Monthly Archives: February 2019

Paczki Day (Thusty Czwartek)

Paczki Day is a day in early to mid-February in Poland and the United States on which a rich, jelly- or crème-filled doughnut is traditionally eaten in anticipation of the 40 days of fasting required during the religious season of Lent. In Poland, the observance of Paczki Day is known as Thusty Czwartek, or Fat Thursday; in the United States, Polish-Americans celebrate Paczki Day on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which signals the beginning of Lent. Paczki are made of dense, rich dough that is deep-fried and may be filled with fruit-flavored jam or crème. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Guanyin

A popular Mahayana Buddhist deity, Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva—enlightened being who defers Nirvana to help others—of infinite compassion and mercy. He is said to be the creator of the fourth world, the actual living universe. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is thought to be reincarnated in each Dalai Lama to preserve Buddha’s teachings. However, in China and Japan, his gender became ambiguous, and he evolved into the goddess of mercy known as Guanyin. How does Guanyin differ from Avalokitesvara? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia

The Carnival celebrations in Oruro, Bolivia, continue for an entire week and include music, dancing, eating and drinking, and offerings to Pachamama, or Mother Earth. The highlight is the parade that begins with a series of vehicles carrying items made from gold and silver. Next are the Diablos, costumed with horns made from plaster; the Incas and the Tobas, who perform war dances; the llama drivers, or llameros; followed by the Callahuallas, or witch doctors. The parade ends with the entry of all into the church for a mass in honor of the Virgen del Socavón. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Encyclopédie

Published under the direction of Denis Diderot, Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiersEncyclopedia, or Classified Dictionary of Sciences, Arts, and Trades—was one of the principal works of the Enlightenment. Inspired by the success of E. Chambers’s British Cyclopaedia; or An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, the first 17 of an eventual 35 volumes were published between 1751 and 1765. Who were some of its notable contributors? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Molotov Cocktail

A Molotov cocktail is a makeshift bomb made of a breakable container, often a glass bottle, that is filled with flammable liquid and given a simple fuse, which is lit just before it is hurled at a target. It was named for Vyacheslav Molotov, a Soviet statesman who negotiated the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany. A communist from 1906, he changed his name from Skriabin to Molotov—which means “hammer”—to escape imperial police. Why was the weapon named for him? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ayyam-i-Ha

Also known as Days of Ha, the Ayyam-i-Ha are intercalary days (extra days inserted in a calendar) in the Baha’i calendar. The calendar is made up of 19 months of 19 days, plus the period of four days added between the 18th and 19th months, which allows for the year to be adjusted to the solar cycle. The days are set aside for rejoicing, hospitality, gift-giving, special acts of charity, and spiritually preparing for the Baha’i fast from March 2-20. The new calendar was inaugurated by Mirza Ali Mohammad, known as the Bab, founder of the Babi religion from which the Baha’i faith emerged. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The History of Surgery

Though administering anesthesia to surgical patients only became common practice in the mid-19th century, operations have been performed since prehistoric times, when sharpened flints served as surgical instruments and trepanation—the oldest operation for which evidence exists and one involving drilling a hole in the skull—was used to treat a host of maladies. Early civilizations also developed amputation, cauterization, and suturing techniques. When did the practice of cosmetic surgery develop? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary