Posts tagged ‘origin’

Basketball Was Originally Played With Soccer Balls

By Chad Upton

The NBA has one Canadian team and 29 American teams. This is kind of fitting since basketball was invented by one Canadian teaching many students at what is now Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The game was invented out of the need for entertaining exercise to occupy his students during the long North Eastern winters.

soccerball

The nets were originally Peach baskets and the ball was retrieved by ladder after each “basket”.  That obviously grew old quickly and a hole was made in the bottom of the basket so a pole could be used to knock the ball out of the basket. Of course, baskets have come a long way since then, and so has the ball. (more…)

March 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm Leave a comment

Halloween Secrets

By Chad Upton | Editor

Trick or treating can be traced back to European “guising” traditions where children would travel from home to home, reciting songs, jokes or poems. They didn’t say “trick or treat” back then, it was “please help the guisers” — a reference to the groups who performed plays to ward off evil spirits during Samhain, the Celtic celebration we now know as Halloween.

The children were often given fruit, nuts, sweets or even money. Trick or treating started to take hold in North America during the middle of the 19th century, although it was put on hold for sugar rationing during World War II.

The Celts believed spirits of the dead would walk the earth on Halloween. Costumes were worn to help blend in with and hide from the real spirits who were thought to be walking among them.

The traditional colors of halloween, Black and orange, have meaning too. Black is the typical color of death in many cultures and orange symbolizes strength in Celtic legend, which was important for weathering a harsh winter. They burned large bonfires, believing this would bring the heat of the sun back after winter. Animal bones were often thrown into the fires and some believe these “bone fires” spawned the term bonfire.

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Photo: José Luis Murillo (cc)

Sources: History.comIrishCentral.com, Answers.com,

October 29, 2012 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Where the Phrase “Face the Music” Came From

By Kaye Nemec

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, you better face the music?” Face the music? What does that mean – where did that phrase come from?

The phrase “face the music” has a military history. When disgraced or dishonored soldiers were being relieved of their duties and stripped of their rank their final march was accompanied by drums – it is commonly referred to as “drumming out.”

During the Civil War some officers had their heads shaved before drumming out. Although their fellow officers were not permitted to touch them as they passed by, several cases were reported in which the discharged soldier was later found dead.

Some historical references claim that soldiers were forced to sit on their horse backwards as they were marched passed their comrades so they could see and hear the drums – therefore facing the music.

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Sources: Big Site of Amazing Facts, Wikipedia

Photo: Duane Matsen (cc)

January 26, 2011 at 2:00 am 4 comments

The History of Halloween

By Kaye Nemec

Although Halloween has religious roots in Celtic, Roman and Catholic celebrations, it became a more secular holiday in the 19th century.

Two thousand years ago, Celts celebrated New Years on November 1st in the festival of Samhain. Due to the changing climate, that date symbolized the end of summer and the beginning of the cold, dark winter.  They associated winter with death and believed that New Year’s Eve, was the night when ghosts of the dead would return to Earth. They believed the presence of the dead allowed priests to better predict the future and their prophecies were taken very seriously.  In order to support the priests, the Celts would celebrate Samhain by wearing costumes and building bonfires where they made sacrifices by burning crops and animals.

By 43 A.D., the Romans had taken most of the Celtic land and combined some of their traditions with the Celtic festival of Samhain. Romans celebrated Feralia, an event to commemorate the passing of the dead, at the end of October. They also celebrated the Roman goddess of the trees, Pomona, around this time. Pomona’s symbol was an apple and it is believed this celebration is where “bobbing for apples” originated.

Eventually Christian beliefs began making their way through Celtic land and Pope Boniface IV declared November 1st All Saints’ Day, which was also known as All-hallows (All-hallows Eve began to replace the festival of Samhain).  About 200 years later, the Catholic Church named November 2nd All Souls’ Day which was a day to honor the dead. All Souls’ Day and Samhain had similar celebrations – costumes and bonfires. Collectively, All-hallows Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day were referred to as Hallowmas.

When Europeans immigrated to America, they brought their Hallowmas traditions; in the late 1800’s the traditions of ghosts and honoring the dead become more family-friendly events like trick-or-treating and neighborhood parties.  Hallowmas became Halloween and grew into the child oriented, secular holiday that we are familiar with today.

The “Halloween Capital of the World” is Anoka, Minnesota — a small city near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul.

In 1920 Anoka hosted the first documented Halloween celebration and parade in the United States. The Halloween celebration was planned as an alternative to the pranks that had become common around Halloween. Prior to the organized Halloween celebration, troublemakers would let cows out of their enclosures, tip over outhouses and soap windows. City officials wanted to end the pranks and start a more positive Halloween tradition.

An official Halloween committee was formed and began planning a big event. When the time came, a parade made its way down Main Street and treats like popcorn, candy and peanuts were handed out. In true Hallowmas fashion, the night concluded with a huge bonfire. Seventeen years later, Anoka city officials convinced the United States Congress to grant them the official title, “Halloween Capital of the World.”

Since 1920, Anoka has hosted a huge Halloween celebration every year, except for 1942 and 1943, when it was canceled due to World War II. The city continues the tradition with their annual Halloween celebration. Just like the first year, a Halloween committee is formed, although now it is known as the Anoka Halloween Board of Directors.

This year’s event includes three parades, a pumpkin carving contest, a costume contest, BINGO, house decorating and of course, a bonfire.

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Pictures: Eric Martin (cc), Steve Chasmar (cc)

Sources: History.com, Anoka Halloween Capital of the World

October 20, 2010 at 1:00 am 2 comments

The Origin of April Fools’ Day

Tomorrow is Tom Foolery’s birthday. Well, not exactly, but you should be suspicious if someone is serving cake.

Your spouse or roommate may hide your keys, unscrew all the light bulbs or take the batteries out of the TV remote. Maybe Google will have another ruse about free printing or postdated emails. No matter who pranks you tomorrow, you’ll want to know how it all started.

April 1st is “April Fools’ Day” in many countries around the world. In some countries such as the UK, Australia and South Africa, the jokes end at noon. Someone who plays a joke after noon is considered an “April Fool.” In North America, Brazil and much of Eastern and Southern Europe, the jokes last all day.

The shenanigans can be traced back as far as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). The tale is set “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.” It was supposed to mean 32 days after March (May 2nd) which is the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. But, readers misunderstood it as March 32nd, which of courses doesn’t exists and was interpreted as April 1st. In the tale, Chauntecler is tricked by a fox. (more…)

March 31, 2010 at 12:38 am 1 comment

Why is Coffee Called Java?

I love coffee.

I started drinking it in college, like most people, for the caffeine boost. Over time, I got really attached to the flavor. I went through a coffee obsession phase, trying coffee from different parts of the world with different tastes and different roasting techniques.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but there really are coffee connoisseurs out there. Premium coffee retailers and distributors have tasting rooms where they constantly inspect and taste coffee.

They sip it, swirl it around in their mouth and then spit it out. It must meet their strict approval to make it to the stores. If you think I’m exaggerating, click here to get a taste on the Starbucks blog. They even talk about coffee that is aged 3 to 5 years before being roasted.

Aging coffee probably reminds you of something else, wine. It turns out the coffee industry is a lot like the wine industry. Experts taste coffee the way connoisseurs taste and rate wine. They also share a similar vocabulary for describing flavor notes, hints of: caramel, chocolate, nuts…etc. Wine is classified by it’s region and grape (species). Coffee is also classified by region and species.

Historians believe that coffee plants were first cultivated in Ethiopia, around the year 850. In the next 50 years, coffee seeds were taken to the Arab world. The Arabians saw a future in coffee trade and guarded the seeds closely, but a few seeds were smuggled to the Dutch. Early in the 17th century, seeds made their way to Indonesia, being planted in Sumatra, Bali and the island of Java.

Java is one of the earliest coffee plantations and still an exporter of coffee today. Calling coffee, “java” is similar to referring to wine by it’s region, such as “I’ll have a glass of Champagne.”

On a related note, check out another coffee related secret: How to Properly Pour a Cup of Coffee.

Written By: Chad Upton

BrokenSecrets.com [Available on Kindle]

Sources: Coffee, Java Coffee, Indonesian Coffee, Coffee Bean, Champagne

January 20, 2010 at 1:47 am 8 comments


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