Monthly Archives: May 2019

Hildegard von Bingen

A 12th-century German abbess and visionary mystic, von Bingen reportedly began experiencing visions in childhood and eventually recorded three collections of revelations. After founding a convent, she became known as the “Sibyl of the Rhine,” and her advice was sought by Europe’s most powerful. Her other works include a morality play, a book of saints’ lives, scientific treatises, and lyrical poems set to melodies she composed. Long regarded a saint, she has never been canonized for what reason? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

First Kentucky Derby (1875)

The Kentucky Derby is a classic US thoroughbred horse race. Established in 1875, it is run annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Kentucky. The field is limited to three-year-old Thoroughbreds, and the track distance is 1.25 mi (2,000 m). With the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, it makes up US racing’s coveted Triple Crown. In front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people, the inaugural derby was won by jockey Oliver Lewis riding a colt named what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Narasimha Jayanti

In Hindu mythology, this is the day on which Vishnu appeared as the Narasimha, or Man-Lion, to free the world from the demon king, Hiranyakasipu. The king was very annoyed to discover that his own son, Prahlada, was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Then the king tried to kill Prahlada, but Vishnu appeared in the form of Narsimha and tore the king to pieces. On this day, Hindus fast, meditate, and pray for the spiritual fortitude of Prahlada. Sometimes they demonstrate the depth of their devotion by giving cows, grain, gold, robes, and other goods to the poor and the Brahmans as acts of charity. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Arnolfini Portrait

The Arnolfini Portrait (1434) by Jan van Eyck is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art history. It depicts a wealthy merchant, long thought to be Giovanni Arnolfini, and his wife. The incredible detail, realism, and use of light make this work remarkable, but it also stands out for the debate that it has inspired over the symbolism of certain elements, including the one lit candle in the chandelier, van Eyck’s unusually placed signature, and what else? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Kojiki

Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion, cannot be traced to its beginnings because until the 5th century—when Chinese writing was introduced into Japan—the myths and rituals were transmitted orally. Although Shinto has no founder and no official scripture, its mythology and ancient beliefs and customs are collected in the Kojiki—”Record of Ancient Matters.” Prepared under imperial order in the early 8th century, it is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan. What myths does it include? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Fiesta de San Isidro (Metepec, Mexico)

Although indigenous fertility rites were outlawed when Mexico was conquered by the Spaniards and converted to Catholicism, a few pre-Hispanic festivities have survived—often overlaid with Christian meaning. One of these is the Festival of St. Isidore in Metepec, where farmers honor their patron saint around the time of his feast day, May 15. The men dress up as women and accompany their plows and oxen, which have been decorated with flowers, in a procession to the fields. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Tinnitus

Affecting as many as 40 million adults in the US, tinnitus is a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in one or both ears without an external cause. The condition can be either objective or subjective. Objective tinnitus involves sounds that both patient and doctor can hear and is usually caused by turbulent blood flow through malformed vessels, tumors, or rhythmic muscular spasms. Most tinnitus cases, however, are subjective, meaning they involve sounds heard only by the patients. What causes it? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary