Strange But True

The Weekly Vista - - Fun & Games - By Samantha Weaver

• 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.

• The na­tion of Canada has the long­est coast­line in the world.

• 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.

• Most peo­ple — even word nerds like yours truly! — aren’t aware that the plu­ral form of Sphinx is Sph­inges.

• 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.

•••

Thought for the Day:

“What is free­dom of ex­pres­sion? With­out the free­dom to of­fend, it ceases to ex­ist.” — Sal­man Rushdie

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