“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009, "Oh baby, we don't need a piece of paper to prove our Latvian love."

One week until my birthday. Seven Days. 39 years ago today my mom was 35 weeks pregnant with me, her 4th baby. I think she was just about done with this whole "being pregnant" thing. Wow, 35 weeks preggers with the 4th kid, I'd be done, too.

What was happing in 1970 on this day? According to Wikipedia nobody important was born and nobody important died. I'm sure they are wrong, but there  you go.

There is at least one cool thing, however.
Today is the 100th birthday of the guy that created the neon lamp. If this guy weren't born, we wouldn't have neon. Well, we probably would but it wouldn't have been this guy's claim to fame.

Oh, and one thing I found interesting. In the Latvian days of yore, today was the only day of the year men proposed marriage to women. I wonder if women could propose to men the other 364 days (365 in leap year). 
I wasted some time and decided to look up some Latvian wedding traditions.
---Groomsmen "kidnap" the bride, and the groom must complete a simple task to "ransom" her back
---Writing sins on rocks, then tossing the rocks into a body of water, will allow a person to atone for their sins
The most interesting one I found was this -- To honor true love, the Latvin Couple, on their wedding day, puts flowers on the Grave of Maija. The story goes like this
“The Rose of Turaida.”

In 1601, after a battle near Turaida castle, a castle clerk found a surviving baby girl in the arms of her dead mother. (don't worry; it gets much worse.)
Maija – as the baby girl was named – was raised by the clerk and his wife as their own child.
Maija grew into the loveliest maiden imaginable, inspiring the community to dub her “the Rose of Turaida.” In spite of her great beauty and potential for many loves, there was but one man in Maija’s heart: Viktor, a young gardener living in the nearby castle of Sigulda, who returned Maija’s love wholeheartedly.
A certain Polish nobleman (by birth, not breeding) named Adam Jakubowski, disregarding Maija’s and Viktor’s love for one another, decided that he was a better match for the young beauty. Apparently, within Jakubowski’s insanely narcissistic world, coercion, cruelty and deception were acceptable elements of courtship. One August afternoon, convincing Maija that she would be rendezvousing with her beloved Viktor, Jakubowski lured her into the cool shadows of nearby Gutmanis Cave where he then shared with her his evil intentions to forcibly take her for his wife, presumably right then and there.
The clever Maija (apparently lacking all self preservation instincts) quickly convinced Jakubowski that the silk scarf in her pocket was magical, rendering its wearer immune to injury. If Jakubowski agreed to let her go, she said, the scarf would be his. As proof of the scarf’s magic, Maija offered her own precious neck. Wrapping the scarf around her throat, the young girl valiantly told Jakubowski to strike her with his sword, which (the apparently not too bright) Jakubowski did. Within an instant, in the isolation of the cold dark cave, Maija lost her life while maintaining her honor.
Unlike many legends, papers found in the archives of Sigulda castle seem to corroborate this story (with some varying details), as well as to confirm the eventual fate of Jakubowski (which involved his neck, a noose and, I’m guessing, an angry mob).
From that day forward newly married couples have left flowers on the grave of Maija: The Rose of Turaida.

On that note, 7 days until my birthday. Until tomorrow . . . . .

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