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Tea’s origin was China. The Zhuo (1034-246 BCE) Qin (361-296 BCE) and Han (206 BCE-226 CE) Dynasties all embodied extensive tea-drinking. Tea use for medicinal nutritional, health, fitness and longevity purposes is determined via the ‘Wuxing’ or 5 Elements School system underpinning (TCM) Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Health Qigong, Feng Shui, Keep-fit, Wu-Shu-Kung Fu, Chinese herb-use and more.

Chinese tea, purchased in boxes of sachets or in delightful crystallised blocks involves an astounding number of forms tastes, textures, herbal and nutritional ingredients. Applications-including for health, youthfulness and longevity are guaranteed by the long history of TCM. The history of the 5 Elements or ‘Wuxing’ is longer still.

Drunk at home or work Chinese tea is delightful. Consumed at Tea Houses like ‘Up Tea!’ situated in Little Newport Street is London’s Chinatown such tea-drinking can be a delightful experience.

Tea, Health and the Wuxing

The 5 Elements School ‘Wuxing’ links each of the body’s 5 major internal organs (and much more) to Elements as follows: spleen (Earth) lungs (Metal) kidneys (Water) liver (Wood) and heart (Fire). The Wuxing is a proven internal and external balancing health-system. Many teas involve remedies to cure or prevent common complaints, or encourage optimum health, youthfulness and longevity springing from the 5 Elements system still in popular and official use today.

INSTANT CHRYSANTHEMUM BEVERAGE (ju hua cha)

This chrysanthemum tea comprises 45% dried flower extract crystallised upon 55% cane sugar. Chrysanthemum tea treats irritation and inflammation in the lungs, nasal passageways and throat via its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It also encourages improved vision and helps to cleanse the liver in particular.

Wuxing Students learn how eyes and liver are inter-connected, correspond to the Wood Element and can be both naturally nourished by ju hua cha. They also practise 5 Elements Qigong routines with similar effects.

TIEN-CHI (Heaven Energy) GINSENG FLOWER TEA (ren shen cha)

Tien-chi Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng) ginseng tea variety from southwestern China is mainly cultivated in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces. Tien-chi plant root is used as a health product for regulating blood circulation. The flower functions as a heat clearing and toxin cleansing herb used to reduce inflammation, feverish feelings, skin eruptions and sore throats.

XIAMEN GREEN TEA (lu cha)

Green tea stimulates the heart in particular, aids digestion and banishes fatigue. Encouraging the body to metabolize more fat and thus much used in dieting and slimming, green tea also encourages longevity and general bodily detoxification.

However as it slightly inhibits iron-absorbption from the diet, green tea should be avoided by anaemia sufferers and women during their menstrual period

JASMINE FLOWER TEA (mo li hua cha)

There are several distinct jasmine tea varieties including green, jade or black. Good for oral hygiene and palate cleansing (before after or during eating) Jasmine tea’s highly aromatic soothing nature also stimulates digestion, encourages relaxation and helps prevent insomnia.

MORNING STAR GINGER BEVERAGE (sheng jiang cha)

Ginger tea stimulates and balances the activity of the heart, lungs and spleen in particular and assists the balanced functioning of the 5 major internal organs as a system in a tonic fashion. Its anti bacterial properties also make it a popular cold and flu remedy.

LUO HAN GUO EXTRACT TEA (luo han cha)

Luo Han Guo (luohanguo) aka ‘Monk Fruit’ (one of many longevity links) is member of the Gourd Plant Family and a fruit well-known for its sweet taste. Luo han cha. It is also well-known medicinally for treating coughs and sore throats and also encouraging longevity. Luohanguo has more recently been developed into a low-calorie sweetener.

When prepared this tea, dark brown and toffee-tasting, can be drunk hot or cold.

CHONG JI 5 FLOWERS TEA (wu hua cha)

This blend of 5 Chinese medicinal herbs cleans away internal heat, encourages diuresis and detoxification. It can also be used to treat sore eyes, sore throats, dysentery and constipation. Delivered concentrated upon cane sugar crystals it has a pleasant caramel taste

Overall

Drinking Chinese Tea in accord with Elements theory enhances health, youthfulness and longevity in many related ways. 5 Elements Qigong provides internal breathing and external massage routines towards the same ends.

The above brands and types of tea are readily purchaseable at your local Chinese Supermarkets the teas’ Chinese names appear in brackets. They are all inexpensive, represent tremendous value for money, are the real thing and offer the true ‘thrill of the swill’!

 

Here are 8 benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

This Article is written to reach the public with a simple and clear method to point out and to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle while reducing the risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

With the increased understanding of our bodies that we have gained from science over the past few decades, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are becoming more apparent, along with the reasons why we should detoxify the body at least once a year to remove harmful bacteria, and even worms, from our digestive system. For people of all ages, weights, and abilities the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are endless. But for now let’s look at eight simple benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

1. Your Health:

Good Health is not something that you buy from a drug store or a department store, but can be achieved by practicing collective patterns of health-related behavior, based on choices made from available options. Following this logic, if you wish to realize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you have to repeat some healthy pattern as a part of your daily or weekly activities, some patterns like eating right and exercising. Other benefits includes: Reduced health care costs, reduced illness and injuries, reduced doctors visit, Keeps you employed and improved employee/employer relations.

2. Weight:

Managing your weight is the key to attaining all of the health benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle. A weight reduction of just 10 percent will significantly reduce risk of heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses. Obesity/overweight is the second leading contributing factor to many childhood diseases such as orthopedic disorders, sleep apnea, type II diabetes mellitus, asthma, high blood pressure and cholesterol, skin disorders, emotional and psychosocial problems (Spigel, 2002), and many more. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking and strength training helps slow the onset of and/or prevent osteoporosis and some research shows that participating in such activities can actually build bone density and begin to reverse the disease. Other benefits are: Weight reduction, reduced tension and stress, improved well-being, Enhanced self-image and self-esteem and improved physical function.

3. Exercise:

Although drugs alone can often bring cholesterol down to normal levels, diet and exercise provide benefits that drugs don’t. They’ll lower blood pressure, reduce weight, and lower the risk of developing diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle is a dangerous risk factor for disease. Exercise and a healthy diet helps the body use insulin more efficiently and can help control, alleviate and prevent many diseases. Exercise, cessation of tobacco consumption, eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet, controlling body weight, and learning to cope with stress, reduce the risk of heart disease.

4. Medical:

We all want a trim and have healthy body for a variety of aesthetic, social and medical reasons. Healthy living is truly the best medicine. In a study conducted by Tufts University at the New England Medical Center, among patients with cardiovascular disease, an exercise program was shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol and other risk factors beyond what’s provided by drug therapy. Even modest weight loss can help reduce medical and pharmacy costs, help avoid bariatric surgery, and co-morbidities such as asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.

5. Wellness:

Wellness is about being comfortable in your space: your body, your attitude, and your environment. A healthy lifestyle can greatly increase a person’s longevity. And even though catching something contagious like a cold or flu is sometimes unavoidable, having the wisdom that feeling healthy is a better way to live should have you asking yourself why you are not taking action to live each day as beneficially as possible. The issue with a lot of people nowadays is that they are so busy working and/or taking care of everyone around them, that they neglect their own health and wellness. Make sure your heart is healthy and your bones are strong and Keep it that way to see the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

6. Care:

The best way to ensure good health is by taking care of yourself. The Care stakes are high but the potential rewards are great-preventing premature death, unnecessary illness, and disability, controlling health care cost, and maintaining a high quality of life into old age. With a healthy lifestyle, you are who you are and you don’t have to be self-conscious about those things that you otherwise would be if you didn’t care about your lifestyle

7. Control:

With a healthy lifestyle, you have more control of your life as you work with your body against those aspects of living which may work to hold you back if you would let them. With a healthy lifestyle, you have control over your sleep patterns so that you feel generally well rested throughout the day. With a healthy lifestyle, everything works together to help other aspects of your lifestyle make sense and benefit you. Science has proven that healthy weight loss, healthy eating and fitness routines make dramatic improvements in health, and help control common chronic illnesses like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, and general lack of stamina.

8. Strength:

Another benefit of a healthy lifestyle is a steady flow of stamina and strength; you can perform activities and exercises that will enhance your flexibility. With a healthy lifestyle, you have a balanced and varied diet that provides your body its needed nutrients and energy as well. You have strength to train to help build the muscle that supports the bones and joints; therefore decreasing the risk of falls and fractures. Cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise, strengthens the heart muscle, therefore increases the heart’s efficiency. As we age, our bones biologically begin to lose mass and strength. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking and strength training helps slow the onset of and/or prevent osteoporosis and some research shows that participating in such activities can actually build bone density and begin to reverse the disease.

The good news is you don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The secret and logic are repeating a chosen healthy pattern as a part of your daily or weekly activities. We hope that this will get you to a healthy lifestyle if you are not there already. A healthy lifestyle is a way of life.

As an “Abundant Life Coach” I get asked about the meaning of “financial abundance” very often. What this means to you can be the difference between living the lifestyle of your dreams, or settling for something less than your dreams. I want you to live the life of your dreams!

Here, then, are 5 Essential Factors of Financial Abundance:

“The Abundant Mindset”

Thousands upon thousands of books, articles, media, programs, and so much more have been produced that discuss the awesome power of our minds, and the influence of our thinking upon our lives. It is difficult to say enough or emphasize enough that truth. As I see it, we are exactly as we think.

In my work, I recommend the adoption of an “Abundant” mindset. This means so much more than finance or money, however, for the purposes of this article, I will discuss abundance only as it applies to the world of money and finance.

A financial abundance mindset means enjoying an abundant amount of money, and yet not allowing greed. Greed does not work (sorry, Gordon Gekko). Of course “financial abundance” will be a relative concept; it will probably mean something different to each person. Greed, however, is fairly obvious; it is almost like knowing (within your mid or heart) the difference between right and wrong.

Further, a financial abundance mindset means having the monetary means or resources to enjoy an abundant lifestyle, yet balancing your financial wealth with philanthropy and generous giving (see point 4). When one’s personal motives are clearly defined and one’s goals are aligned with those motives, then financial abundance becomes clear.

“Specialized Knowledge”

The largest difference between the rich and poor (or the “haves” and “have-nots”) is knowledge. Or, more specifically, the largest difference is a specialized knowledge; meaning that they have the “right” knowledge and also know how to use that knowledge to their advantage. In other words, specialized knowledge is the information or data itself, coupled with the wisdom to know how to use the information or data.

For many, specialized knowledge is an academic education such as medical or law school, while for others this might mean computer programming, aviation repair, or something. Further, many of those with a financial education know how to leverage their own money to make more money. Obviously the point is that specialized knowledge translates to earning ability.

“The Power of Compounding Interest and Investing”

For many people, diligent savings and investment of a consistent percentage of income over considerable lengths of time has lead to financial abundance. I would certainly add that economic factors always play a significant role with regard to risk in investments. Even so, living well within one’s means while investing and saving can very often lead to financial abundance.

“Generous Giving”

Generosity does not necessarily mean giving away or donating money. Mr. Zig Ziglar has said: “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

This is so very true. It must be an unwritten law of nature that over time, our generosity is paid back several times over. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and yet employing an attitude of generosity is always a safe bet for a great return. And, if nothing else, it is an illustration of excellence of character.

“What You Love Over Time”

We should seek ways to turn what we love to do into a good living. I am a firm believer that when we do what we love doing, money very often comes as a byproduct, because our focus is not so much on making money as it is on enjoyment and lifestyle. Over time, money tends to take care of itself in large part when we are doing what we enjoy, especially when it helps others.

In conclusion, the very first point – having an abundant mindset – sums up all of the points I have made in this article. When we do what we love to do; when we are generous and seek to help others; when we live within our means and save money; when we always seek a more specialized knowledge…we then have an abundant mindset, and are bound to realize financial abundance.

There are many misconceptions about fashion stylist jobs such as these jobs are easy to get, one can lead a comfortable life after getting these jobs and one doesn’t have to work very hard to get ahead in this field. While these jobs are comfortable and offer flexible working hours, in order to get ahead in this industry, aspiring personal stylists should know a few things and listed below are 4 important must know facts about fashion stylist jobs.

#1 – Fashion Stylist Jobs are About Glamour but Also about Hard Work – Most aspiring stylists believe that becoming a one is easy and can be done by anyone. Although, this is partially true, in order to become a successful stylist, students have to work hard while they are studying to become stylists. In addition, for the first few years aspiring stylists may have to spend a lot of time and energy researching about the latest fashion trends so that they can help their clients get the desired look.

#2 – It’s All about Research – An important part of being a fashion stylist is researching the latest trends and colour schemes. Although students are taught various important things about fashion while they are training for fashion stylist jobs, it is important for aspiring stylists to remember that after they get a job or while they are on internship with a company, they will have to spend many hours a day studying about colour patterns and matching colours to skin tones, hair tones and body structures.

#3 – Fashion Stylist Jobs Involve Being Creative – Most people believe that there are hard and fast rules set for stylists however, the truth is that fashion stylists can experiment and be creative as long as they know what they are doing. An integral part of the job involves using one’s imagination and creativity to make clients look good. If you have a good imagination and can vision ideas then you may be ideal for this job.

#4 – The Sky is the Limit for Those Who Try – There is a lot of scope in the fashion industry and aspiring stylists who are looking for fashion stylist jobs can get success shortly after joining a job provided they are ready to follow the rules of this industry. Hard work and flexibility are two important rules of this industry and stylists who are ready to go the extra mile can easily accomplish their goals. Remember, to become a stylist the first thing that needs to be done is to get accredited from an institute that can help you achieve your goals.

 

Since the beginning of time, music has been used as an expression of cultural identity. Ancient tribal societies used music as a foundation for gatherings and to express their history, ethnicity, and cultural beliefs. Music has changed throughout the ages, but the use of music as an essential part of cultural and individual expression has changed very little.

Music’s integral connection to identity is often difficult to recognize, especially in today’s society where music may not be viewed as being as message-oriented as it once was. There were times when entire generations or cultures of individuals each knew the same songs. During World War II, entire nations of people sang songs that expressed their national identity with their cause and their connection to their fighting forces. Again, with the protest songs of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the people of the nation explored their feelings about war, youth, and racial unrest. And, as music as a form of expression has grown, different individuals within the same society have come to identify with varying forms of music as their own individual expression of self.

Although music may not be as blatantly descriptive as the songs of decades past, music speaks to the individual in the same way that the individual speaks through music. A nation of parents sat perplexed as their children became entranced by the sounds of rock and roll, and now there are as many types of music to identify with as there are generational cliques to adapt the musical message. Parents are still perplexed by youth who dress like Britney Spears and Eminem and who use language expressed in song. The addition of music videos has also added a note to self-expression through music that wasn’t present until the last few years. Unlike past generations, today’s youth can see how the music is being expressed and can identify visually with their chosen genre. Television and the internet have also allowed international peoples to share their cultures through music.

Whether music is viewed as being an influence on youth or as being influenced by youth, is still secondary to the fact that it has always been present as a socializing factor. Whether that socialization takes place as a part of a group membership or as a way to express individuality, there is no way to ignore the fact that the influence and expression of music expands as the world community shares more of its musical styles. People may find that music speaks to them in a certain way, moves them in a certain way, or that they identify with its message. People may also find that they can use music to express themselves as individuals as well as to conform to a group. Doubtless, music and its connection to individual and group identity will take on new forms as people continue to be exposed to varying forms of music and culture.

Source by Rebecca Stigall

Many people find the idea of having wildlife as pet as exotic and exciting. However, if you want a wild animal as a pet, you should have thorough understanding of the animal and its behavior and needs. The people who have these animals as pets are invariably trained to handle them, but even they will tell how unpredictable these animals can be. You may have read stories in the newspaper of zoo keepers being mauled by their wards.

So, having wild animals as pets has become quite a sensitive and controversial issue. Some people like to highlight the pros, while others just point out the cons. However, both should be weighed equally and only then a decision should be taken to keep a wild animal as a pet.

Here are some pros and cons of wildlife as pets.

Sometimes, conventional pets like dogs and cats cannot be kept due to lack of space. In such circumstances, one can keep a wildlife like a hedgehog or gecko as a pet as they do not require that much space. Some wild animals have their own benefits. Like a hedgehog can be used to keep insects and others pests at bay in a house.

Often it has been seen purchasing a wild animal can be cheaper than purchasing a pet that is popular and has a pedigree.

Also, many proponents of wild animals feel that some species have a better chance of survival if they are adopted. It has been seen that the dart frog is facing a problem in the wild as its natural habitat is diminishing. Hence, if this animal is adopted, it will have a better chance of survival.

However, there are sufficient cons and disadvantages of owning wild animals as pets. First of all, one has to take into consideration the welfare of the animal. Having a wildlife means giving due consideration to its diet, exercise and social interactions. Often, the animal will not have any interaction with other animals of its own species and will be left to leading a lonely and solitary life. Also, the owners will not be equipped to provide proper care to the animals as they may not be well-versed in these things. Many wild animals look cute and cuddly when they are small. However, as they reach adulthood or sexual maturity, their wild side takes over and the animal becomes aggressive. This is the time many owners abandon their pets or give them away to zoos.

Wild animals are carriers of many diseases that are lethal to humans. For instance, reptiles and amphibians are carriers of salmonella infection and each year thousand of people in the US contract this disease due to their pets. Also, rats imported from Africa are known to carriers of monkey pox. An outbreak of this disease occurred in the US in 2003 when Gambian rats brought in the monkey pox into the country.

Above all, the demand for wildlife as pet is increasing. So, many illegal traders are taking advantage of this demand. Most of the wild animals are captured and then transported in cruel and inhuman manner to reach their owners. In addition, majority of the owners do not know to take care of the animals and this causes them to fall sick or even die.

So, weigh the pros and cons of having wild animals as pets before jumping to adopt one. Make sure that you are properly equipped to handle the care of the animal. Do not adopt one if you have any doubts.

If you are looking to sell real estate in Jamaica, you can do so by attending the Real Estate Salesman’s Course #100H that is offered at the University of Technology, Jamaica. After passing the course, you are required to go through a few background checks to ensure you don’t have any skeletons in your closet. The final step is an interview with the Jamaica Real Estate Board to get final approval for you to become a Sales Agent.

Salesman’s Course #100H

This course is four weeks full time at the Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Jamaica. It offers material that is necessary for you to become an efficient agent in the local market, because what you don’t know can hurt you. You will be trained to handle transactions for Jamaica Properties such as Sales, Rentals and Leases.

Background Checks

The nature of the industry involves huge monetary transactions and in such a field you might find persons of a dishonest nature. In order to protect persons and their assets from thing like fraud, a background check is done on each applicant for a license approval, one of these checks is a police report.

The Interview With The Board

After gathering all the documents from your background check, you should submit these documents and attend an interview with an officer from the real estate board that puts the final stamp of approval on you application to become a sales agent in Jamaica.

Start Selling

After you have passed the exams and checks to practice in Jamaica legally, in most cases you must be employed to a licensed Dealer in Jamaica. There are some exceptions where persons can sell properties without being licensed but you should check the Jamaica real estate Act for the conditions.

 

The four major Fashion Weeks are held semi-annually and internationally. Each one of the Fashion Weeks has a unique style, all their own.

In 1943, New York held the first Fashion Week, and has been the quintessential idea of fashion week ever since. Now known as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, it does seem to be the most commercialized of the big fashion shows, in that the clothes are created ready-for-market. Its styles and designs are arguably a lot ‘safer’ than the other three locations.

In 1984, London jumped on the fashion train and recently has been making a splash with its high-end couture. London Fashion Week has not yet reached the commercial level of New York and is less likely to follow fashion trends. Rather, each London fashion house showcases its unique take on fashion-forward concepts, and their collections are still market ready. The heavy hitters in London like Richard Nicholl, Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon are all amazing designers who produce commercially viable collections that would stand out at any of the fashion shows around the world.

Milan’s version of the week was established in 1958 and is part of the Big Four internationally. It is owned by a nonprofit association which disciplines, coordinates and promotes the development of Italian Fashion and is responsible for hosting the fashion events and shows of Milan called Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. The original Italian Fashion Week was not held in Milan, instead it was held in Florence at the hands of Giovan Battista Giorgini. He held the first “fashion parade” in the living room of his house “Villa Torrigiani”. Then the Italian week later moved to Rome, and then Milan where it is currently held in haute style today.

Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world, and holds the finale position in the fashion show tour. Paris Fashion Week brings each season’s chaotic schedule of international fashion weeks to an end. High-end French designers include: Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, and Louis Vuitton along with many more stunningly talented designers. Typically, Paris has some of the most extravagant shows, especially with Paris Couture Week.

No matter which of the Big Four is your favorite, each week is sure to dazzle its audience with new haute couture designs year after year. In addition to haute couture trends, innovative fashion designs have also been making a big impact, especially in New York, the only location that allows a fashion school to feature its students’ designs, which are often very fresh and inspirational. It is definitely important to keep up with the latest runway styles from all four weeks to stay on top of upcoming trends for the next season.

While the worlds of sports and fitness are intertwined, it was not until the 1970s that popular culture was ready to accept fitness as eagerly as it had accepted sports. Fitness had not yet taken on its importance for improving health, and popular opinion likened fitness to work and manual labor. In the 1940s and 1950s, few participated in fitness willingly. Among those who did were Jack LaLanne, Victor Tanny, Joseph Gold, Joseph Weider, and Les and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. These fitness pioneers, among others, drew people to the beach in Santa Monica, California-the original Muscle Beach. Visitors came to watch their feats of strength and acrobatic displays. More and more viewers became participants, and these people, originally on the fringe, became a part of the cultural mainstream. Jack LaLanne, Vic Tanny, and Joe Gold all started gym chains with bodybuilding as their main focus. Due toPage 602 the influence of Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, women were introduced to the muscularity and strength that came with bodybuilding. No longer reserved for just for “strongmen,” bodybuilding brought about a change in the mindsets of all those who visited Muscle Beach.

From the seeds planted at the Santa Monica came Venice Beach, the home to bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and many, many more. Venice Beach in the 1970s brought with it a fitness explosion across the globe. Not only did bodybuilding become mainstream, but the popular opinion of fitness changed dramatically. Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health and fitness.

Sports and athletics grew in the 1970s as well. Women became increasingly more interest in participating in sports; however, very little funding was available for the development of woman’s athletics. A landmark law was passed in 1972. Part of a series of educational amendments, “Title IX,” legislated gender equity in athletics. Not only were women becoming more active and more physically fit, a law now existed that called for equal funding and equal opportunity for female athletes. On 21 September 1973, female tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the first-ever winner-take-all “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The hoopla surrounding this event-and its outcome-provided even more incentive for women to become involved with sports and fitness. By 1977, a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to be involved in some sort of athletic activity.

The fitness industry continued its growth into the 1980s. Gym owners tailored their facilities to attract customers and new gyms opened around the United States and around the world. A healthy lifestyle was becoming a part of popular culture. No longer was it unfashionable to be athletic, strong, or healthy. With the development of new technology, health and fitness were able to make their way into homes. Fitness tapes became available in the early 1980s and continue to encourage those to whom a gym or health facility may not be accessible. Innovators such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were able to bring their exercise programs to a new population. Joe Weider became a significant force in bringing health, fitness, and bodybuilding as close as the mailbox through his magazines and pamphlets. Because of fitness pioneers such as Weider, Gold, Fonda, and Simmons, fitness continues to play a significant role in modern society. The importance of being in good health and physically fit has made and continues to have an impact.

 

It is always interesting to study the history of weddings of different cultures. One can find that some of the old traditions have been carried forward to the current weddings.

In Italy, to this day marriages are not performed during Lent and Advent in May or August. Sunday was declared the best day for the marriage and June was (and is) considered the ideal month to marry. This is based on the Roman goddess Junio, representing safety of home, marriage, and childbirth.

In some families the marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. A male relative of the groom would visit with the father of the intended bride and ask for her hand in marriage. Sometimes a matchmaker was used to carry a message to the intended bride’s family. Once an agreement between the families was reached, the couple was declared engaged. The prospective bride was expected to immediately start gathering clothing (even for her future husband), furniture, and other items for the home. This became known as the bride’s ‘trousseau’. If the engagement ring contained gold it was not to be worn until she received the gold wedding band as it was seen as bad luck to wear gold without being married.

In olden times a great deal of the Italian wedding traditions consisted of warding off evil spirits. The groom would be sure to have something iron on his person to ward off the evil eye. The wedding veil was for the purpose of warding off evil spirits they may try to attack the bride and tearing the veil after the ceremony was considered good luck. The bride was not to have a complete bridal gown until the wedding day. It was to remain incomplete until she walked down the church aisle. Presumably a final stitch was made somewhere on the dress at the entrance of the church. The groom would wait at the front of the church and present the bride with a bouquet of flowers and herbs, to ward off the evil spirits.

At other times the groom would pick the bride up and walk her to the church. In this case a log and a saw would be placed in their path and they had to saw it into two pieces to show their union. If the bride walked to the church, without the groom, the local people often put things in her path such as a broom, beggar, crying baby. How she handled these items showed if she would be a good wife, mother, would be kind, etc.

In the ceremony the groom stood to the right of the bride, thus freeing his sword hand, just in case someone tried to steal his bride. Ten witnesses were required to make the ceremony official; hence the need for a large bridal party. They were dressed like the bride and groom to confuse the jealous spirits. The bride carried (and still does in most weddings) a silk or satin purse for guests to deposit their money gifts in as a way to help with the expenses. Another way money was raised was by the best man cutting the groom’s tie into pieces and selling them to guests at the wedding.

Following the ceremony the bride and groom were pelted with almonds (in mesh bags), three for children and five to seven to promote fertility. In ancient times a loaf of bread was broken over the bride’s head to represent fertility. At the end of the wedding the bride and groom broke a vase or glass into pieces with the number of shards representing how many years they would be married. Mothers-in-law sat at a table and kept a record of the repayment of favors or money which needed to be witnessed (this is still done in some of today’s ceremonies)

Most of the ceremonies started with mass in the early morning, followed by music and dancing throughout the night. Food was, and is, a large part of the wedding. Thirteen or more courses were ordinarily served (a large meal is still served at today’s weddings); this represented the union of the couple and their families.

It’s amazing how many wedding traditions still remain even though they may have evolved somewhat to reflect today’s society. Incorporating traditions based on heritage is often a good way to honor the old while celebrating the new.