Rukmini Ashtami

Vaishnavite Hindus believe that Rukmini, Lord Krishna’s primary wife and queen, was born on this day. The fast known as Rukmini Ashtami is observed by women, both married and unmarried. Rukmini, Krishna, and Pradyumna, their son, are worshipped. A Brahman priest is also fed and given dan-dakshina, or charitable gifts, on this day. Many middle-class Hindus believe that observance of this fast ensures conjugal happiness and prosperity, and that it will help them find good husbands for unmarried girls. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Men's Skirts

Outside of Western culture, men’s clothing commonly includes skirts and skirt-like garments, such as the dhoti or lungi in India and the sarong in South and Southeast Asia. Some long robes also resemble a skirt or dress, including the Middle Eastern and North African caftan and djellaba. One of the most well-known skirt-like garments for men is the kilt, which is usually made of a tartan wool and is part of traditional male garb in the Scottish Highlands. What is the Utilikilt? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Curse of the Ninth

The Curse of the Ninth is the superstition that a composer will die after writing a ninth symphony. Belief in the curse arose after Beethoven, Dvorák, and Schubert—among others—all died after composing their ninth symphonies. Mahler, perhaps the first prominent composer to fear the curse, attempted to elude it by naming his ninth symphony “The Song of the Earth,” but he died after writing “Symphony No. 9″—which was technically his 10th. Who are the other supposed victims of the curse? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Pontus

Pontus was an ancient region in northeast Asia Minor on the coast of the Black Sea. It became an independent kingdom with its capital at Amasia in the 4th century BCE. At the height of its influence under King Mithradates VI, it controlled all of Asia Minor. It continued expanding its borders until 66 BCE, when Mithradates was defeated by the Roman general Pompey the Great and Pontus was incorporated into the Roman Empire. What popular fruit of the rose family is thought to be native to Pontus? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Chilembwe Day

John Chilembwe was born in the 1860s in the African nation of Nyasaland, now known as Malawi. Dismayed by the treatment of local peoples at the hands of plantation owners, whom he charged with racism and exploitation, he and a group of 200 followers staged an uprising. They were caught and killed on February 3, 1915. Chilembwe is now memorialized as a hero for African independence and is celebrated annually on January 15 in Malawi, which attained its independence in 1964. His image on a Malawi banknote attests to his enduring popularity as a symbol of Malawi freedom and patriotism. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Beelzebub

In the Old Testament, Beelzebub is a fertility god worshipped by the Philistines of Ekron and other Semitic groups. In the New Testament, he is the leader of the devils, sometimes identified with Satan and sometimes with his chief assistant. One of the fallen angels of John Milton’s 17th-century epic Paradise Lost, Beelzebub is described by the author as being next to Satan in power. His name, Beelzebub, ultimately derives from the Hebrew words bá’al zebub, meaning “lord of” what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary