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Valentine’s Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.
The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honour of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.
The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine’s Day for the celebration of this new feaSt. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.
A 140-year-old lobster once destined for a dinner plate received the gift of life Friday from a Park Avenue seafood restaurant.
I have not seen such a huge jelly fish before.
The world is full of wonders, from abandoned towns and deserted settlements to underwater cities and underground architecture. Humans burrow into the Earth out of anything from necessity to superstition. Here are some of the underground wonders of the world:
Kapadokya, Turkey is home to hundreds of linked rooms that, together, form an ancient system of underground cities over 2,500 years old. Areas are separated by narrow corridors once lit by oil lamps.
Pembrokeshire, Wales is home to a family with a house straight out of The Hobbit. This amazing architectural wonder is created virtually completely from the natural materials found around the residence. The walls are made out of stone and mud and water enters the house by gravity from a nearby spring.
Edinburgh, Scotland has a long and strange history, though perhaps the oddest story of all is the tale of a bridge that was buried underground. After this bridge was built, superstition following a prominent death led to its disuse. As property values in the area grew, however, people first built under and then even on top of the bridge. Eventually leaks forced the abandonment of the spaces below, which were subsequently filled in. They were recently rediscovered and opened for tourists.
Seattle, Washington’s Pioneer Square district has a very peculiar historical quirk: a century ago, they raised the streets by an entire floor. People actually died falling off of the street to the lower sidewalks below before they managed to raise the sidewalks to the same level. Eventually, what was street level became completely unused and abandoned, though it was recently reopened for visitors.
Wieliczka, Poland sits atop one of the world’s oldest salt mines, in continuous operation for over 800 years until just this year. As these images show, the mine is now open to tourists, with winding paths and bridges as well as art, much of which is carved right out of the salt in the mine. Over 1,000 feet deep, the mine even housed an airplane factory run by the Polish resistance during World War II.
Xi’an, China is now famous for featuring the Mausoleum of Qinshihuang, the biggest imperial tomb known to Chinese history. This subterranean wonder was constructed in 38 years by 700,000 laborers, and is perhaps best known for the host of terracotta warriors buried with the Emperor.
By Luke Baker,
LONDON (Sept. 21) – Miners in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho have found one of the world’s largest diamonds, a near-flawless white gem weighing nearly 500 carats, mining group Gem Diamonds said on Sunday.
The diamond was discovered in the Letseng Mine on September 8, the company said in a statement. It has been analyzed by experts in Antwerp and found to weigh 478 carats, with very few inclusions and of outstanding color and clarity.
“It has the potential to yield one of the largest flawless D color round polished diamonds in history,” the company said.
This diamond will likely be sold for well over $10 million.
BERLIN (Sept. 16) – German biologists have discovered a new species of ant they believe is the oldest on the planet, dating back around 120 million years.
Researchers from Karlsruhe’s Natural History Museum found the 0.118 inch insect in the Amazon rainforest in 2007, and hope it will shed light on the early evolution of ants.
“It’s by far the most spectacular find of my 26-year career,” said museum biologist Manfred Verhaagh on Tuesday.
Scientists from Karlsruhe originally found an unidentified species of ant of a similar type in the Brazilian rainforest in 2003. However, due to an accident in the laboratory, the insect dried up, making further research impossible, Verhaagh said.
Last year a separate team from the museum’s research body was in the forest investigating fungus when they stumbled upon the tiny insect, and named it “Martialis heureka.”
Resembling a miniature wasp, the insect is like no other ant, and probably dates back 120 million years, making it the oldest still inhabiting the earth, Verhaagh said. The scientists used DNA samples from its front leg to establish its likely age.
The last discovery of a new ant species was in 1923, he added.
I found this very nice tattoo and it is really unique because it does not require needle for the process. All you have to do is to place the stencil in your body and start tanning your body in the heat of the sun.
Inspired by the Moldy Body Object. Sun Tattoo is a soft stencil which can be used for making the tattoo pattern on the skin by sunshine. It’s better to use it with sunless tanning cream.