The World’s First Indoor Ski Slope
The Austrians’ favorite is a non-working train station with artificial snow from soft drinks.
Today, the world’s largest ski resort sits on the edge of the desert in the United Arab Emirates where, despite temperatures soaring to around 41°C, Ski Dubai boasts 6,000 feet of real snow, fir trees and alpine-style chalets. Indoor skiing has come a long way since the opening of the Schneepalast (Snow Palace) – considered the world’s first indoor ski slope – in Vienna in 1927. Located in the city’s then Nordwestbahnhof station, the Schneepalast featured tracks built on scaffolding. and coconut milk and artificial snow made from soda.
An English chemist has found a way to create fake snow that is as soft and slippery as the real thing, allowing visitors to climb a slope of 20 meters on skis or sleds on the ground. Skiers who find themselves faced with snow say they can taste soda. “With a little imagination, you can take yourself somewhere in the mountains,” said the newspaper covering the attraction on November 26, 1927.
The opening was overshadowed by the assassination attempt of Karl Seitz, the mayor of Vienna. After the Anschluss in 1938, the Nordwestbahnhof was a “defunct” museum. The original building was bombed during the war and was demolished in 1952.
Bangkok’s Giant Swing
A curious artifact from one of the rarest religious ceremonies in the world.
In one of the most interesting religious ceremonies in the world, Thai men from the great seesaw (Sao Chingcha) in Bangkok in 1919, try, in a strange way, to cut a bag of coins with their teeth. The festival, which follows the December rice harvest, has been held every year for 150 years to celebrate part of the Hindu creation story, with the rotating pillars representing the mountain and its circular shape.
This swing was commissioned by King Rama I (1737-1809), the founder of the Chakri dynasty, which still rules Thailand. His movements were worse; The ceremony ended in 1935 after the death toll and today, the reconstruction stands in a circle in front of the Buddhist temple, Wat Suthat.
Did the Romans Invent Christmas?
Did the early Christian Roman emperors celebrate the pagan Saturnalia to celebrate the birth of Christ? Matt Salusbury examines the evidence. It is a public holiday celebrated around December 25 in family homes. A time of celebration, goodness, generosity to the poor, exchanging gifts and decorating trees. But it’s not Christmas. It was Saturnalia, the pagan Roman winter festival. But did Christmas, the most popular holiday in Western Christianity, originate from the pagan Saturnalia?
The first-century AD poet Gaius Valerius Catullus described Saturnalia as “the best time”: People dress up and dress quietly, exchanging small gifts such as dolls, candles, and birds. locked up. Saturnalia saw a shift in social roles. The wealthy would pay those who could not pay wages, masters and servants to exchange clothes. The family gathers together to determine who will be the temporary king of Saturnalia. The poet Lucian of Samosata (120-180 AD) with the god Cronos (Saturn) says in his poem Saturnalia:
“During my week, importance is prohibited: no business is allowed. Drinking and drunkenness, noise and dice games, inviting kings and servants to feasts, singing naked, clapping … occasionally immersing my face in cold water – these are my duties taking care of.
Saturnalia was the first agricultural festival to mark the end of the autumn harvest season in honor of Saturn (satus means sowing). Several archaeological sites in the region of Constantine on the Roman coast, now in Algeria, show that the cult of Saturn continued there until the beginning of the third century AD.
Saturnalia increased in length and moved to a more prosperous period during the Roman period. During the reign of Emperor Augustus (63 BC-14 AD), it was a two-day event that began on December 17. By the time Lucian described the event, it was a seven-day event. Changes made to the Roman calendar brought the number of Saturnalia up to December 25, around the time of the winter solstice.
Around 217 BCE, there was a public Saturnalia festival. The Roman authorities canceled the massacres and did not declare war during the festival. The pagan Roman authorities tried to curtail Saturnalia; Emperor Caligula (AD 12-41) tried to limit it to just five days, with little success.
Emperor Domitian (AD 51-96) may have changed the date of Saturnalia to December 25 in an attempt to maintain his authority. He curbed the disruptive tendencies of the Saturnalia by using public events under his rule to bring it out. The poet Statius (AD 45-95), in his poem Silvae, describes the magnificent banquets and entertainments hosted by Domitian, including games that opened with sweets, fruit and nuts poured on top crowds and flights of pink flamingos released from Rome. The show fighting dwarfs and gladiators light, for the first time, at night.
The conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in AD 312 ended the Roman persecution of Christians and began the imperial support of the Christian church. But Christianity did not become the religion of the rulers of the Roman Empire overnight. Dr David Gwynn, Lecturer in Ancient and Late History at Royal Holloway, University of London, says that alongside Christian and pagan festivals, “Saturnalia continued to be celebrated for centuries and -next”.
The poet Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius wrote another Saturnalia, describing the feast of famous pagan readers in Rome during the festival. The ancient works between 383 and 430 AD, so it describes Saturnalia alive under the Christian emperors. The Christian calendar of Polemius Silvus, written about AD 449, mentions Saturnalia, recording that he “walked in honor of the god Saturn”. This shows that by then it had become just another popular party.
It is clear that Christmas started – like Saturnalia – in Rome, and spread east to the Mediterranean. The best known reference to the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25 is in the Roman Philokalian calendar of 354. Soon after, regional disputes led to different Christian calendars. The Eastern Orthodox Church (Byzantine) half of the Roman Empire set Christmas as January 6, simultaneously commemorating the birth, baptism, and first miracle of Christ.
Saturnalia has a rival as a prelude to Christmas: the celebration of the dies natalis solis invicti, “the anniversary of the invincible sun”. The Philosopher’s Calendar also shows that December 25 is a Roman city festival honoring the cult of Sol Invicta. With its origins in Syria and the cult of Mithras, the sol invicta actually has similarities to the cult of Jesus. It was Emperor Aurelian (214-275) who introduced the cult to the empire in 274 AD, who made it a national religion, putting his symbol on Roman coins.
Sol invicta was successful because of his ability to channel aspects of Jupiter and other gods into the Sun King, demonstrating the full power of the “God” emperors. But despite the efforts of later pagan emperors to control Saturnalia and turn the festival into an official worship, sol invicta eventually resembled the ancient Saturnalia.
Constantine, the first Christian emperor, was raised to worship the land invicta, in a place that used to be a monotheistic kingdom: “So it is possible,” said Dr. Gwynn says, “Christmas was intended to be a substitute for this party rather than a religious celebration. Saturnalia”. .’
Gwynn concludes, “Many modern scholars would be inclined to accept a close connection between Saturnalia and the emergence of the Christian Christmas.”
Christians will be reassured to know that the day of Christmas can be derived from the ideas in the Jewish religion that connect the time of the death of the prophets and their pregnancy or birth. From this, the first ecclesiastics deduced that Mary was nine months pregnant after the Apparition and March 25 would set the date of December 25 for the birth of Christ.