Jump to content
MrsSurvival Discussion Forums

Interesting stuff!

Guest Guest

Recommended Posts



Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.


Here are some facts about the 1500s. Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers so that they would have something handy to smell besides the guests. Hence the custom of carrying a bouquet when getting married.


Baths consisted of big tubs filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children-last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it -- hence the saying," Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." Or a "Gentleman of the First Water".


Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof-hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."


There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence. They also had curtains all the way around the bed to allow for privacy as many times the servants slept in the same room. The curtains and the canopies also trapped the sleepers body heat in the bed and kept them warm.


The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until, when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway-hence a "thresh hold."


In those old days they cooked in a kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while -- hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old."


Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that the man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."


Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach into the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so tomatoes were considered poisonous.


Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, family got the middle and guests got the top or "upper crust."


Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up-hence the custom of holding a "wake."


England as well as Europe is old and small and local folks started running out of places to bury people. They would dig up coffins and then would take the bones to the bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. They would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (graveyard shift) to listen for the bell, thus someone would be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."


And that's the truth...whoever said that history was boring.....


Link to comment

I've read some of these before, and it certainly is interesting stuff. It's always fascinating to find out where different sayings and customs come from; it makes it much more interesting for children to learn, and is much more likely to stick in their minds than just a list of facts and figures. My two love a series of books called Horrible Histories - have you seen them? they're full of stuff like this, along with lots of gory and gruesome stuff which they love, which is alright except at the dinner table!! Thanks happygirl.

Link to comment

Did you know that we shake hands because in the past it was a way for men to show eachother that they didn't have any weapons? Also, we put our knife down while we eat to signify peace...we will not be stabing anyone while we eat! In other places they keep holding the knife, done to protect themselves in case of a fight. There is other stuff like that, that makes history really interesting!


Link to comment

In a book. I studied Cross Cultural Anthropology in College, and we learned a lot about stuff like that there. Hand gestures are a very interesting thing. They mean different thing in different countries. Any time we have traveled outside the country (not much, just Guatemala), we have studied a little about their customs and what they think is polite or impolite. While there, I found out that what to us in Mexico is pop (refresco) in Guatemala it means fresh fruit juice! That may be a little off the subject, but I thought it was interesting!

Isn't this cool? It's like we are having a conversation...across the miles!

Link to comment

You are right, Cat! My sister is from Brazil, and while she was there a few years ago, she found out that if you hold your hand in the form of an "O" (with all fingers) and then hit it towards your opposite open palm, that is also a VERY naughty word (hand gesture). My sister used to do that all the time at the offbeat while clapping in church. They let her know right away...

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.