Where did the practice of kissing under the mistletoe come from?
Known as "the healing plant," mistletoe was used by the ancient Celts and was a big part of their winter solstice celebrations. The plant contains progesterone, the female sex hormone, and perhaps this is why it became associated with kissing. The kissing custom goes back to England in the 1600s. A gentleman would pluck one berry for each kiss on a maiden's cheek. When the berries were gone, no more kissing was allowed.
Last 7 Days
How much does an adult moose weigh?
Males weigh 1,200 to 1,600 pounds, and females 800 to 1,300 pounds.
Why do mushrooms always seem to grow in a circle on my lawn?
Not all mushrooms grow in a circle, just the fruiting bodies of a certain type. The spawn starts from a spore falling in a favorable spot. Then a network of fine, tubular threads grows out from the spore in all directions. Thus a circular mat of underground threads is formed. Gradually, the spawn at the center of the circle dies out. These circles are called fairy rings, and they can persist year after year, with the diameter gradually increasing and segments dying out until the ring shape can no longer be discerned.
Why, on some mornings, do I have to scrape ice from my front and back car windows, but not from the sides?
The most likely explanation is that the front and back windows of the car are more horizontal than the sides. When they lose their heat, it goes straight up into space, which means they cool down more than the side windows. Therefore, any condensation that forms on the front and back windows probably freezes quicker than that on the sides.
What kind of pine is best if you want to keep your Christmas tree potted and in the house after Christmas?
A Norfolk Island pine would be the best choice as a potted plant. The Norfolk pine is tropical and can be kept indoors through several seasons. Bring it out to the patio in summers. Check with a local florist or nursery for the best Norfolk pine varieties for your area.
If our body heat is 98.6 degrees F, why do we feel so uncomfortable when the outside temperature gets that high?
The human body is a little heat-producing engine, generating its own internal warmth. When the outside air is cold, our bodies do a pretty good job of producing heat to warm us up. But when the outside temperature gets to be as hot as 98.6 degrees F, we just keep producing heat. That's when we start to sweat, as a means of regulating our internal temperature. At very high temperatures, we have trouble giving off enough sweat to cool ourselves down.
Why are half-red/half-blue pencils called postal pencils?
In bygone days (before high-speed, computer-controlled automation), mail was coded with red or blue for routing purposes. One pencil with both colors was a convenience for busy postal workers.
Is the Christmas tree a Christian symbol? Where did it come from?
Decorated trees were used in winter celebrations long before the advent of Christianity. Plants and trees that remained green all year had a special significance for people who lived in cold-winter climes. Ancient people hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. Some believed that evergreens kept witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness away. Romans decorated evergreen trees with trinkets and topped them with an image of their sun god. Druid sorcerers hung golden apples and lit candles on oak trees to celebrate the winter solstice. It is generally agreed that the use of an evergreen tree as part of Christian Christmas celebrations started 400 years ago in Germany and spread to most of northern Europe by the 19th century.