2017-12-06 / Columns

Strange But True

• It was 20th-century American author and journalist Emily Kimbrough who made the following sage observation: “Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”

• In Finland, it is traditional to pay a visit to the steam baths on Christmas Day. Nice and clean, Finns then put on new clothes before enjoying their Christmas dinner, which is served in the evening.

• Lots of people dislike lawyers, right? You might be surprised to learn, though, that it isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, in 1641 the Massachusetts Bay colony made it illegal for anyone to earn money by representing another in court, and in 1658, the legislature of Virginia passed legislation expelling all lawyers.

• You might not be surprised to learn that the only bones to be found in a shark’s body are in its jaws and teeth.

• Hardly anyone in Greece has a Christmas tree. Instead, most homes have a wire suspended across a shallow wooden bowl with water in the bottom. A cross wrapped in a sprig of basil is suspended from the wire, and the water keeps the basil fresh. Every day during the holiday season, a family member dips the cross and basil into some holy water and sprinkles each room of the house. In addition to the religious significance, this ritual is said to keep away the kallikantzeri, mischievous goblins that appear during the 12 days of Christmas.

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Thought for the Day: “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” — Salman Rushdie (c) 2017 King Features Synd.

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