The Baby Jumping Festival of Castrillo de Murcia.

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The Baby Jumping Festival – Photo by Celestebombin on Wikipedia | Copyright: Creative Commons
Whereas most Catholics are baptized into their religion as infants by being gently dunked under cleansing waters, absolving them of their innate original sin, in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia fresh babes are laid in the street as men dressed in traditional devil costumes run around jumping over them, terrorizing onlookers.
The yearly festival known locally as “El Colacho” takes place during the village’s religious feast of Corpus Christi.
No concrete origin for the bizarre ritual exists, but it dates back to at least the early 1600s.
During the holiday parents with children born during the previous year bring the little tikes out and place them in neat rows of pillows spaced out down a public street.
Then, while the excited parents look on, men dressed in bright yellow costumes, and grotesque masks begin filing through the crowd, whipping bystanders with switches and generally terrorizing everyone.
But this is all fun and games as the main event is when these “devils” run down the street jumping over the rows of babies like Olympic hurdlers.
Once the little sinners have been jumped over they are considered absolved of man’s original transgression, and they are sprinkled with rose petals before being taken away by their (likely very relieved) parents.
While there are no reports of injuries or babalities caused by the flying devils, the strange practice is frowned upon by the clergy of the Catholic Church with the Pope going so far as to ask the Spanish people to distance themselves from the ritual.
However El Colacho continues to take place each year.
No one can tell this village that they can’t send their devil-men careening over helpless infants.
Edited by: Allison (Admin), EricGrundhauser (Admin)
via The Baby Jumping Festival | Atlas Obscura.

‘Auld Lang Syne’ by Robbie Burns, 1796.

robert_burnsThe most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s eve, “Auld Lang Syne” is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum.
Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns’s homeland.
It is often remarked that “Auld Lang Syne” is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. “Auld Lang Syne” literally translates as “old long since” and means “times gone by.”
The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, “For auld lang syne, we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet.
“The lesser known verses continue this theme, lamenting how friends who once used to “run about the braes,/ And pou’d the gowans fine” (run about the hills and pulled up the daisies) and “paidl’d in the burn/Frae morning sun till dine” (paddled in the stream from morning to dusk) have become divided by time and distance—”seas between us braid hae roar’d” (broad seas have roared between us).
Yet there is always time for old friends to get together—if not in person then in memory—and “tak a right guid-willie waught” (a good-will drink).

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But it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, and not Robert Burns, who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year’s tradition. Lombardo first heard “Auld Lang Syne” in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants.
When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year’s eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born.
Source: New Year’s Traditions

Canberra was under Prohibtion law from 1910-1928.

Boxes containing Canberra’s first shipment of the demon drink after prohibition ends. Image Credit: National Archives of Australia.
by James Cameron,
On 22 December, 1910, new liquor licenses were banned in the Australian Capital Territory, and a 17 year dry spell for the capital began. 
Shortly after the creation of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which is now the ACT, the then-Minister of State for Home Affairs, King O’Malley, proposed that liquor sales be banned.
It became the very first ordinance passed in the new territory. “O’Malley was a quite influential figure in the early days of Canberra,” says Amy Lay, a curator at the National Archives of Australia. “He lobbied hard to keep alcohol out of the FCT, believing that it had a depressing influence”.
At the time the Cricketers’ Arms Hotel (which is now gone) was the territory’s only pub and so slid under this new set of rules.
Canberra’s prohibition wasn’t very effective The new rules wouldn’t stop the thirsty capital for long. “The laws only prevented the granting of liquor licenses in the ACT.
So you couldn’t get a license to open a bar, but you could bring alcohol into the ACT and drink it there,” Amy explains.
“There was nothing to stop someone from heading across the border to New South Wales to buy or drink alcohol,” says Amy. Workers, she says, simply saved up their thirst for a big night in the town of Queanbeyan, which was just across the border.
There was also no reason thirsty punters couldn’t just bring alcohol back. By 1927 the transport of liquor into Canberra had become so common that local guidebooks like A Descriptive guide to Canberra explained how to move liquor across the border.
“[This] guide to Canberra for workers moving there, explicitly states that one could simply drive over to Queanbeyan, fill their boot with grog and drive it back into Canberra for drinking,” Amy says.
Interestingly this ban was finally brought to an end by thirsty pollies. In June 1926 the Joint House Committee passed a resolution to allow the construction of a bar in Parliament House.
Members of parliament were deeply divided by this, some pollies announcing they would boycott the bar until the locals could drink at an establishment too. Outraged locals, who were still under prohibition, finally forced the issue.
A plebiscite took place on 1 September 1928, resulting in the removal of the prohibition.
Source: On this day: Canberra’s prohibition begins – Australian Geographic

Sydney’s Pubs, Liquor and Larrikins.

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The landscape of Sydney is unthinkable without its vibrant, character-filled and sometimes controversial pubs. Pubs define the pulse, personality and tempo of the city and provide a convenient yardstick of how our customs and social mores have evolved.
More than any other Australian institution, the pub provides a convenient yardstick to measure the way our customs and social mores have evolved over the years.
Think back to the makeshift grog shops in the goldfields; to the rough-and-tumble bush pubs where the drover or shearer cashed his season’s cheque and then attempted to drink his way through it; to the tiled, male-only monstrosities of the ‘six o’clock swill’ era; right up to the smart, architect designed inner-city bars, gastro pubs and mini casinos of today.
Pub is a shortened version of ‘public house’, which helps to explain the origin of many colonial-era hotels like The Lord Nelson Hotel in The Rocks, which claims to be the ‘oldest continuously licensed hotel in Sydney’.
The Lord Nelson was originally a two-storey private home built by William Wells in 1836 from sandstone blocks quarried by convicts from the base of Observatory Hill.
Wells obtained a liquor licence and in 1842 he opened the doors of his home to the public for the first time, naming his hotel after the English naval hero of the day.
The doors have remained open ever since, but the interior of the hotel and the nature of its clientele have changed over the years, reflecting whims of fashion and taste.
Sometime in the 1930s the sandstone walls in the public bar and upstairs were covered with tiles or coated with concrete render, as if to hide their naked historical significance.
Read more via Sydney’s Pubs: liquor, larrikins & the law | Sydney Living Museums.

Irn-Bru please, we are Scots.

horn_advert_500x249-s500x249-67923There’s a persistent fact online that in Scotland, Irn-Bru sells better than Coca Cola, making it the only place on Earth where Coca Cola is outsold by a native soft drink.
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Weirdly, that’s true, to a degree, sales are constantly shifting and both brands are virtually always one-upping each other in sales. Which makes Scotland a unique and chilly battleground.
The weird thing is, Irn-Bru advertises itself quite unlike any other product, for a start it openly states that it is Scotland’s “Other national drink” a cheeky nod to fact everyone in Scotland is blind drunk on whisky.
When a soft drink staring down Coca Freaking Cola only acknowledges whisky as its competition, you know they just don’t give a shit.

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One of the brands more controversial adverts involved a bikini clad woman with a slogan underneath that simply stated “I never knew four-and-a-half inches could give so much pleasure“.
The ad was supposed to be advertising diet Irn-Bru, but unless you’re reading this with a head injury then it’s clear what the ad was referring to.

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However, Irn-Bru’s big wigs steadfastly refused to admit that any sexual connotation whatsoever was implied by the advert, parleying all of the blame onto the filthy-minded public.
Yes, when asked with explaining why their ad contained sexual content, the higher-ups and Irn-Bru simply shrugged and said, “what sexual content”.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the kind of balls it takes to run a company that competes with Coca Cola every single day.
via This is How Scottish People React to Controversy