At every wedding we wait for the moment when we witness a bride and groom vow faithfulness to each other “‘til death us do part.” We think when we hear those words, or even more when we speak them ourselves, that death will come to visit much later, at some far distant boundary of a marital union begun today with such promise.
On the darkest day of the year, the Incas tried to tie the sun down. The Zunis kept their fire indoors and let the trash pile up in their dwellings; Zoroastrians stayed up all night and read poetry. Wild women tore the god Dionysus to pieces and ate him. There were winter solstice rituals that involved pig snouts, ghosts, the river Nile turning into wine.
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