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Life Is Just A Dream… If You Suffer From Depersonalisation That Is!
What is depersonalization? Well, it is a mental condition that can cause the nurse at a hospital suffering “burnout” to become emotionally detached, and cynical about the patients in her care, or it could be the state of mind that causes a brother to murder his sister with a hammer in an explosive fit in their home. Depersonalization is a serious condition, and the third most common form of anxiety disorder. Only now is it being taken seriously…
It has been said that the inspiration for Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream came to him as a result of his depersonalization, and it has been suggested by a top-ranking US military commander that it is depersonalization that enables a soldier to kill another human being. For many others in everyday life, it is a disturbing condition that makes them feel like they are living in a dream or a movie.
Everything seems unreal, and hazy. They find it hard to talk, and connect with others, and maybe even lose the love they feel for those closest to them. They lose a sense of who they are, and sometimes can’t remember having certain conversations, or doing a specific action. They lose all sense of what they used to consider being “normal.”
According to the Psychiatric Diagnostic & Statistic Manual, Depersonalization Disorder (DPD), causes a feeling of ‘detachment or estrangement from one’s self,’ that a person may feel like an automaton, or an outsider divorced from their body, as if they are watching their own body’s movements from across the street, or viewing their mental processes as those belonging to someone else. Some even experience de-realization too, a sense that the external world is strange or unreal.
Depersonalization affects those who suffer from severe anxiety or panic disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. It can also strike those who are afflicted by migraine, or epilepsy, but also be experienced by others without any known mental health issues simply through fear, fatigue, stress, emotional turmoil, or even meditation. And perhaps, not surprisingly, people who use recreational drugs such as cannabis have described feeling a sense of depersonalization as a result of their inhalation.
The Depersonalisation Research Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry in London has become the world’s top authority on DPD, and has many theories about the cause of the condition. One theory is that people experiencing severe anxiety or traumatic events fall into a state of depersonalization as a way of becoming detached from the situation, and thereby avoid having to cope with it. This on the face of it might seem like a good coping mechanism – but it often leads to a more permanent condition, and can then become a “chronic” case of DPD.
Another possibility is that sections of the brain that are receptive to sensory information isn’t integrating properly with the ‘temporal lobes’ that play the important role in processing the emotions we feel. This has been demonstrated in studies involving people with suspected DPD, resulting in ‘significant differences’ between those who suffer from it and those who don’t.
In other tests, people with depersonalization have been found to have a ‘low skin conductance response’ to unpleasant forms. This, says the Research Unit, suggests something is blocking the senses dealing with emotional reckoning. Measuring arousal is an important factor when gauging emotions.
Yet more studies have found that people with DPD have lost the ability to feel empathy for others. This has been measured in a series of stress tests revealing differences in heart rates, and hormonal balances.
Despite all the research, the Unit has stated that there is currently no “evidence-based” treatment for depersonalization, though further studies have indicated that forms of psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) looks the most promising as a way to combat the condition, as indeed is the case with other anxiety disorders.
Although medication, and prescribed drugs are sometimes used for people with general depression, doctors tend to veer away from this course of action when diagnosing anxiety disorders because drugs are not a long term solution and have been found to heightened the anxiety-related symptoms when people stop taking anti-depressants.
As everyone knows by now – the sun is head and shoulders above everything else when it comes to providing a source of energy for the world. It is supremely abundant with no equal – which surely makes it all the more crazier that we convert so little of it down here on Earth into useful domestic or business power.
As with any new technology, the initial costs for the ordinary citizen to utilise solar power and other forms of green energy generally restrict them from making the most of such advances. Although these costs are coming down gradually they are still high enough or require significant financial investment upfront to prevent more people from enjoying the undoubted energy savings that arise once the new system is in place.
Thus scientists and researchers continue to develop other alternatives to provide us with options that may be even better than what we have now. One new area currently being investigated by researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) centers around, of all things, plants.
As Professor Ramaraja Ramasamy of the UGA College of Engineering declared enthusiastically earlier this month, plants are the “undisputed champions” of solar power and it may be possible in the future to generate electricity from plant-based systems.
Remarkably, it has been discovered that plants can operate at almost 100% “quantum efficiency” which in other words means that they can produce an equal amount of electrons for every photon of sunlight they capture.
Professor Ramasamy’s theory and technology basically involves the thylakoids in a plant’s cell structure. It is these thylakoids which capture and store the sun’s energy to give life and wellbeing to the plant – and it is these that researchers hope can be manipulated so that the electrons from sun to plant can eventually be diverted through the use of nanotubes which will then send the electricity down a wire for man to enjoy.
When you consider that currently only around a maximum of 18% of the sun’s energy is harnessed when converted into electricity via solar panels and you can see just why everyone at UGA is excited.
There is a long way to go of course, but Professor Ramasamy is confident that plant power could one day be the new solar power.
Why Sundari Is The Perfect Skin Care Name
With age comes an unfortunate deterioration of your skin, but that can easily be reversed or even avoided with SUNDÃRI’s exquisitely natural anti-aging skin care range. Only the best ingredients are used, sourced from nature and used in a way that creates perfect skin care products that can benefit your skin in ways previously thought to be impossible.
And the way things are going; Sundari skin care may become as legendary as the young halfsister of Buddha the range is named after.
Sundari Nanda grew up to be extremely beautiful and graceful which was befitting as Nanda means “joy and pleasure.” The legend has it that when her mother, Queen Pajapati and other ladies of the Queen’s household decided to join the Holy Order of Buddha, Sundari went too.
However, the young princess found it hard to shake off the vanity that came with being much adored by all who set eyes on her as she walked around the streets and market place seeking alms in the simple robes of the nun.
Feeling guilty that she was not strictly pursuing the high ideals of the Holy Order and was succumbing to enjoying her beauty, Sundari avoided the Buddha as much as she could for fear of being admonished for her vain ways.
But she could not refuse his personal request for counsel and it was here that Buddha, seeing how enthralled Sundari was with her beauty, conjured up an exquisite image of a maiden whose beauty surpassed the young princess’s.
And then the image began to age right before her eyes; the maiden’s hair turning grey, her skin wrinkling and withering, until she finally dropped to the floor dead. But that was not the end, for Sundari then had to watch as the maiden’s body decomposed and became festooned with worms.
Thus Sundari learned about the impermanence of the body and she began to think less about outward beauty:
“I saw this body as it really is,
Both inside and outside.
Then I became disenchanted with the body,
My inward attachment faded away,
Being diligent and detached at heart,
I live in peace, fully quenched.”
— (Therigatha 82-86)
On the face of it, that may not be the cheeriest tale to be telling for an article on skin care products – but when you think about it, Sundari’s revelation is something we all aspire to anyway. We are all very aware of just how fragile our time on this planet is and our youth.
Thus preserving our looks is still something that has real meaning because at the end of the day keeping our bodies, skin and organs healthy subsequently means we get to enjoy life to the full for as long as we are here.
Looking good makes us feel good (that’s a scientific fact by the way) which is why Sundari skin care range is mainly about healing.
The healing benefits of SUNDÃRI’s products gently soothe the skin and get to work straight away, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. With regular use, you’ll start to see results from these outstanding products in no time, benefiting from all of the lovely natural ingredients and rare essences used in them. These include Gotu Kola, Indian Asparagus and Yucca, some of the healthiest and most beneficial ingredients in the world to make sure your skin is getting the best treatment, as well as looking and smelling great.
Just as the legend of princess Sundari lives on, SUNDÃRI skin care products blend modern science for immediate results with botanicals known through ancient wisdom and use over hundreds of years.
Courting Controversy: It’s Hair Extensions In The Judicial System
Back in 1992 the announcement was made that the public were going to be consulted on what was becoming a prickly issue – whether judges and lawyers should abandon the use of the judicial wig when going about their business in courts of law.
Was it time to put to bed the ceremonial white/grey horsehair hair-piece once described as insanitary, scratchy and extremely hot?
According to Lord Chief Justice Taylor at the time, it was. The feeling was these long antiquated hair extensions had lost their relevance since entering the legal halls in the 1680s. As Lord Taylor observed many Britons had become concerned that the quality of justice being meted out by those in robes and wigs did not appear to be enhanced by those who seemed to want to “live in another age.”
The wigs under fire were the short-tie variety donned by barristers that had pincurls at the side embellished by a wispy ponytail, the bob-cut wig preferred by most judges and the fullregalia wig for those most lavish of ceremonial occasions.
It was Lord Taylor’s view that archaic garments, headwear and hair accessories were seen by some to indicate “outmoded attitudes” to modern day life and society, especially when immigrants, minorities and women were at the time so hopelessly under-represented.
Lord Taylor’s view was not shared however by many (if any) of his peers in the legal profession most whom favoured keeping the status quo and a survey of 2,000 members of the public, defendants, victims, witnesses and jurors, revealed that the status and authority of the wig should continue to be upheld in the criminal courts.
A further survey in 2003 did little to alter things as far as the ceremonial wig was concerned and it was only in 2008 that a ruling was passed that decreed that judges in civil and family cases in England and Wales did no longer have to wear the scratchy hair extensions, while modifications were to be made to the robes worn by lawyer and barristers.
The wig and gown was also withdrawn from the highest court in the UK, the Supreme Court (which was set up in 2009 to replace the Law Lords). Supreme Court president Lord Phillips announced the move, saying it was “in line with the court’s goal” to make its work “as accessible as possible”.
But that was not all. A further change was announced that all advocates in a case could confer and if all agreed they would be permitted to dispense with part or all of court dress. Judges and lawyers appearing in criminal courts still had to wear traditional wigs and gowns but they could be dispensed with in cases involving children.
It is surely only a matter of time before 300 years of South London courtroom wiggery is finally banished to the broom cupboard for good.
Commercial Solar PV Power for Churches
Who says the Church of England is behind the times? Many for sure, but that may all change when they realise churches up and down the UK have begun embracing the life-force of the sun and are busy adopting the principles of solar technology.
One of the most prominent examples of a solar success story is St. James’s Church in London’s Piccadilly.
The Christopher Wren-designed church was kitted-out in 2005 with a 5kw system comprising of 40 solar panels at an overall cost of £36,000. It is now supplying all the buildings needs (including the “large office staff”) with some energy to spare which has been pumped back into the National Grid.
The church administrators say their system is providing the electrical power equivalent of a three-bedroom house and are making savings of £500 a year on their electricity bills which could be more if they sought reward for the energy they were feeding back to the Grid (something they currently don’t do).
The reward to the environment is the 1.8 tons of C02 that St. James’s manages to cut each year from not having to rely on conventional fossil-fuel energy provision.
St. James’s was able to install their system thanks to a £16,500 grant from EDF’s Green Energy Fund and £12,500 from the government’s Energy Saving Trust. The church itself contributed £7,000.
Despite initial and obvious reservations from English Heritage and the local planning authority, the result at St. James’s is a fine example of how renewable energy technology can be utilized at religious establishments without harm to the historic infrastructure of the building.
The key to that success was the use of solar panels that didn’t require bolting to the roof (a “Console System”) and the fact that they could be positioned in such a way as to make them more or less invisible from the naked eye, hence avoiding any “spoiling” of the view for visitors and congregation alike.
It’s Not Only The Church Of England
Adopting solar technology has not been confined to the Church of England, indeed the Maidenhead Synagogue recently installed a £20,000 system thanks to a combination of grants, and donations from the congregation (at £18 a cell) and is now enjoying the fruits of generating its own electricity as well as making around £1,500 by selling surplus energy to the National Grid.
For Rabbi and well-known broadcaster Jonathan Romain the project was more than an exercise in economics, explaining that the “main motive” was to fulfill Jewish teachings about preserving the environment and sustainability. He hoped that the success of the synagogue’s conversion to solar power would inspire their 800-strong congregation to follow suit and thus have a “massive knock-on effect” for Britain’s attempts to reduce its carbon footprint.
Meanwhile over in Levenshulme, Manchester, a £3.5 million “eco-Mosque” was built in 2008 with solar panels making up one component in the all-renewables-designed building. Although Al-Markaz al-Najmi isn’t 100% eco-friendly it is friendly in other ways as mosque vice-president Mustafa Abdul Hussein is keen to point out.
He told the Manchester Evening News when the mosque opened that the eco-element arose out of what a “mosque is meant to be” – friendly in every aspect which includes being friendly to the environment.
There was, he added, much greater gain to be had with a mosque that “creates its own energy.”
Al-Markaz al-Najmi is two completely different architectural styles. One side features modern Mancunian architecture while the Mecca-facing side uses traditional stone.
And, according to Mustafa Abdul Hussein it was solar panels that got the ball rolling.
Back In Black…Or Orange…Or Green…It’s The Return Of The Going Out Dress In A New Burst Of Colour
Women’s going out dresses really reached new heights in terms of design, creativity, style and innovation in the 1940s and 1950s. It led to the creation of the dress that everyone knows the world over as the ‘little black dress’ and has been a favourite for women from decade to decade ever since.
Actually the little black dress dates back to the 1920s and is the inspiration of a certain Coco Chanel. Indeed it is safe to say that the little black dress has been the most recognisable garment in women’s fashion in the 20th century and will more than likely continue to be so during the 21st.
It is the simplicity of the cut that gives the little black dress its edge over other going out dresses. The main idea was to create a dress that would be affordable and yet have mass appeal for women. And if you could create a dress like that, well, there was a good chance it would become a timeless classic.
Chanel did it way back then and there have been numerous takes on the style with every new designer of catwalk creations. And they don’t come much better than the current wave of variations as devised by the talented sisters of contemporary fashion jones + jones.
Just one look at the Jones and Jones Fashion website is all that is needed to convince that this stylish sister team from London have got flair, elegance and flirty all wrapped up in an array of sequins, chiffon and Peter Pan pleats.
And some colourful twists on the little black dress. Take for instance this:
Jones and Jones Kelly Lime/Lemon/Orange Dress – £60.00
The gorgeous scalloped edge floral lace flows along the bust and down into the cut-toperfection bodice, with the added detail of pleated straps. The box pleat full skirt has added volume from the net-trimmed petticoat and the fitted waist enhances curves. The vivid lime, lemon and orange colour makes this dress an ultimate statement piece, perfect to brighten up the day in a truly fabulous way!
Fibre Content: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton. 30 degree machine wash cycle, hand wash or dry clean.
Jones and Jones Audrey Orange Dress – £60.00
The beautifully detailed edge floral lace flows along the high neckline and down into the bodice. The box pleat full skirt has added volume from the net-trimmed petticoat and the fitted waist enhances curves in classic little black dress style…only it’s in gloriously stunning orange!
Fibre Content: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton. 30 degree machine wash cycle, hand wash or dry clean.
The secret to the success of Jones and Jones going out dresses is plain (and oh-so colourfully obvious) to see – their edgy, directional, strong, yet feminine. It’s a feminine, sexy, inspired mix of night out dress design from the 40’s and 50’s night out jet set with its own quirky, modern twist and a great mix of fabrics and tailoring designed by the Jones sisters, one loving the street trends of London and the other the opulence of the South of France.
It’s little black dress perfection – only without the black.
Understanding the Common Features of a Franking Machine
The world is full of labour-saving devices these days, but none could be more welcome to both boss and worker than the franking machine.
Invented in 1884 by Norwegian Engle Frankmussler (we’ll leave you to spot where the “frank” came from) the first machines to weigh people’s mail and affix the correct postage mark were of course operated by a manual crank system, but even then much time and laboriousness was saved in the workplace and postal rooms.
Fast forward to 2012, and the modern-day digital franking machine makes even lighter work of fixing postage to your business mail.
And naturally, there are many other features of the modern franking machine that comes with being digitally-activated.
The Principle Features Of Franking
The main function of a franking machine is to provide businesses or entrepreneurs with a means of sending their mail more cheaply and efficiently saving both the postal service and the business time and effort when dealing with mass circulations of letters and packets.
Anyone with a franking machine has to have it linked electronically to the Royal Mail via which they then pre-pay for their postage online or digitally according to the volume and type of mail they are sending. It’s as simple as that.
But apart from being cheaper to send mail, and saving time sticking stamps onto individual letters and parcels and queuing at the post office with bundles of envelopes to be weighed, the franking machine can do all this too:
Automatic Envelope Sealing
Saving more labour time, many machines on the market can automatically seal envelopes once they have made their journey through the franker, as well as open the flap of envelopes prior to sealing. You can also use the sealer function to seal other envelopes that may not be destined for postage.
Automatic Envelope Feeding
A handy advancement on the 19th century model, the automatic feeder can process your envelopes without the need for human intervention. Of course, if you don’t totally trust the machine you can always use manual or semi-automatic controls too.
Automatic Envelope Stacking
As one might expect with a fully automated system, there’s envelope sealing, envelope feeding and then automatic stacking to complete the envelope run-through. Some machines can even clear the sealed mail away.
Postage Rate & Reset Meter
Most modern franking machines linked to your online franking supplier will automatically store and update the current postage rates in tandem with the size and weight and thickness of the letter/packet you are sending.
One of the huge benefits of today’s digital/online franking machines is the ability to log and monitor all your outgoing mail expenditure, which is a great benefit for your accounting department. Keeping within budget has never been made easier on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
A vital feature of the modern digital franker is the PIN protection capability which provides peace of mind and added in-built security assurance so you will always know that your outgoing mail is being processed accurately and accountably.
The modern franking machine is capable of doing so much more than simply affixing the correct postage to your outgoing mail – it even acts as an extra publicity and promotional tool. Utilising full colour optimisation you can make your mail instantly recognisable to your clients or new marketing targets by adding your company logo or slogan (as long as they comply with Royal Mail’s strict guidelines).
How Accurate Are Vehicle Tracking Devices?
The last decade or so has witnessed a huge boom in the way space satellites are used in everyday life all around the world.
Vehicle tracking via Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is one such area that has grown exponentially since the year 2000 when mass-produced tracking devices first appeared on the scene.
The main reason for this mass-market swamping is the simple fact that vehicles can be tracked and monitored extremely accurately.
But how accurate are they really?
Well, quite genuinely we are talking a matter of metres; three to be exact (or ten feet for those who aren’t yet decimal).
Or in the case of public transport providers Arriva, they are now tracking the whereabouts and progress of their bus fleet to less than 1 metre (that’s less than 3 feet and 3.8 inches to be even more exact).
Impressed? Thought so, and its’ all down to Professor Philip Tann of Sunderland University who has devised a system that has been sending data back through the GPS network to a remote web-based server allowing Arriva HQ managers to make “real time” decisions for their fleet on the streets of Glasgow to prevent “bunching up,” and monitor traffic flow.
Oddly though Professor Tann hit upon his idea back in 2007 when he managed to beat a speeding charge in court. Prosecutors dropped the charges when they agreed that Prof Tann’s tracking device was more accurate than the equipment the police used to snare him.
It was Prof Tann’s mobile phone that came to the rescue. He had fitted a GPS device inside it that recorded the location and speed of his vehicle onto a computer database. It showed his Mercedes was travelling at 29.177196 mph at the time the camera caught him in Sunderland. According to the police camera he was doing 42 mph.
Not surprisingly, over 1,000 people in a similar position contacted Prof Tann wanting to prove themselves innocent of speeding – but of course they didn’t have his piece of kit.
Fast forward to 2012 and Prof Tann’s GPS device (as currently used by Arriva) is now available through a vehicle tracking company called FleetM8 to anyone who has fleet management concerns and is fast becoming a hit with its specially patented technology.
The Expert’s View…
In the eye of one industry expert, GPS tracking is “practically perfect” – when outdoors. When it comes to heavily congested areas the matter is a little greyer. According to Frank van Diggelen, a senior technical director for GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), GPS is more challenged than ever as people expect tracking devices and technology to work were it was never meant to – indoors, and in “deep urban canyons.”
Dr. Van Diggelen sees a time when there will be more satellites, more sensors, and more reliance on wireless and cellular technology to make GPS tracking even better and farreaching. This will arise through continued use of space satellites but mainly the triumvirate of U.S-based GNSS, Russia’s GLONASS, and Tokyo’s QZSS.
For Now Though…
Anyone in fleet management will have to put up with vehicle tracking accuracy being “practically perfect” – which is pretty damn good really when all is said and done.
Considering most fleets are road-based with location being the primary concern, knowing where your vehicles are within 3 metres of their ultimate destination (or en-route positions) can’t be bad.
Struggling To Land That New Job? You May Be Suffering From ‘Bad Habit Syndrome’
Bad Habit Syndrome? What’s that?
Well it’s a new term for all those who apply for jobs but have become subject to depleted motivation.
Okay, I confess, I just made it up.
But there is a serious point here; jobseekers are prone to falling into bad ways when it comes to applying for vacancies.
In other words, they have been applying for so many jobs without success that they are now robotically sending out CV’s and application forms without really giving due care and attention to each specific job and its specifications or job descriptions.
Studies have shown that often the biggest obstacle to someone finding a new job is the person themselves. This could be you.
People who have become weary of sending out job applications fall victim to a production line mentality and simply fill out forms and answer questions without really looking properly at what they are being asked.
Supposing you were applying for Peterborough admin jobs for example and had applied for say 15 without success. Well, it stands to reason that you would become awfully tired of having to churn out the same patter every time; anyone would.
But this is where the mentality needs to change. You may think, “Oh, maybe I need a complete change of career?” Yet admin is what you love or have trained for. It may be all you know. So you apply again.
This is the thing with disappointment; it is depressing. It does deplete the motivation.
But you need to gather your spirit, dust yourself off, and go into the next round of applications with renewed vigour and determination.
And this is where you need to really focus on each and every application as if it were a whole new field of work. Treat it on its own merits. And scrutinise every vacancy thoroughly. Read through the descriptions properly. It might be that you have been applying for jobs that are not really suited to you.
Give each company and vacancy the attention it deserves and choose which ones you apply for carefully.
Then basically give your all for every job you go for.
Because that is another key factor – negativity. If you enter every application process with a negative attitude that negativity will be reflected in the application you send off. It will be there in black and white in the questions you answer and how you write about yourself and what you can offer.
So, keep thinking big, be positive, attack every application as if it were the best job in the world.
Because simply having a positive attitude could be the difference between success and disappointment.
Latvia – A Haven for European Wildlife, Home To The Diversity Of Mankind
Even though it is bordered by Estonia to the north, Russia to the east, Lithuania to the south and the Baltic Sea to the west, nearly half of the Latvian landscape is covered by forests, free flowing rivers, and thousands of lakes making it one of Europe’s best wildlife havens. Despite being a bustling commercial region since the time of the Vikings, Latvia is still an area of natural beauty relatively un-touched and un-spoilt by man.
The fertile lowlands of Latvia are situated just 100 metres above sea level and are home to 27,000 different species of flora and fauna, as well as an abundance of otters, beavers, lynx, deer, elk, wild boar and wolves, not to mention rare species such as the black stork and lesser spotted eagle.
The name Latvia (“Latvija”) is derived from the ancient Latgallian language spoken by the early tribes of the Latgale region that formed the main ethnic basis of the Latvian people, though now a wider form of official Latvian is spoken by the indigenous population with an estimated 1.5 million people speaking the language worldwide as a first language. There are 77 towns and cities in Latvia with 23 of them populated by 10,000 inhabitants or more.
Russian, English, German, French, and Scandinavian are also spoken by Latvians and this reflects the historical and cultural changes Latvia has been through since 2000 B.C. when settlements first appeared on the banks of the River Daugava. A busy commercial site throughout its time, Latvia has endured countless occasions of foreign occupation by its neighbours but has survived with its identity intact to the point today where it is globally recognized as a fully independent democratic nation with some 2.2 million inhabitants.
Latvia has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and is also part of NATO, United Nations, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and Council of the Baltic Sea States.
The ports of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja, play a major role in the general commerce of the Baltics with the port of Ventspils being one of the hardest working in Europe in terms of cargo flow. The principal industries in Latvia are IT, electronics, chemical and pharmaceuticals, engineering, timber, construction, food processing, textiles, fishery and agriculture.
Some of Latvia’s national dishes include grey peas with bacon, bacon-filled pastries and caraway cheese, with Latvian rye bread still baked to an ancient recipe. Celebration of the ‘Jani’ summer solstice is Latvia’s main traditional holiday festival, a special three-day lighting-of-bonfires event that concludes on June 24th and features special delicacies, singing and dancing, and popular rituals in homage to the sun.