All posts by Ian Grieve

Fornacalia

The Fornacalia, or Feast of Ovens, was designed to benefit the ovens (fornices) that parched grain and was held to placate the goddess Fornix, who presided over them. It lasted a week, during which each household made an offering of far, flour of the oldest kind of Italian wheat, served in the form of cakes. According to Ovid, those who were uncertain which curia, or tribal divisions of Rome, they belonged to ended up observing this festival on February 17 instead of on the proper day. At this time a general offering of cakes was made by the whole community. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Kirishitan

The Kirishitan were Japanese converts to Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Missionary activity began in Japan soon after Portuguese shipping arrived in 1543. By the end of the century, the Japanese Christian community had grown to about 300,000—the largest non-European Christian community in the world. In 1614, Christianity was banned. Despite the threat of execution, some Kirishitan maintained their religion in secret. What tactic did the government use to expose suspected Christians? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Washington's Birthday Celebration (Laredo, Texas)

This celebration in honor of George Washington has been held since 1898 by Laredo, Texas, and its sister city on the other side of the Mexican border, Nuevo Laredo. The two Laredos (los dos Laredos in Spanish) are linked by history and by three bridges across the Rio Grande. Both cities also celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day in September. Washington’s birthday events include dances, fireworks, mariachi music, a fun run, a jalapeño-eating contest, and parades with lavishly decorated floats. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the third-largest ocean in the world, constituting one-fifth of Earth’s total ocean area and covering approximately one-seventh of the Earth’s surface. Crisscrossed by historically important trade routes, it is home to 40 percent of the world’s offshore oil production, and the relatively high traffic of oil tankers has prompted a surge in piracy off the Somali coast. Its northernmost current system usually flows clockwise, but in the winter, it reverses direction. Why? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Gullah Celebration

The Gullah Celebration takes place annually over four weekends in February on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The event showcases the history and heritage of the island’s Gullahs, the name for people of African origin inhabiting the islands and coastal areas of the southeastern U.S. Entertainment at the celebration includes storytelling, traditional gospel music, African dance, and popular R&B and jazz. An expo provides demonstrations in such traditional arts and crafts as basket-making, indigo dying techniques, African “long-strip” quilting, and weaving fish nets. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Wheel

Perhaps the most important invention in history, the wheel was—and remains—essential to the development of human civilization. The first wheels appeared in the 4th millennium BCE and were solid wooden disks. Spoked wheels were developed about 1,000 years later in Asia Minor and were used in the chariots of Caucasian horse cultures, which then penetrated into the Greek peninsula and laid the foundation for classical Greece. The spoked wheel remained in use without major modifications until when? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Adelaide Fringe Festival

Originating in the 1970s as an innovative, cutting-edge alternative to the established Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival today enjoys a synergistic relationship with its sister event, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of this Australian city during the autumn months. Held over a three-week period, the Fringe features the latest in the underground and experimental arts created by independent artists from Australia, Europe, and the United States. The program includes comedy, dance, film, music, physical theater, dramatic theater, and visual arts. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary