marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

The side of the carousel horse that faced inside -- which depends on how the carousel turns -- is known as the apprentice side for the most likely carver.

The ancient Greek word "nymph" meant not only nymph, but also bride.

Russian clothes were often embrodiered with roses, in red, about the neck, the cuffs, and the bottom hem.

It was bad manners to even mention a lady's name in the officers' mess during Victorian times. The earlier passions that lead to Orlando engrave Rosalind's name everywhere in As You Like It were no longer considered mannerly.

In a Bulgarian fairy tale featuring a samovila who became a bride when a man stole her clothes while she bathed, she doesn't find her clothes in the best selkie style; the guests at their son's christening urge her husband to give them to her so they can see the famous dance -- after all, what woman would leave her child? A samovila, as it happens.

Four German "freedom" stations broadcast from Europe at England during World War II, all of them feigning to be broadcast from England itself. One, aimed at the Communist supporting population, urged Communist revolution and freely talked of Germany atrocities and the need to support Russia.

In Eastern Europe, women normally wore their hair braided and up, as witness that folk expression described letting down hair like a witch or a rusalka.

Medieval Russian wedding feasts featured roast swan. It would be the first dish. The third serving of roast swan was the sign for the bride and groom to retire to their chamber.

In southern Greece, the wheat is planted in November and harvested by June, to avoid the heat.

In Macedonia, a woman is buried in her wedding dress. This assures that her family will recognize her in the next world.

A good number of people in Nazi Germany got their status shifted -- from Jew to Mischling, from Mischling to German -- by claiming maternal or grand-maternal infidility, like a schoolmaster's wife who claimed her actual father was an army officer and could fortunately produce witnesses who remembered the mother being very flirtatous with officers (or said they remembered). One young man's mother claimed his father was really a Bavarian peddlar. He was accompanied to his hearing by his uncle. When the official came out to summon him in, he addressed the short, dark man of the pair, who returned that he was, in fact, the Aryan uncle -- this tall, blond man was the petitioning nephew. Who won his judgment.

Russian mothers would bake bird-shaped pastries in March, and their children would set them about, singing for the birds to bring the spring.

Medieval illuminators would show Clovis being presented by angels with a blue shield showing three fleur-de-lys. The association with the flower was centuries older, and even after it took a while to establish that it's three.

In Bulgaria, unmarried young women, the Lazarki, would go about in special costumes to sing and dance at every house for good luck. The person being sung for would have a white towel put on his shoulder to indicate him. Because joining the group indicated that you were marriagable, bachelors would sometimes refuse to give up the towel; each girl would have to approach him to try to take it, and the one he gave it to, he was proposing marriage to, and she indicated her answer by how she took it.

Every culture has an age group known as elders. It's just that in many of them, it's rather small -- and young.

Rusalka are encountered often while they wear rags, and they beg for clothing. The passerby has to throw such a one some cloth, if he has to tear off his own sleeve, or disaster comes for him.

The first carousels were pulled by horses. It was steam that let them really take off.

During the Great Depression, there was a brisk market in bank passbooks, where you could get 60 or 70 cents on the dollar immediately.

To begining a wedding, Russian matchmakers would go to the bride's house and suggest, "You have a flower, we have a gardener -- perhaps we can transplant this flower?"

The vila are dangerous not only because, as water spirits, they can drown you if disturbed. They have also been known to tickle people to death.
Tags: historical tidbits

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