The Origin of Polka Music

Polka arrived in Vienna, Austria in the 1840’s, imported from Hungary. It is believed Polka was invented by Anna Slezak, a peasant girl who invented the dance while entertaining herself by hopping around on a Spring Sunday afternoon. The term “polka” is derived from the Czech term “pulka” which means “half-step”, in reference to the dances main choreography pattern of lightly stepping from one foot unto the other

The Original Intention of the 13th Century Italian Carnival Festival

The Italian festival of Carnival which takes place during the winter in Venice, Italy, is a 13th century tradition designed to allow anonymity and indulgence before Lent commences. Ash Wednesday marks the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting and reflection. Catholic priests mark patrons forerheads with ash, a symbol of purification by fire. The 40 days of Lent represent the 40 days Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness, preparing for the culmination of his ministry upon Earth whilst being tempted by the devil. Historically, Lent was the final stretch of winter, with the last of any meat being finished during Carnival. Because of the challenges associated with winter, European Christians turned to their faith to help guide them through to the other end

The Four Ancient Greek Concepts of Love

The Ancient Greeks had 4 terms for love. The first term, “philia” (pronounced “feel-ee-ah”), refers to “affection which grows from friendship”. The second term, “storgē” (pronounced “stor-gay”), refers to the “kind of love one has for a grandparent or sibling”. The third term, “érōs” (pronounced “air-ohs”), refers to “romantic love, the uncontrollable urge to say “I love you” to another person”. The fourth and final term, “agápē” (pronounced “ah-gah-pay”), refers to “steadfast love as an action, the kind of love to take care of a partner in their elder years as they decline further and further”

The Translation and Cultural Meaning Behind the Traditional Cantonese Chinese Lunar New Year Greeting

The Cantonese phrase “gung hay fat choy” which is said during the Chinese Lunar New Year does not translate to “Happy New Year” as is commonly believed, rather it translates to “wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year” and is in reference primarily to finance as this is viewed as one of the most, if not the most, important consideration when starting a new year within Chinese culture

Ancient Roman Emperor Julius Caesar’s Contribution to Time Keeping

The month of July is a derivation of the name, “Julius Caesar”. The ancient Romans opted to rename “Quintilis”, the original name for July which means “fifth month” in Latin, to “July” after Caesars death because this was the same month that he was born. The Julian calendar, a western calendar used until 1582 when the Gregorian calendar supplanted it, is also attributed to Caesar as the Roman year had only 355 days and required an extra month be added, every 3 years. The ancient Romans repeatedly made the same calculation errors and continually found seasons out of synchronization with the actual calendar date observed. With the help of a few Roman scientists, Caesar removed the pre-Etruscan 10 month solar calendar in favor of the 365 day year calendar named after himself. The Roman calendar started on March 25, but was moved to January 1 with the advent of the Gregorian calendar

The Etymology of “Matter Plasma” and “Blood Plasma”

The term “plasma” is derived from the ancient Greek term “plassein” which means to “shape or mold something”. Plasma related to physics, specifically matter which has had its electrons separated from the rest of its atoms, forcing it to become an ion, more specifically a mixture of free floating electrons and ions, was first identified by British chemist and physicist Sir William Crookes in 1879 using cathode ray tubes. Crookes referred to this discovery initially as “radiant matter” but it became known as “plasma” in 1928 because of American chemist Irving Langmuir. Langmuir was exploring ionized gases, gases which were subjected to strong electrical fields to remove electrons from their orbital shells. Langmuir used the analogy of blood to explain this phenomena, with the ions representative of corpuscles and the remaining gas thought of as clear liquid. Blood is similar to plasma in that it is primarily comprised of 2 components which include its clear liquid and the corpuscles/cells entrapped within this fluid. This clear liquid was named “plasma” by Czech physiologist Johannes Purkinje In 1927. The definition of matter plasma and blood plasma however have absolutely nothing to do with eachother physically, aside from the fact that two different scientists had the idea to use the same term at approximately the same time. It is believed that these two scientists based their name upon the ancient Greek definition of the term “plasma”