All posts by Ian Grieve

October Horse Sacrifice

In ancient Rome, a chariot race was held in the Field of Mars on October 15. After the race was over, the right-hand horse of the winning chariot was killed as a sacrifice to Mars. There was a fight between the inhabitants of two different quarters of the city to see who could seize the head and place it in a designated spot. As soon as the tail was cut off, it was rushed to the king’s hearth so that the blood would fall on the hearth. The rest of the blood was preserved until April 21, when it was mixed in a special ceremony and given to shepherds to burn to purify their flocks. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Dorus Rijkers

Rijkers was a Dutch lifeboat captain and folk hero who became famous for his sea rescues of nearly 500 shipwrecked victims. His life-saving career began in 1872 while he was captain of his own boat. While at sea, he saved all 25 crew members of the ship Australia from drowning. He later joined a Dutch lifeboat society as a volunteer and saved hundreds of people during dozens of rescue operations over three decades. How did Rijkers get the nickname Opa, which means “Grandpa”? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sukkot

In the Biblical account of their escape from Egypt, the Jews, led by Moses, wandered in the desert for 40 years. For much of the time they lived in huts, or sukkot, made of wooden frames covered with branches or hay. The festival of Sukkot commemorates this period in Jewish history. The traditional way of observing Sukkot is to build a sukkah and live in it during the seven-day festival. A major part of the festival is the four species: a palm branch, citron, three myrtle twigs, and two willow branches. These are tied together and waved at different points in the service. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Phonograph Cylinder

The first machine to reproduce recorded sound, the phonograph, was built by Thomas Edison in 1877. Edison’s “records,” as they were called, were first made of tin foil wrapped around cylinders. Since tin foil was not a practical recording medium for everyday use and commercial production, cylinders made of wax, and later plastic, were introduced and dominated the market until the advent of disc records in the early 20th century. What band released a track on wax cylinder in 2010? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Festivals Acadiens

Festivals Acadiens is a combination of several festivals (food, music, crafts, and more) to celebrate Cajun culture in Lafayette, Louisiana. The Bayou Food Festival offers a range of Cajun cooking from crawfish gumbo to alligator sausage to corn maque-chou. The Louisiana Crafts Festival features handmade Cajun crafts and demonstrations by blacksmiths, decoy carvers, alligator skinners, and storytellers. The Festival de Musique Acadienne features centuries-old music sung in French. Lectures and workshops on the Acadian language and history are also part of the weekend. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Pattens

Pattens are various types of wooden-soled footwear, such as sandals or clogs, worn by men and women of the Middle Ages to increase their height or to keep their feet out of the mud or dirt of the street. In use until the early 20th century, pattens were worn outdoors over normal shoes and held in place by leather or cloth bands. Their name is derived from the Middle English word patin, which may come from the Old French word pate, meaning what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ironman Triathlon Championships

This grueling international athletic contest has been held since 1978 in Hawaii on Hawaii Island. It consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle race, and, for the final leg, a standard 26.2-mile marathon run. Close to 2,000 stout-hearted men and women participate, preceding the races with a Thursday night party in which they stoke up on carbohydrates. Cash prizes are now awarded at a banquet the day after the triathlon. The event is scheduled for the Saturday nearest the full moon in October so that more beach is exposed at low tide, and there is more light from the moon at night. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary