One sign of rain that farmers once searched for was for their pigs to pick up sticks and walk around with them in their mouths.
During the Civil War, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant believed that onions would prevent dysentery and other physical ailments. He reportedly sent the following message via wire to the War Department: "I will not move my army without onions." Within a day, the U.S. government sent three trainloads of onions to the front.
Contrary to popular belief, there are almost no Buddhists in India, nor have there been for about a thousand years.
On the stone temples of Madura in southern India, there are more than 30 million carved images of gods and goddesses.
One superstition says that if a girl leaves her house early on Valentine's Day and the first person she meets is a man, then she will be married within three months.
Less romantic was the old historical opinion that Valentine's Day is a good day to prepare eels for the purposes of magic. Eating an eel's heart was once believed to enable a person to see into the future.
The reason one wears a wedding ring on the third finger is that (tradition says) there is supposed to be a vein which goes directly from that finger to the heart—i.e., the seat of love. Also, not everyone wears that wedding ring on the third finger of the LEFT hand. In some traditions, such as the Jewish one, it is worn on the right hand. Also, I'm given to understand that nuns ("brides of Christ") wear a wedding ring, again on the right hand.
To prevent evil spirits from entering the bodies of their male children, parents dressed them in blue. Blue was chosen because it's the color of the sky and was therefore associated with heavenly spirits.
Girls weren't dressed in blue, apparently because people didn't think that evil spirits would bother with them. Eventually, however, girls did get their own color: pink. Pink was chosen because of an old English legend which said that girls were born inside of pink roses.
The famous Citgo sign near Fenway Park in Boston is maintained not by Citgo, but by Boston's historical society.
In the 1700's you could purchase insurance against going to hell, in London England.
The Aztec Indians of Mexico believed turquoise would protect them from physical harm, and so warriors used these green and blue stones to decorate their battle shields.
Black cats are considered lucky in England.
Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw beautiful young women into a volcano it would stop erupting.
In medieval times, thunderstorms were believed by some to be the work of demons. So when it stormed, bell ringers would go up into the bell towers to ring the consecrated bells in an effort to stop the storm. This practice didn't always work out well for the bell ringer.
No one knows where the expression "to grin like a Cheshire cat" originated, but it wasn't with Carroll. The Cheshire cat is a well-known character in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but the expression, meaning a sneering smile that shows the gums, existed long before he wrote the book. There is no such breed of cat.
Superstition says that the left side is the wrong side of the bed.
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love.
The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes death.
The dove is considered the symbol of peace.
|© 2006 The Mine of Useless Information|