marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

A Tokugawa Japanese advice writer cited a proverb that a family's status could be judged by the hour of their rising. (Late rising meant declining status.)

The use of a bass viol to set pitch in rehearsal did not keep Congregationalists from objecting when it was introduced into services, and when they accepted it, the organ took still longer.

In Tibet, a dead soul was accompanied by three animals: a sheep to guide the soul, a horse to ride, and a yak to fight the wrathful spirits along the way.

Christian IX of Denmark made many brilliant marriage alliances and became known as the Father-in-law of Europe.

Chinese tombs, particularly in the Song dynasty, contained contracts buying the tomb (implicitly from the god of the earth) for "99,999 strings of cash" -- the same sort of spirit money they used to money to the dead.

Kaiser Wilhelm II was very touchy and challenged many people to duels. The way to evade them was to demand bizarre terms. Such as field artillery for weapons.

The Green Corn Ceremony of the Muskogees, centering around quenching all the fires and lighting a new, pure one before any corn could be eaten, was very long and involved. One observer noted a time when the women came and processed in, and during the time, the old men had the right to try to provoke them into laughter, and noted that the most he saw was some of the young women putting up their hands sometimes to hide a smile -- but no laughter.

Roman magical parchments often have passages of voces magicia -- that, is special nonsense language, probably stemming from garbled transmission of foreign words and presumably deemed intelligible to the angel or daemon invoked.

Shang oracle bones sometimes have notes telling whether the prediction was correct. When the king did the work, the notes always indicated it was correct.

A 17th century London minister noted that his brother's housemaid refused to sing psalms with him in a new translation, as they were now his own and not Jesus Christ's.

In Japan, the tenth month is the "month without gods" -- except in Izuma, where it is the "month filled with gods," because they congregate there.

The game Candy Land was invented to be played in polio wards.

In the Mahabharata, it is explained that only a prince or a very rich man can really offer a sacrifice. So the poor should go on pilgrimage, which exceeds it.

In Tibet, the practice of fasting was said to have come from a time when the Buddha converted a cannibalistic (or meat-eating, depending on the legend) demon by stealing one of her children and refusing to give him back until she and her brood gave up the practice. She came to see that her victims' parents suffered as she had suffered, and so they fasted to purify themselves. It worked so well that it was codified for mere humans.

A bride, according to a bishop in late antiquity, should wear not golden ornaments but her ordinary clothes.

One pilgrimage in India involves circumabulating a river. It takes three years on foot. Many pilgrims do it in stages, taking up where they left off on return.

A Japanese authority on ritual puppets said that confining them to the stage is like caging a wild animal: it destroys their wild and raw nature. They performed in shrines, on docks, at roadsides, and other places.

Landscape painting only became a distinct genre in Europe in the Rennaissance and took some time to get popular. (Changing attitudes about landscapes were involved.)

A Confucian once discussed a tale where people invoked the Purple Maiden Goddess, and the young daughter of the household had come to them. He didn't know what it meant.

Jefferson concluded that the United States would soon return to a dependence on European manufactures. After all, in Europe, people were forced into manufacturing because they could not cultivate the land, there not being enough. There was plenty in America. Just as well because the percentage of husbandmen determined the lack of corruption in the state. (Though he later concluded that in fact, the American manfacturer was not in the dependent position of the European one, thus

In late antiquity, in Roman law, a defendant accused of murder or robbery could not stand where the judge could see or hear him. The judge's questions and the defendants were transmitted via an intermediatary.

The Shinshu sect in Japan was known as the "does not care" sect because they would just leave the bones of the dead in the crematorium, and not erect memorials, either.

Sephardic Jews in the colonies to be the United States held that reciting prayers should be done so quietly that the person next to you could not make out the words, and lay heavy emphasis on the cantor's ability to correctly pronounce Hebrew, rather than his voice or his ability to add flourishes. This lead to some culture clashes with Ashkenazic Jews.

Filipino folklore held that those who were stabbed, shot by arrows, or eaten by crocodiles, went to heaven by means of the rainbow, and became gods.

It was un-Confucian for anyone to offer sacrifice to any being the emperor did; lesser people were more limited. Even a noble could only offer to natural forces and local worthies when he had a connection to the appropriate region.

A 19th century American food reformer cited not only the food was more healthy, but that it saved time. He lamented that a woman would spend three months of her life making cheese. What wonderful works she could have accomplished doing something actually useful?

In the 18th century, there were Japanese who denied that Amaterasu could be the sun -- she had only the human form that was the ancestress of the imperial line, and she had died in the Age of Gods -- which one writer attributed to imported Chinese logic.
Tags: historical tidbits

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