mother knows the women of the neighbourhood very well. After all, they meet almost daily for the tafrita, the comfortable social gathering of women where the latest news and gossips are swapped. Once the mother has formed her own opinion, she confers with her husband, who knows the male side of the other family very well. The dignity and status of the house from which the prospective daughter-in-law may come are carefully examined. Only when father and mother are of one mind do they consult their son. It could well be possible that he knows the young woman slightly especially if she is one of his relatives. However, it is possible that he knows nothing about her.

A day is set for the father and son to go to the house of the bride's family in order to discuss the matter. This gives the future bride, who usually already knows what the visit means, the chance to take a look at her suitor. She may even have the opportunity of serving tea or qishr to the visitors. Of course she will remain heavily veiled. Usually, she will know much more about him than he will about her. Men are simply more visible in public than women.

Once the father of the son has made his suggestion or choice, the potential father in law will ask for some time to think it over and to discuss it with his family. He will also mention that he will first ask his daughter if she agrees to the choice of suitor. Once all parties are in agreement, a time is fixed for the betrothal.

The betrothal: The betrothal feast is set for a Thursday or a Friday. Father and son, accompanied by three or four male friends or relations, visit the house of the father of the bride bringing raisins, qat and other gifts. The engagement ring is handed over to the father, together with clothes for the mother and daughter. Dates for the mother and daughter. Dates for wedding are considered, and the bride price is decided upon. The major part of the bride price, which is paid by the father of the bridegroom, is later spent on jewelry and clothes for the bride. Valuable things bought with the bride-price remain the private property of the woman, which the husband cannot touch even after many years of marriage. It functions as a sort of insurance policy and remains entirely the woman?s property even after a possible divorce.

The betrothal ceremony's is very informal and verbal. Often the bride price has not been collected yet, and the parties have agreed on a time by which the money shall have been saved up to the agreed amount. Even so, the betrothal is considered a firm promise between two families to marry their children. A withdrawal or a severe loss of face by the family in question. A three-day wedding: The wedding will last for at least three days on Friday, the free day of the week in Yemen. On Wednesday after-noon the marriage contract is signed and concluded in the bride's house. The bridegroom and the father sit opposite one another in the presence of the qadi, an Islamic scholar of the law. The bridegroom then asks his future father-in law: "Will you give me your daughter in marriage?" The father of the bride answers for his daughter: "Yes, I will give you my daughter to wife." The qadi then has to ask the father if his daughter agrees to the arranged marriage. Bridegroom and father clasp right hands. The qadi lays a white clothe over their hands and recites the fatiha, the first sura of the Koran.

The ceremony reaches its height when the father of the bridegroom throws a handful of raisins onto the carpet. All those present try to pick up as many raisins as possible for they are signs of a happy future for the couple. According to another custom, all those present give larger or smaller amounts of money, which are called out one after the other by a crier. The money is intended to cover the cost of the lavish wedding celebrations.

Laylat az-Zaffa, the most important and most public part of the wedding celebrations, takes place on Friday. The butchers come very early in the morning to prepare the meat for the lavish wedding feast. Several sheep and possibly even a calf have been purchased for the meal. Sometimes a hundred or more guests are invited for lunch and an afternoon qat gathering among the men is a common procedure.

Women from the neighbourhood arrive more often than not bringing their kitchen utensils in order to help with the tedious preparations. Several rooms, sometimes even in separate houses, are prepared for the men go to the mosque before the midday meal and say their midday prayers. On the way back, the bridegroom, wearing a traditional brand-new costume and carrying a golden sword in his hands, is accompanied by dancing singing men. Drums provide the beat for the dance. The meal itself is eaten, as usual, in a customary squatting position on the floor.

In the afternoon, the guests sit in various rooms or even on various floors. All of them chew qat and smoke the narhgile. Incense burners fueled by glowing charcoal release the scent of the incense and are passed from recites old poems, with the guests joining him from time to time. The recitation contains reminders of Islamic duties and wish the new couple Allah's blessing and a long happy married life. Whenever the qadi takes a break, a man plays the lute and sings wedding songs. Sometimes he is accompanied by the other guests using hand drums or cymbals.

Yemen, Republic - Yemen Fashions 1983

Traditional Costume in Yemen:
The Thob is the most popular traditional costume in Yemen. It is still quite popular among the young generation. Although the costume styles in Yemen differ from region to region, the traditional thob or shiwal is used by one and all. Some people cover their heads with the thob while other leave it loose and flowing. Some of the thobs are richly decorated and contains silver thread embroidery, worked on the chest, sleeves and shoulders.

Since ages, Yemen is widely known for its fabrics and textiles. Originally the Thob was black in color, but recently with indigo industries flourishing in Yemen, Indigo dyed clothes are famous not only in Yemen but also in countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Another interesting feature of Yemen’s traditional costume is the use of braids of natural color that is fitted on the cloth. Yemenis invented these dresses ages ago. They are of varied designs and shapes. The dresses and costumes have become a mark of the identity of the Yemeni culture and society.

A black cloak, known as Balto, is common among the Yemeni women. Wearing matching jewelry with the costume is an important characteristic of the traditional costume of Yemeni women. The traditional Costume in Yemen is incomplete without the veil, which most of the women population in Yemen use to cover their faces while walking on the streets.

Yemen, South - People's Costumes 1975

Yemen, South - National Costumes 1970

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Republic of Guinea - Traditional Dances 1966 (1st Series)

Republic of Guinea - Traditional Dances 1966 (2nd Series)

Republic of Guinea - Folklore 1968

0.20 Guinean Francs - Coyah, Region of Dubreka
0.30 Guinean Francs - Region of Kankan
0.40 Guinean Francs - Kankan, Upper Guinea
0.50 Guinean Francs - Forest Guinea (Guinée Forestière)
0.60 Guinean Francs - Foulamory, Region Gaoual
5.00 Guinean Francs - Cognagui, Region of Koundara
15.00 Guinean Francs - Forest Guinea (Guinée Forestière)
20.00 Guinean Francs - Coyah, Region of Dubreka
30.00 Guinean Francs - Region of Kankan
40.00 Guinean Francs - Fouta Djallon, Middle Guinea (Moyenne-Guinée)
100.00 Guinean Francs - Labe, Middle Guinea (Moyenne-Guinée)
300.00 Guinean Francs - Bassari, Region of Koundara

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jordan - Origins & Costumes 2008

Origins and Costumes
Issued on: 01 March 2008
Denomination: 100 pt, 80 pt, 60 pt, 50 pt, 40 pt

Romania - Regional Folk Dances 1981

1981 Intereuropa
Design: Rodica Coteanu
Perforation: 13 1/2
Issued: 120.000 blocks

2.50 Leu - Moldavia
2.50 Leu - Transylvania
2.50 Leu - Banat
2.50 Leu - Muntenia

2.50 Leu - Maramures
2.50 Leu - Dobruja
2.50 Leu - Oltenia
2.50 Leu - Crisana

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trinidad & Tobago - Carnivals 1979

0.05 Dollar - Burst of Beauty
0.10 Dollar - Rain Worshipper
0.35 Dollar - Zodiac
0.45 Dollar - Praying Mantis
0.50 Dollar - Eye of the Hurricane
1.00 Dollar - Steel Orchestra

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finland - Regional Costumes 1972

Face value: 0,50 Markka
Color: Multicolored
Date of issue: 19 November 1972
Year of issue: 1972
Perforation: 13 x 12 3/4
Printing method:
Num produced: 6000000
Subject: National Costumes

Regional Costumes:
0,50 Markka - Costume from Pernio 11th century.
0,50 Markka - Costume from Tenhola 17th century.
0,50 Markka - Costume from Nastola 18th century.
0,50 Markka - Costume from Voyri 18th century.
0,50 Markka - Costume from Inari 19th century.

Finland - Regional Costumes 1973

Face value: 0,60 Markka
Color: Multicolored
Date of issue: 10 October 1973
Year of issue: 1973
Perforation: 13 x 12 3/4
Printing method:
Num produced: 5000000
Subject: National Costumes

Regional Costumes:
0,60 Markka - Costume from Kaukola 13th century.
0,60 Markka - Costume from Jaaski 18th century.
0,60 Markka - Costume from Koivisto 18th century.
0,60 Markka - Costume from Sakyla 18th century.
0,60 Markka - Costume from Heinavesi 18th century.

Burundi - Traditional Dances (New York Expo) 1964

Music and musical instruments of Burundi
General description:
Burundi - one of the ancient kingdoms of Central Africa, to the east of Lake Tanganyika - is now a republic of 6,373,002 inhabitants (according to a 2002 estimate) with an approximate surface area of 27,834 km2 and a population density of 228.96 per km2. Its language, Kirundi, is part of the Bantu family of languages and is very similar to Kinyarwanda and Giha, the languages spoken in the ancient neighbouring kingdoms of Rwanda and Buha respectively. Buha is now part of the Republic of Tanzania and Rwanda has become an independent republic.

Apart from Rwanda and Tanzania, Burundi is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its orographic relief is dominated by Mount Heha, with an elevation of 2,760 metres. The country's main conurbations are Gitega, Bururi, Rumonge and Ngozi.

Burundi is inhabited by three population groups: the Tutsi, the Hutu and the Twa. The main activities in which these three groups have traditionally been engaged have always been agriculture (millet, sorghum, maize, sweet potatoes, beans, bananas, …) and stock rearing (cattle: the ankole breed of cow; small livestock: goats, sheep, chickens and, more recently, pigs). However, a certain number of trades and secondary production activities are also practised, such as beekeeping, pottery, woodworking, metalworking, basketry and weaving, hunting, jewel-making, etc. Most of these professions are liable to be lost following the introduction of western-made products which are often more practical and effective.

Music and musical instruments of Burundi
General description:
Burundi - one of the ancient kingdoms of Central Africa, to the east of Lake Tanganyika - is now a republic of 6,373,002 inhabitants (according to a 2002 estimate) with an approximate surface area of 27,834 km2 and a population density of 228.96 per km2. Its language, Kirundi, is part of the Bantu family of languages and is very similar to Kinyarwanda and Giha, the languages spoken in the ancient neighbouring kingdoms of Rwanda and Buha respectively. Buha is now part of the Republic of Tanzania and Rwanda has become an independent republic.

Apart from Rwanda and Tanzania, Burundi is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its orographic relief is dominated by Mount Heha, with an elevation of 2,760 metres. The country's main conurbations are Gitega, Bururi, Rumonge and Ngozi.

Burundi is inhabited by three population groups: the Tutsi, the Hutu and the Twa. The main activities in which these three groups have traditionally been engaged have always been agriculture (millet, sorghum, maize, sweet potatoes, beans, bananas, …) and stock rearing (cattle: the ankole breed of cow; small livestock: goats, sheep, chickens and, more recently, pigs). However, a certain number of trades and secondary production activities are also practised, such as beekeeping, pottery, woodworking, metalworking, basketry and weaving, hunting, jewel-making, etc. Most of these professions are liable to be lost following the introduction of western-made products which are often more practical and effective.

Cultural field
a) Cultural variation
It is generally admitted that the culture of central Burundi (Muramvya, Ngozi and Gitega territories) is representative of the culture of the whole country but major variations are seen in the peripheral territories: the Rusizi plain and the Imbo region in the west, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Buragane and the Moso in the south and south-west respectively, bordering Tanzania. These variations exist in other regions, but are less pronounced than in the four areas mentioned, and are due to the proportions of a particular population group over another and to each group's way of life (agriculture, livestock, pottery or other trade, …).

b) The arts
The cultural aspects associated with the arts in Burundi are numerous, rich and varied. Here, we discuss the artistic field of music and dance.

Every Murundi is a musician at heart, according to Ntahokaja in his article entitled La musique des Barundi (The music of the Barundi), (in: Grands Lacs, 1948-1949, 4-5-6: 45-49). His soul is a taut string which vibrates at the slightest breeze. He sings for all events of life, joyful or sad. The Barundi possess a broad repertoire of songs adapted to all states of mind and all circumstances of life. Joyful songs and sad songs - the latter fewer in number - enhance family and official gatherings, accompany certain rituals and ceremonies and are associated with certain trades.

These include the following:
1) uruvyino singing (imvyino in the plural)
Ntahokaja speaks of uruvyino singing as "mass singing", practised among most of the population. At family celebrations, for example, the singing rises spontaneously from among those present. As the beer glasses are emptied and hearts open, the people are seized by a rousing, lively and cheerful melody. The imvyino style is that of verse and refrain. A (male or female) soloist sings the verses, which are improvisational and have colourful, charming words. The audience, singing in chorus, takes up the refrain - a short, highly rhythmic phrase which is always the same within one song. This song is often accompanied by hand-clapping and possibly also dancing.

The imvyino dance songs may also be categorized depending on the circumstances of their performance.
Dance songs at meetings of young girls .
Private meetings of young girls from the same group of friends, taking the opportunity to exchange their views on life, their respective family situations and for advice given by older to younger girls. The songs sung on this occasion are full of advice and elements critical of society.

Dance songs accompanying a wedding celebration : Songs to prepare the future bride, giving advice on the way she has to behave with her in-laws; songs during the bridal procession, songs when the procession leaves at the end of the ceremony. This category of songs also includes those sung to mark the various traditional and compulsory visits to the families of the two newly-weds after the wedding.

Dance songs at the birth of a child. These songs are performed by family, friends and neighbours to salute a mother who has passed the test of bringing a baby into the world, and to greet the baby as he enters society. These dances acquire special, ritual solemnity when they celebrate the birth of twins; this is an event almost within the realm of evil. The dances performed then become part of a rite to correct this abnormality and to protect the family.

Dance songs of the Kiranga , or Kubandwa cult. On the whole, while the content of the songs and the form of the words fall within the ritual and reserved domain, the method of dancing follows that of profane dance singing.

Dance songs of the umuganuro. The celebrations of the First Fruits and of sowing the sorghum have been associated with a certain number of rituals involving the beating of drums, accompanied by dancing. The drummers are known as the Abakokezi (keeping the basic rhythm of the drums) and the Abavuzamurishyo (following the movement of the dancer).

Dance songs for entertainment during shared, family occasions, at the end of ploughing or other joint activities where the warmth of the occasion - especially when drinking is involved - leads to spontaneous dancing.

Trade songs giving rise to dancing: hunting, beekeeping, cattle rearing, fishing, metalworking, etc., generally have rhythmic songs to accompany the work. For example, hunters have many songs in which they praise their hunting dogs. The following are some examples: the chant of the churn, the song of the mortar, the song of the beekeeper, the song of the beaters (hunting), the song of the gleaners, the song of the sower, the weeding song, etc.

The war dances of the intore:
rhythmic dance in strict lines, with weapons: spears and shields, leopard skins, headdresses, pearl costumes and bells on the feet:
* Presence of a leader to encourage the dancers with lyrical odes, war-like panegyrics: (amazina y'ubuhizi ) and (amazina y'intore).
* Parade dance (kwiyereka) in a winding line reminiscent of the Indian line during which the warrior-dancers display their weapons.

Burundi - Traditional Dances (New York Expo) 1965

2) ururirimbo singing (indirimbo in the plural)
The songs known by this name are sung by a single man or by a small group. Ururirimbo singing is that which best translates calm, subtle feelings. Its themes are prolific and its text is always constructed in poetic form. Ntahokaja observes a resemblance between ururirimbo singing and plainchant: clarity of melody and absence of chromaticism.

Within this category of indirimbo singing, the following classification may be proposed:
* kwishongora singing : recitative lyrical declamation, with long phrases: traditionally, songs in praise of the king, princes and other important people of the country. Never danced since the rhythm is free, it concentrates on the quality of the text, presented as a lyrical poem. In general, the song is sung by one person but there may be occasions when some parts of the song are sung in chorus;
several other types, including:
* igitito (ibitito) singing: sung legend or story;
* ikilito (ibilito) singing: evening song, type of elegy interspersed here and there with a highly sentimental lament. A song for young girls during family evenings;
* pastoral singing: pastoral songs can be placed in the category of pastoral eulogies alongside recited poetry (ibicuba, imivovoto, amazina y'inka ). Among these we note: odes sung in honour of herds and rondos sung on returning from transhumance (some of these rondos can be danced). The main themes of these songs are: the breeder and his wealth, happiness and prestige, the usefulness and beauty of his cows, their origin, their fertility, satire directed at apprentice shepherds, etc.;
* war songs: war songs are related to war poetry (amazina y'ubuhizi , amazina hy'urugamba or amatazirano y'ibyivugo), recited in the form of autopanegyric odes;
hunting songs: gukokeza or rousing the hunting dog;
* lullabies: icugumbiro, igihozo ;
* epithalamia or wedding songs;
* chantefables or sung short stories (in prose): sung historical accounts and legends;
* laments and other songs: songs for two alternating choirs, ikimpwiri; post-drinking songs, amayaya, milling songs, indengo;
* modulated greetings: akazihi , agocoya, agahibongozo, akayego;
* incantations: genre associated with the incantatory magic of the past, now sung purely for evening entertainment. The genre may be based on incantatory recitation or declamation, uniquely vocal singing or accompanied by a musical instrument (zither, musical bow). Contexts:
*) pastoral: to beseech the cow to mate, to beg her to give milk, in the Kiranga cult;
for the soothsayer: to beseech fate to give clients or to heal his patient;
*) other songs, not mentioned here, vocal or accompanied by musical instruments.

3) Instrumental music
Among the types described above, some are accompanied by a musical instrument, whether this be the dance song or the type known as ururirimbo. Some instruments may produce instrumental music, not accompanied by voice, while others may be played in a group or as solo instruments.

The main musical instruments are:
a) ingoma drums:
The Burundian drum is made from a piece of tree trunk cut from certain forest species. An adult ox's or cow's skin is stretched over this hollowed-out section of trunk and secured to the wood using wooden pegs. In general, the drum is played with sticks. The drummed rhythms of Burundi differ from those of Rwanda in terms of their rhythms and their more spectacular staging than that of the drums of Rwanda, with a more melodic and generally rigid technique. As in Rwanda, the term ingoma in Burundi has a very wide semantic field; it can refer to percussion drum, ritual drum, dynastic drum, power (royalty or otherwise), reign (or equivalent), government, era, particular country (kingdom). Equally, as in Rwanda, nobody in Burundi could manufacture a drum or have a drum manufactured without a formal order from the king, who alone held the privilege of owning the drums and having them played for himself.

In ancient Burundi, drums were much more than simple musical instruments. As sacred objects, reserved solely for ritualists, they were only played under exceptional circumstances and then always for ritual purposes: the major events of the country were heralded by their beating - coronations, sovereigns' funerals - and, in the joy and fervour of all Burundians, they kept rhythm with the regular cycle of the seasons which ensured the prosperity of the herds and fields.
Nowadays, the drum remains an instrument that is both revered and popular, reserved for national celebrations and distinguished guests. The ancient lineages of drummers have kept their art alive and, in some cases, have had great success in popularizing it around the world (L. Ndoricimpa and C. Guillet, Les tambours du Burundi (The drums of Burundi) 1983: 4).

Royal drums: the palladium karyenda drum, which was only brought from its sanctuary on very rare occasions, particularly during the rites associated with the umuganuro - celebrating the sowing of the sorghum - and its secondant, rukinzo. Some of the tasks of the latter are reminiscent of the indamutsa drum of Rwanda: taking part in the ceremony of the king going to bed and getting up and, generally, marking out the rhythm of the life of the court; also the fact that it was renewed with each change of reign. Note that the rukinzo drum accompanied the king everywhere he went.

The drum sanctuaries
A tight network of mythical high places formed the political, religious and mythical framework of precolonial Burundi. Among these high places we can include the drum sanctuaries. These were properties owned by the mainly Hutu lineages and they alone, with the king's consent, held the privilege of manufacturing, playing and keeping drums and of bringing a certain number to the court on the occasion of the ritual of the umuganuro. These Abatimbo drummers, "those who hit hard", are probably a remnant of the ancient organization of Hutu principalities before the Tutsi conquest of the country. A sacred drum was enthroned in each sanctuary, surrounded by its attendants, the ingendanyi drums, and a set of drums that played for them.

Four examples of sanctuaries:
* Gishora (hill), not far from Gitega: sacred drums kept there: ruciteme (for whom one clears brush) and murimirwa (for whom one ploughs) + maintenance of sacred python in a nearby copse. Lineage of Abanyakisaka drummers;
* the Higiro hill, also not far from Gitega: the sacred inakigabiro (lady of the land) drum. Lineage of the Abashaka drummers;
* Magamba hill: the lineage of the Abazimbura of this sanctuary was responsible for renewing the rukinzo drum with each change of reign;
* Banga: lineage of the Abanyuka and the Abashubi in the service of the nyabuhoro drum (the dispenser of peace).

b) The inanga zither:
The Burundian zither player produces his piece in a low, whispering voice, so as not to mask the tone of his instrument. Apart from the pieces for the inanga, the instrument can accompany indirimbo songs and imvyino dance songs.

c) Other instruments:
* aerophones:
the flute: umwironge
calling horns (trumpet, ivory horn, cornet: ikihuha, indoromyi, inzamba
whistle: ifirimbi, ishoro, irango
mouth whistling: kuvuza uruhwa

* idiophones:
rectangular rattle: urukayamba
gourd rattle with several acoustic elements: ikinyege (ibinyege)
the iyebe (amayebe) rattle
the inzogera and iyugi (amayugi) bells
the small bell: umudende
the lamellophone: ikembe
hand-clapping: gukoma amashyi

* chordophone with bowed string:
the monochord fiddle: indigiti
the musical bow: idono (indono)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Spain - Autonomous Regions 2010

Issue date: 02 January 2010
Stamping: Offset
Paper: Autoadhesive fosforescente
Perforated: 13 3/4
Size of the Stamps: 35 x 24,5 mm. (horizontales)
Block sheet size: 166 x 63 mm. (horizontal)
Face value of the stamps: Tariff A (1 sello = carta normalizada hasta 20 gr. para España)
Fold effects:
Edition: Ilimitada

The series devoted to the Autonomous Communities (regional governments) of Spain, is issued in a booklet format of eight self adhesive stamps with a domestic A rate depicting the facades of the Congress and Senate and the outline of the map of six Autonomous Communities with their flags.

The Congreso de los Diputados (Congress) is the constitutional body representing the Spanish people. The representatives are elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation in constituencies matching the Spanish provinces. Together with the Senado (Senate), it holds the legislative power in Spain.

The Spanish Senate (Senado) is the upper house of Spain's parliament, the Cortes Generales. All senators serve four-year terms and meet in the two plenary sitting sessions that take place throughout the year or on initiative of the Government, the permanent deputation or by a majority vote of either the Congress or the Senate.
La Rioja, in northern Spain, is an autonomous community since 1982. Its capital is Logroño and its flag is made up four horizontal stripes in red, white, green and yellow.

Castilla-La Mancha is divided into 5 provinces: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo where the regional parliament is. It is an autonomous community since 1982 and its flag is a rectangle divided vertically into two equal squares: the first, by the flagpole, is bright red with a golden castle and the second one is white.

The Comunidad Valenciana is also an autonomous community since 1982 and is divided into three provinces: Alicante, Castellón and Valencia. The seat of the government is in Valencia and the flag design is four red stripes over a yellow background with a blue vertical stripe by the flagpole.

Canarias is also an autonomous community since 1982. It is an archipelago made up of the islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. The seat of the Parliament is in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The flag is vertically divided in white, blue and yellow.

The Region de Murcia was also granted its autonomous community status in 1982. Its flag is red with four golden castles on the left hand corner and seven royal crowns on the bottom right hand corner.

Since 1982 Aragón has also the status of autonomous community and comprises the provinces of Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza, which is the capital city. Its flag is horizontally divided in four red stripes on a yellow background and a coat of arms.