Birth and babies in Ireland
Date: 27 Sep 2005 - Subscribe

Birth and Babies
Conception could be prevented if an enemy tied a knot in a handkerchief at the time of marriage; no child would be born to that couple until the knot was loosed.
A pregnant woman had to avoid meeting a hare otherwise her child would be born with a hare-lip (séanas). If the woman on meeting the hare tore the hem of her clothes, she transferred the blemish to it, or, if she could catch the hare and tear it's ear she could prevent the hare-lip.
A pregnant woman shouldn't enter a graveyard in case she twisted her foot on a grave, then the child would be born with a clubfoot (cam reilge).
Pregnant women should not remain in a house while a corpse was being placed in the coffin, nor act as sponsor to a bride.
A child born after its father had died was destined to have special powers
A child born at night would have the power of seeing ghosts and fairies; but one born on Sunday, at twelve noon or twelve midnight any day, or between twelve noon and twelve midnight would not have this power.
Whit Sunday was regarded as an unlucky time to be born; such a person would either be killed, or else was destined to kill; a live worm was crushed in such a baby's hand soon after birth to make sure it would not kill.
Animals or humans born on May Day were said to be assured of good luck.
It was not considered a lucky omen to have three persons born in any house on the same month.
The fairies were always trying to take away new born babies or nursing mothers, so there were customs to prevent this happening:
A cloth exposed on the eve of St. Brigid's feast day was lucky and used on the mother and child. Oatmeal was given to the mother when the baby had been born, a piece of iron or a cinder (aingeal) concealed in the baby's dress; the tongs placed across the cradle; unsalted butter was placed in the baby's mouth; or a red ribbon was tied across the cradle
Holy water was, of course, in later times regarded as the stongest method of preserving both mother and child.
Any woman in child-bed and babies who ailed and wasted away after a while, had been taken by the fairies who had left sickly changelings behind in their stead.
Children who died un-baptised were not buried in consecrated ground in olden times. In many parishes, there were special places, known as cillínigh (little graveyards - children's burial grounds), for such burials, the little bodies were also laid to rest at boundaries, in the north side of graveyards or in any of several other places.
Stories are told, of deceased children returning later to meet the soul of their mother when she too died - the baptised children appeared as strong clear lights, while the un-baptised ones shone weakly.
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Naming a child
Date: 19 Sep 2005 - Subscribe

In Chinese culture, a person’s name has an important role to play in determining his/her destiny. Because of this, Chinese parents will often spend a long time choosing their child’s name.
A typical Chinese name has three words, in principle these are the family name, a name indicating the child’s generation and a personal name, though often the second ‘principle’ is not followed.
Naming a child must take into consideration five principles: the name must have a favourable meaning (particularly favoured are meanings reflecting wealth or well-being) and names with negative possibilities should be avoided, the name must sound pleasant when spoken, the name must reflect favourable mathematical calculations, it must be harmonious with regard to yin and yang, and it must possess one of the five elements of metal, water, wood, fire and wood.
When written, each Chinese name has a certain number of brush strokes, and each character’s number of brush strokes corresponds to a certain element. A two stroke character is associated with wood, three and four stroke fire, five and six strokes earth and nine and ten strokes water. The total number of strokes in a name can determine a persons fortune: for example twelve strokes bespeaks a life of illness and failure, while 81 strokes presages prosperity and a happy future.
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Even more proverbs
Date: 06 Sep 2005 - Subscribe

A blow from a frying-pan, if it does not hurt, smuts. (Spanish)

A boaster and a liar are cousins. (Spanish)

A good listener is a silent flatterer. (Spanish)

Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults. (Indian)

Garlic is as good as ten mothers. (Indian)

Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work. (Indian)

A clear conscience is a good pillow. (French)

A cow does not know what her tail is worth until she has lost it. (French)

A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple. (French)

A fool's heart dances on his lips. (French)

A guest, like a fish, stinks the third day. (Dutch)

A kiss without a beard is like an egg without salt. (Dutch)

A liar must have a good memory. (Dutch)

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Date: 31 Aug 2005 - Subscribe

Proverbs are nice symbols of nations, cultures...Here are some I found nice.

The forest will answer you in the way you call to it. (Finnish)

A book holds a house of gold. (Chinese)

A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood. (Chinese)

A fly before his own eye is bigger than an elephant in the next field. (Chinese)

A hasty man drinks his tea with a fork. (Chinese)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Chinese)

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain. (Arab)

Death rides a fast camel. (Arab)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything. (Arab)

The whisper of a pretty girl can be heard further than the roar of a lion. (Arab)

All married women are not wives. (Japanese)

Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse. (Japanese)

Getting money is like digging with a needle. Spending it is like water soaking into the sand. (Japanese)

Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass. (Japanese)

God did not create woman from man's head, that he should command her, nor from his feet, that she should be his slave, but rather from his side, that she should be near his heart. (Hebrew)

Silence is a fence around wisdom. (Hebrew)

You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. (Native American Navajo)

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Love is...
Date: 26 Aug 2005 - Subscribe

How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics
so important a biological phenomenon as first love?
Albert Einstein

I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.
Amy Tan

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.
Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I love thee, I love but thee
With a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars grow old...
Bayard Taylor

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
George Sand

If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.
Mitsugi Saotome

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
Robert Heinlein

I love you
Not only for what you are
But for what I am
When I am with you
Roy Croft

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
Victor Hugo

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
(“Romeo and Juliet”)
William Shakespeare

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