marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

tidbits cross time

One reason why late twentieth century Japanese farmers preferred that their daughters marry city men is that the wedding rituals kept up rurally were much more extensive and elaborate than those used in urban areas, at a much greater expense.

Marco Polo, returned from the east, was known in Venice as "Il Milione" for the extravagance of his tales.

In Victorian England, the groom of the chambers's last duty of the day was to hand each lady and gentleman a candlestick for getting to bed. (In households prosperous enough to have one.)

The first beliefs about the cherry blossoming in Japan revolved about the rice harvest -- the longer the blossoming, the better the harvest.

In colonial Boston, wooing a woman without her parents' consent was criminal, and a number of fines were indeed levied for the offense.

There was a century in which male servants were taxed in England. It helped increase female employment there; even the greatest households had three times as many women servants as men by the Victorian era.

In medieval Japan, "nontaxable" also meant "marginal, non-resident." Residents (if not samurai) were taxable.

In colonial New England all sorts of men could perform a wedding ceremony -- except ministers, who were specifically forbidden. At first. It slipped later.

The introduction of octane ratings meant the decreasing importance of brands for quality, so they had to resort to such things as eye-catching stations, clean restrooms, and service -- cleaning windows, checking oil -- to keep the brands going.

One shogunate decree forbade farmers from eating large amounts of rice on ordinary days and encouraged them to eat other grains.

Once the aristocrats had foregone the use of servants at breakfast in Victorian England, they vanished from the meal all over. Luncheon was a semi-social meal among aristocrats, and the older children could attend; instead of pairing off as for dinner, the women went in first, still wearing all their outdoor clothes, followed by the gentlemen.

America's World War II propaganda office, the Office of War Information, had a major purpose in corralling private propaganda, such as setting weekly campaigns so that the public would not be buffeted with so many suggestions as to what they could do that they gave up, or suggesting that magazines ought to deal circumspectly with wartime temptations to loose living -- and in particular, not suggest that women in war work were more likely to be unfaithful than the general population. (One confession magazine did run patriotic war-work stories before it was instituted, but kept the sleazy elements they had used all along.)

Meat was officially instated at the imperial palace after the reopening of Japan -- a shocking development, and ten monks of a mountain order entered the palace to plead that this sort of impurity not be permitted. Part of it was that one modernization attempt called on Japanese to adopt meat-eating as a way of ensuring they were not left behind by the meat-eating powers.

Victorian footmen had to be tall -- six feet or over.

In colonial New London, one couple insisted on not letting any ceremony presided over by some magistrate be held; they didn't need it to be married. One magistrate met them on the street and demanded of each of them whether they really were insisting on taking the other. They both agreed, and he solemnly pronounced them married by virtue of his authority. The man admitted that was a good one.

When giving money, as at funerals, or weddings, or to children on New Year's, in Japan, it's important that it be clean money, new bills put in special envelopes.

There's a legend that Jane Seymour married Henry VIII in the barn at her parents' house. The problem being that a royal visit like that would have been well recorded, and cost a bundle.

When they introduced self-serve to Britain, gas companies found that women, who would follow the directions like a recipe, took to it more readily.

Kublai Khan was interpreted as Prester John by some people in medieval Europe.

The Kabuki play of the Forty-Seven Ronin was so popular that theaters in debt would automatically stage it, because they could count on the audiences.

One Victorian cook quit when she found that her baronet employer actually worked as a doctor.

When people kept making fortunes in Venice even though their families did not have a seat on the Great Council, and so were not noble and written into the Book of Gold, the nobles contained the issue by creating a second class that distinguished itself from the mere populace: citizens. Their names were recorded in the Book of Silver.

After Japan was re-opened, some modernizing souls attacked the cherry tree as a part of the feudal past. Some even chopped some down.
Tags: historical tidbits

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