Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When Was Jesus Really Born?-- What Does the Bible Say?

Around this time of year millions of people celebrate Christmas. In the past, I have touched briefly on the origins behind the celebrations and customs associated with Christmas, and how their true origins are a far cry from anything related to Christ.

In this article I will solely discuss Jesus and his birth, showing you facts that are backed up by scripture as well as other sources so that you can see, without a doubt, that Jesus WAS NOT born on December 25th as many have believed for so long. In fact this date, December 25 has no basis in scripture at all.

First and foremost, I am not an Athiest. I am a Christian, and I believe in Jesus wholeheartedly, but I also believe what the Bible says about him, not the false doctrines that have been spread for so long, misleading the public.  

John "The Baptist"

So what does John "The Baptist" have to do with Jesus' birth? A lot, actually.

According to the Bible, Jesus was conceived while Mary's cousin, Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant with John. At the time that Zachariah was notified by God's angel that his wife was to become pregnant, Zachariah was serving in God's temple in Jerusalem under the course of Abijah. Historical records prove that this took place around the month of June, according to the Jewish Calendar.

The Bible account at Luke goes on to state that upon Zachariah's return home days later (towards the end of June), that his wife became pregnant with John. Count 6 months from the end of June and you find the time that God caused Mary to conceive Jesus. Add another 9 months to that and you will find that the date falls around the end of September.

(Please read the account at Luke 1: 5-33)

Shepherds In The Fields

According to the Biblical story of Jesus' birth, the Shepherds were out  in the fields. Had it been December, the Shepherds would not be out in the fields overnight with their flocks because that is very cold season in Bethlehem.

By the month of Bul (Oct-Nov) the weather would have already become rainy and harsh for the flocks, thus they would not be kept outdoors in the night.  The next month, Chislev (Nov-Dec) was even worse, having the lowest temperatures of the year, and even sometimes snow in the highlands.

So, logic firmly tells us that given the fact that the Shepherds were out in the fields with their flocks at the time of Jesus' birth, it had to be around early Fall, the month of Ethanim, (Sept-Oct.) of the year 2 B.C.E., when Christ was born.

(Please read the account at Luke 2: 8-20)

Timing is Everything!

Jesus died when he was 33 1/2 years old. He was baptized at the age of 30 in 29 C.E., around the same time of the year as his birth. He died on Nisan 14, which was approximately 6 months (or half-way through the year) before the date of his birth, and also the anniversary of his baptism. Also note that Jesus' ministry only lasted 3 1/2 years because he died on Nisan 14, halfway through what would have been his 4th year of ministry.  Count back 6 months from Nisan 14, which is during the Spring and you will always end up around September.

The Census

According to Bible accounts, Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for the census, ordered by Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus.  Census' were not done in the winter. Why would the Emperor force a people to travel during the worst conditions of the year just to register for the census? It doesn't make sense. The people would have been very likely to revolt against him, had he decreed they trek in below-freezing temperatures during the dead of winter.

Luke 2: 1-4 states: " Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Au·gus′tus for all the inhabited earth to be registered.  (This first registration took place when Qui·rin′i·us was governor of Syria.)  And all the people went to be registered, each one to his own city.  Of course, Joseph+ also went up from Gal′i·lee, from the city of Naz′a·reth, into Ju·de′a, to David’s city, which is called Beth′le·hem,+ because of his being a member of the house and family of David. "

Other Facts:

A Catholic Newspaper was quoted saying: 

"The real date of Jesus’ birth, from the historical viewpoint, lies concealed beneath a veil of uncertainty as regards Roman history, the imperial census of that time and research in the subsequent centuries. . . . The date of 25 December, as is well known, was chosen by the Church of Rome in the fourth century..This date in pagan Rome was dedicated to the Sun god . . . Although Christianity had already been affirmed in Rome by an Edict of Constantine, the myth of . . . the Sun god was still widespread, especially among soldiers. The above-mentioned festivities, centered on 25 December, were deeply rooted in popular tradition. This gave the Church of Rome the idea of impressing a Christian religious significance on the day by replacing the Sun god with the true Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, choosing it as the day on which to celebrate his birth.”

It was reported that even Pope Benedict of the Catholic Church, claimed his doubts that Jesus was born on December 25th.  Remember, after Jesus and his apostles died, just as the Bible foretold, there would be a time when Christianity as a whole would fall away from true worship and plummet into a dark period. It was during such times that that Christianity became corrupted and diluted by outside sources. 

During the the 4th century the idea of Christmas, which derived from various pagan customs,  and other doctrines or beliefs were adopted by the Catholic Church, including forms of idolatry. It was at this time that the celebration of Jesus' birth became intertwined with the Winter Solstice and other pagan customs, as a means to invite pagans to convert. 

The answers have always been right here in the Bible. It just takes time to research and find it. Some people won't go through the trouble to find the answers. They would rather choose to continue believing what they were taught without a second thought. However, some will take the time to research and study the scriptures, in order to learn what the Bible says. Not just following blindly on what imperfect man wants us to believe.  Like I always say, if it isn't in the Bible, I am not going to believe it, plain and simple. 

This blog was to inform you of the historical accuracy of the Bible that coincide with other various historical evidence that Jesus was not born on December 25. I hope you have found the information I have provided to be informative, and maybe it will inspire you to look up these scriptures and information for yourself. If you choose to continue to believe that December 25th was the day of Christ's birth, that is up to you. No one can force you to believe or not believe, as we all have free will. 

(2014- Copyright- Origins What Does History Say?)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NISAN 14: Observing The Anniversary of Jesus' Death

Many people often think of  Good Friday & Easter as a time when they celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the true origins of Easter, (as I pointed out in one of my previous articles, "Easter- Do You Really Know The Truth About It?"), date back to Ancient Babylon and their pagan goddess, Ishtar (which the name "Easter" originates from). In fact, Easter was also a time in ancient mythology where the resurrection of the god Tammuz was celebrated. 

In fact, if we are to go back to the origins of when Jesus died and follow the Hebrew Calendar, you would see that the days in which Good Friday and Easter are celebrated each year do not coincide with Nisan 14, the very day in which the Hebrews were commanded to celebrate the Passover. This information is key, as to when to celebrate the anniversary of Jesus' death.

You see, the night of the "Last Supper" as people call it, was in fact Nisan 14. That is the day that is recorded in the Bible when Jesus sat down with his apostles and had his last meal. The same night that Judas betrayed him and the same night that he commanded his apostles to commemorate this event for the sacrifice that he was about to make on behalf of the world, when he said “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”--- Luke 22: 19


When Jesus sat around the table with his apostles there were two significant events they were observing. As always that night had served as a night to remember the "Passover" that took place in Ancient Egypt when God sent the angel to passover the land as part of the 10th Plague. If the angel came to the home and saw that the blood of a lamb had been marked over their door, then the angel "passed over" it and spared the life of the firstborn. As history proves, there have been archealogical findings in Egypt that actually support the Bible's mention of the 10 Plagues including the Exodus itself. 

By the time Jesus and his apostles were observing this anniversary of the Passover, he had another commandment to make for this very same day. He told his apostles from then on to keep celebrating this night, now in remembrance of him. This was for the sacrifice that he was about to make of giving up his life on account of imperfect mankind. He used the wine and the unleavened bread as symbols of his blood and his body that was to be poured out and sacrificed for our sins.

Another thing to mention is that back then the day started at sundown and ended the next night at sundown. Therefore the night of Nisan 14 not only is a night to observe "The Lord's Evening Meal" or Last Supper, but the anniversary of Jesus' death, being that he died that very next day which was still Nisan 14. 

Every year the date is different as the Hebrew Calendar does not work according to the calendars that we use in this present time. So in order to properly observe this date, we must do it according to the Hebrew Calendar.

So now you know what Nisan 14 is and why Christians were commanded to observe it. For more information in regards to the true origins of Easter, please read "Easter- Do You Really Know The Truth About It?"

(Copyright 2014)- Dreaming Casually

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Origin Of California's Name- Setting The Record Straight

Cal y Fornos
So the other night on a history forum, I got into a heated debate with a few people about the "origin" of California's name. I wasn't the only one who disagreed with the history that one individual decided to push as fact. I knew that although I could go on and on in the debate, that the person was very close minded and didn't want to hear the truth, so it was pointless to keep going back and forth.  I decided then and there that I would do some more detailed research on the matter and then write about it here on my blog, where I investigate the "origins" of many things. So why not investigate California's name, right? Well, hold on to your hats everyone, because this is going to be a bumpy ride....from the early California frontier to Amazons, from mythological places and islands all the way back to reality, I am going to take you there...are you ready? let's go!


When you think of the name California, you might think of the Gold Rush, the West, Frontier days, Cowboys and Indians (now, Native Americans), the Spanish Conquistadors, Missions and the Pacific coastline. What many people don't often think about is why or how California got it's name. Well, as I stated above, the forum I was on, there was a gentleman who was adamant about stating that California was named after a Black Queen of the Amazons, Calafia. There have been many scholars who have agreed with this theory, although the origins of Calafia and her island of Amazons are still up for debate. To understand this story, one must go back, all the way back as far as possible to the first references of any possible link to this story, this person (fictional or not) and the place known as California.

This story takes twists and turns, can be perplexing at times and will definitely make you think. When you are done reading this, I hope you would have learned something new and will come to your own conclusions as to the true origin of California's name.

CALAFIA (Amazon Queen)--

First mentioned in a romance novel (yes, fiction) in the early 16th Century, " Las sergas de Esplandián," written by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, Calafia is mentioned as a leader and queen of an island inhabited ONLY by black (Amazon) women. In a nutshell, in this fictional story, this place known as "California" is also an island full of griffin's (remember this fact for later). Queen Calafia decides to travel with Radiaro, Sultan of Liqua (Muslim) all the way to Constantinople to aid in the Muslim fight against the Christians. She also brings with her, an army of trained griffins to destroy and eat her enemies.  In the story, she later converts to Christianity and even marries a Knight and returns to her land, where she allows men to dwell as well as women.


There were earlier books that Montalvo used as inspiration for his book, although they do not mention Calafia. The original works, which were comprised of four books, known as "Amadis de Gaula" were written in the early 14th Century and later published by Montalvo in the 16th Century. The stories are a precursor to Montalvo's addition (5th book)  "Las sergas de Esplandián," and speak of the earlier times in the life of the Knight Esplandian. Although Montalvo published these works, he was not the author of the first three books, and it has been cited that the style of the writer changed drastically by the fourth and fifth books, showing Montalvo's more inferior writing style.

According to records, it has been up for speculation as far as who the original author was. Although the places and people in the "Amadis" book seem fictional, it is highly likely that it was actually based on the story of Henry of Castile and his blocked marriage to Constanza de Aragon. Many of the places and events mentioned in the first three books, although fictionalized by name, sound quite similar to real places in or around Europe.

Although it has been said the author was either Vasco de Lobeira or even Joao de Lobeira, there has been some findings that may prove that Henry of Castile wrote the first three books himself. According to "O Romance de Amadis", by Alonso Lopes Vieira,  Henry of Castile actually handed the manuscript of "Amadis" to King Diniz of Portugal around 1295, and also the account of the visit of Henry of Castile in Portugal to his nephew, the King, is recorded as well.

It is obvious from researching this compilation of stories, that Montalvo did not write the first three books and although he claims to have found the fourth and fifth books in a trunk in Constantinople, the odds are that he just fabricated additional works to keep the "romance" of these epic stories alive.  It is also interesting to mention that the book, "Don Quixote" mentions both the "Amadis de Guala" and the "Las sergas de Esplandián" books, and suggests that Montalvo's work is shotty, thus the character throws the latter copy away and keeps "Amadis."

So what does that have to do with California? Well, we will get to that. So for now, you know where the story of Calafia came from, and that the author was the type to draw on others works for his inspiration and ideas. Remember this as we go further into the topic.


What does a griffin have to do with this story? Well, everything actually. If you recall that Montalvo's story about Calafia inhabiting an island of women that had trained griffins. According to the story, this place was a "Paradise" of sorts and the only place the griffins would dwell. If you do any research into the origins of the griffin, although you will find it in ancient greek folklore, the real origins stem from Persia.  In fact the word "Kar-i-farn" is a mythological "mountain of paradise" where griffins dwelled.  Thus the origins of the griffin are middle eastern and this island of griffins depicted in Montalvo's book are inspired by Persian influence.

"La Chanson de Roland" (written around 1140-1170),  the oldest standing piece of French literature and is revered as one of the most epic poems of all time mentions something worth looking into regarding this topic. (I particularly love this piece of literary art, due to the fact it mentions my direct ancestor, Charlemagne, the Father of Europe).

In the poem, there is a stanza that lists various nations or lands. Depending on the translation you read it basically states:

"Dead is my nephew who conquered so many lands! And now the Saxons rebel against me, and the Hungarians, Bulgarians, and many others, the Romans, the 'Puillian,' and those of Palermo (Sicily) and those of Africa, and those of 'Califerne'."--

There you have it, the very first mention of the land known as Califerne is noted in this epic poem. And it has been mentioned that the name Califerne and the Persian word "Kar-i-farn" are too closely related to go unnoticed or unmentioned. The lands mentioned in this stanza are separated by commas showing that they are all each individual lands. Some people have tried to attach Califerne to a land in Africa, but given the fact many learned scholars who have tried to figure out where this "Califerne" was located, the thought was that it may have meant "caliph's domain." (Caliph, meaning "Leader, Ruler"; Muslim)

This showed that more than likely the land was towards the middle east, corroborating the "Kar-i-farn" theory.  Also, if it was a land in Africa, why would it be repeated? Why would the names be separated by commas? It wouldn't be. Just as Rome and Palermo were separated by commas, and Hungary and Bulgaria were separated, thus was Africa and Califerne.

So we now know where the land of the griffins was supposed to be, which corroborates with the Persian idealogy of "Kar-i-farn," and the epic poem "La Chanson de Roland," speaking of Califerne which more than likely was located in the middle east. This information does show that more than likely Montalvo was influence by the Persian word "Kari-i-farn" for his mythological "California", the paradise where the griffins dwell.

Amazon preparing for the battle

So where does the Amazon idea come from?


The word Amazon, although it sounds like something that one would expect to hear in South America (ex; the Amazon river) is actually Greek. It depicts a nation of women warriors, and even some stories in Greek mythology speak of demi-gods being as Amazon warriors.  The name itself does not depict a woman of color, or native people of indigenous lands being that the Amazon origin itself came from Greece.  It wasn't until later, after the romantic tales of exploring new lands, discovering riches or even becoming a hero like the epic chivalrous tales many had been accustomed to reading, that the idea of these new lands or islands of "terrestrial paradise" may have manifested themselves.

In 1498, the time Columbus was sailing off the coast of Venezuela, even he reported that he believed he was about to find a "terrestrial paradise." In fact the reports from Columbus himself more than likely inspired Montalvo's writings in his 5th book "Las sergas de Esplandián" when conjuring up his mythological "California".

Antonio Pigafetta's account, while travelling with Maggelan in their voyage around the world may very well be the very first account of a island inhabited by women, although this location took place in the East Indies (Malay Archipelago) and the women were not black, but instead islanders found near the Gulf of Tonkin in Indochina:


 [154] “Our old pilot related to us other extravagant things. He told us that the young men of Java .... and that in an island called Ocoloro, below Java Major, there are only women who become pregnant with the wind, and when they bring it forth, if the child is a male, they kill it, and if a female, they bring it up; and if any man visits their island, whenever they are able to kill him, they do so.”----A.Pigafetta's account.

What is interesting is that Cortes mentions a very similar myth or story as well,

 "He likewise brought me an account of the chiefs of the province of Ceguatan, who affirm that there is an island inhabited only by women without any men, and that, at given times, men from the mainland visit them; if they conceive, they keep the female children to which they give birth, but the males they throw away. This island is ten days' journey from the province, and many of them went thither and saw it, and told me also that it is very rich in pearls and gold. I shall strive to ascertain the truth, and, when I am able to do so, I shall make a full account to Your Majesty."........(Fourth Letter, Cortes to the King of Spain, October 15, 1524).

And again, six years later another such story (or myth) is brought up in an account, this time by Cortes' enemy Nuño de Guzmán.  However, in Guzman's depiction the women are white.

"From thence [Aztatlan] ten days further I shall go to find the Amazons, which some say dwell in the Sea, some in an arme of Sea,and that they are rich, and accounted of the people for Goddesses, and whiter than other women. They use bowes, arrows, and targets; have many and great townes; at a certain time [they] admit them [i.e. men] to accompany them, which bring up the males as these the female issue."-

From the looks of it, all the romantic notions of exploring and conquering lands, finding treasures and exotic or beautiful "goddess-like" women  influenced many of these explorers to fantasize about what they would find in their journeys. Alot of their ideas could have stemmed from the heroic stories in Greek or Roman mythology, or even father back in Sumerian, Egyptian or Mesopotamian folklore.  Even in the case of  "La Chanson de Roland," the story of chivalry, honor and heroism was something that had been handed down for centuries. In the case of Montalvo's story, he created his own idea of a fantasy place known as "California" that wasn't in the mythological folklore of any culture, and was just a fictional story, period.

Do I think that California was named after this fictional place written in a romance novel a mere 500 years ago? No, I do not.

Cortes never mentioned that name whatsoever in his letters. In fact, Cortes didn't pick the name California at all. In fact, Cortes sought to name Baja and the Bay of La Paz, "Santa Cruz". The first mention of the name California was more than likely by Fortun Ximenez (or Jimenez),  although there is no way to know why he chose the name because he failed to save records of that voyage.

In fact, the mention of California in later records does not explain the reason for choosing the name at all. Although the diary of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo mentions California casually, some maps of the land showing Cortes' journeys dated back to 1541 didn't have the name California added to it until the late eighteenth century by Archbishop Lorenzana.  Diaries of  some of the men on the Ulloa expedition do not mention the name California at all while Francisco Ulloa's journal itself does. It has also been  thought the name California may have been added later to some journals or documents after the name had become established and more widely known. As much as California was noted in record, so was the name Santa Cruz or Santa X.  Bottom line is that there was no definitive records that state why they chose the name at all.  The idea that California is named after this fictional story by Montalvo, about an island of griffins, amazon women and Queen Calafia just cannot be verified, therefore it cannot be stated as fact.


Given the climate of Baja when the explorers arrived, the area was more than likely a hot, barren land. Thus the theory that California was named based on the Latin words “CALIDA FORNAX” (hot furnace) makes more sense. Upon even further research, I found even an even more definitive explanation, the words “CAL Y FORNOS” meaning "Lime and Furnace", or (Lime-Kiln).  According to the December 22, 1895, Los Angeles Herald, the article ponders the very same theories I have presented to you today and even ends the article with the same conclusion that the name stemmed from "Cal y Fornos" explaining that the very natives of made lime kilns for their pueblos. This would be a more logical theory, being that the Spanish usually, for the most part, named places after something, (ex; La Mesa, La Paz, El Cajon, etc.)

In conclusion, you can agree or disagree with the information I have presented to you. The facts remain that there is no definitive answers to why the name California was given to this state. Was it named after a fictional land in some romance novel? Or was it named after the abundant lime deposits in the rocks used to create furnaces that the natives used as stoves,when the explorers landed here? You decide.

(Copyright 2014- J'aime Rubio, Dreaming Casually Publications)

Some Sources: "The First Voyage Around The World"- A. Pigafetta
"A History Of California, The Spanish Period"- Charles Edward Chapman
"La Chanson de Roland"- (various translations)
"Letters of Cortes"-
 "Las sergas de Esplandián"
"Amadis de Guala" 
Los Angeles Herald, December 22, 1895 
(many various other sources....) 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

History of the American Barbershop

Most men visit barbershops on a regular basis, but many do not know the history of the "American" barber trade itself, nor do they know how it came here to America. Long before the Europeans passage across the Atlantic into the new land known today as the United States, the role of a barber was one that consisted of more than just merely cutting hair or shaving ones face. In fact, dating back to ancient times, barbers were highly respected tradesmen. While barbershops were often, as they are today, the sanctuaries for men seeking an escape from everyday stress, they could also converse with fellow men, joke, laugh and talk freely with one another without self-consciousness.


The trade of a barber traces back to some of the oldest proven artifacts of mankind's existence.  Ancient Mesopotamian, Sumerian and Egyptian relics that have been unearthed have depicted barber's tools such as razors and carvings of items such as today's modern day scissors, used for cutting or shaving mens hair and beards.  In ancient Greece, patrons would visit an agora, which is what would be considered an original type of barbershop where men gathered to have their beards trimmed, shaved, hair cut or finger nails trimmed while associating with one another and listening to local gossip. In Ancient Rome, a daily visit to the tonsor was what all men did for a clean shave. It was even considered a "rite of passage" or coming of age experience for a young boy to have his first visit to the tonsor.  Asia had it's own form of barbers who shaved their heads into certain hairstyles for their culture. India also had it's own barbers who sat on the street where they trimmed their patron's hair. History proves that even in the Middle Ages, barbers served as also dentists and surgeons, thus earning them the names "barber surgeons."


The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction (published Circa 1824; London) states:

---" It appears there were no barbers at Rome, before the year A.U.C. 454. Varro reports, that Ticinius Mena brought them thither from Sicily. The barber's shops very soon became the resort of idlers and gossips. Besides curing the hair and shaving their beard, the ancient barbers also trimmed the nails. Anciently, a lute or viol, or some such musical instruments, was part of the furniture of a barber's shop, which was then frequented by persons above the ordinary rank, who resorted thither for the cure of wounds, or to undergo some chirurgical operations, or as it was called, to be trimmed , a word which signified either shaving or cutting and curling the hair. These, and also letting of blood, were the ancient operations of the barber surgeons. The musical instruments in this shop were for the amusement of waiting customers, and answered the end of a Twopenny Mirror,  with which it is now usual for such to entertain themselves. The naivete of modern barbers is well known to the inhabitants of this metropolis, and we have only "to walk into their shops and see, what witty fellows these shavers be."

It goes on to say, "The origin of the "barber's pole" has been subject of various conjectures among etymologists. Some have supposed it to have been derived from the word poll, or head; but, the true invention of this party-coloured staff was to show that the master of the shop, practiced surgery, and could breathe a vein, as well as take off the beard; such a staff being to this day, by every village practitioner, put into the hand of a person undergoing the operation of phlebotomy. The white band which encompasses the staff, was designed to represent the fillet, thus elegantly turned about it. "---

In fact, as it states above, the very origin of the barber pole posted outside of nearly every barbershop which features the red and white spiraling stripes, dates back to Europe. Another one of the gruesome services a barber-surgeon would offer was the extracting of teeth. Whether he was applying leeches to a customer, delousing a lice infested patron, or performing bloodletting, once he was finished he would wrap the bloody bandages around the customer and later wash out the bandages and hang them on the white pole that sat outside his place of business.  The wind would cause the bandages to wrap around the pole, leaving bloodied red stains. During the centuries up until 1300s, the a barber would take the blood from his customer and place it in a bowl on an outside window so that passersby could see, hoping it would draw attention and attract more customers for bloodletting. By 1307, a law passed prohibiting the displaying of blood in the window, and forcing the barber's to dispose of it in the river for cleanliness issues. Eventually sometime around the 1500's the poles outside were painted red and white to signify the older practice of the barber-surgeons bloody bandage hanging. It is often thought that the addition of the stripe of blue, most commonly found on an American Barbershop pole, is because of the colors of "Red, White and Blue" from our nation's flag.

During the mid to late 1800s, was when free African-Americans took to the trade and became successful with it. Historical facts prove that when European immigrants moved to America, they brought their own culture and their own ways of life with them, including trades such as barbers, doctors, cobblers, blacksmiths, bakers and so forth just as they had in the "old country" in Europe.
Nearing the time when slavery would be abolished in the late 1800s, this was when free African-Americans assimilated into the American culture by learning an existing trade from the established immigrant barbers who brought this trade to America. Becoming a barber was an easy trade to learn and a lucrative one at that. Everyone needed a haircut or a shave, so this proved to be a successful trade for former slaves and later generations to learn. It was even stated in The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of The Arts In The South, that "one out of every eight African American in the Upper South, was worth at least $2000 in 1860. And the standard for affluence at that time, owned a barber shop." Many sites claim that African-Americans brought the barber trade to this country by way of the slaves, but this is not historically accurate and history proves this. The fact is that they took on a trade that had already been in existence in America and abroad.


Whether Caucasian or African-American, the barbershops of the late 1800s and the 'turn of the Century' flourished with modern day conveniences becoming available such as electricity. The barbershop continued to be a gathering place for men, just as it was in the days of Rome and Greece, to talk freely to one another, enjoy themselves and catch up on local gossip all while being serviced by a barber.

During the late 1800s and turn of the Century, it was commonplace for men to break out into song while sitting there waiting for customers to come in for a shave or haircut. Sometimes the barbers would step outside in front of their place of business and begin singing to draw attention to their shop, hoping to get oncoming passersby to stop in and get a shave. This was the beginnings of what you would call "barbershop balladeers" or "barbershop quartets" which really originates back to "Glee Club" which traces back to "Choir" in the church which also originally came from Europe (ex; A Capella, "in the manner of the church".)*

The term barbershop quartet didn't even come about until decades later, after the trend died down. At the time when men would sing together in harmony at the barbershop, they were singing folk songs, minstrel songs, spiritual hymns of the time or of times past, together for fun and were often just referred to as "quartets." As time went on, people started writing their own songs and singing them in that style and so they contributed into making "barbershop quartet" singing a style of it's very own.

*In my next article we will go more in depth about the beginnings of Barbershop Quartets!

(Copyright 2013- J'aime Rubio)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Intertwined- The Fable of Tristan and Iseult

Tristan and Isolde (Merle)

Long before the stories of Romeo and Juliet or Guinevere and Lancelot, the “star-crossed lovers” fantasy idea had inspired many a tale. One that calls to mind is the story of Tristan and Iseult (often times her name is referred to as Isolde). The story of Tristan and Iseult began in Medieval poetry back in 12th Century France. (*one note, this story is more than likely what inspired the story of Lancelot, Guinevere and King Arthur’s love triangle).

It is possible that Celtic legend had influence over this tale, being that every notable country in Europe has its own version of the story. That leads me to the belief that once there may have actually been two people whose love story actually became so famous that stories would be written about them, thus securing their immortality in the written word.

There are so many variations of the tale that one could find themselves confused. I however, chose to write about just one version, the version I liked the best. In this story you find a love triangle of sorts, however it is only Tristan and Iseult who are madly in love with one another. 

Herbert Draper
As the story goes, Tristan was a Knight who was summoned to go to Ireland to fetch Iseult for his uncle the King to marry. After arriving in Ireland and escorting Iseult back towards their country they strike up a fondness for one another. During a stop in a village Iseult goes to a potion maker to find a potion to love the King she is about to marry. But after getting to know Tristan she decides to give it to him instead. She and Tristan both drank of the potion and both of them became so madly in love with the other that it was impossible for them to be apart.

After arriving back at the King’s court, Iseult marries the King but cannot rid herself of the undying affection and yearning in her heart for her Knight, Tristan. Although she has love for the King in the sense of honor and respect she cannot deny the passion in her heart for Tristan. The King loves his wife, and also cares deeply for Tristan being that he is like a son to him. Tristan loves Iseult  more than anything, but at the same time he is torn because of his love and respect for his uncle who was like a father to him. Thus, the love triangle began.

Edmund Blair Leighton
Eventually, their emotions got the best of them and they could not resist their urges to see one another.  In the cover of darkness, both Tristan and Iseult would sneak off together just to feel the others touch. As much as she wanted to respect the arrangement of her marriage to the King and for his kindness to take care of her, she could not resist the temptation to see her true love, Tristan.  As lovers usually are fools, so were the pair, and eventually the kings advisers and others in the kingdom started to figure out that there was something going on with the Queen and the Knight. 

One night the King follows Iseult on her nightly stroll, where he catches her meeting Tristan. They are both taken to the dungeon and found guilty of adultery. Tristan makes a deal with the King to spare Iseult’s life as long as he moves away and marries another. The King agrees and sends Tristan off to another area where he  is forced to marry some other woman. He is obviously still in love with Iseult, but keeps his word to leave the King and his beloved Queen alone. 

While in his new land, Tristan finds trouble and ends up getting poisoned by a lance while attempting to save a young woman who was being viciously attacked by six knights. While dying from the poison he commissions his friend to fetch his beloved Iseult, because he must see her one last time before dying.

He tells his friend that when he is sailing home to sail back with white sails if he had found and brought Iseult with him, or black sails if she did not accompany him back.  When the ship is in visual distance arriving back, Tristan’s wife (being jealous), decides to lie to him by saying the sails were black. In a last moment of grief and sorrow for knowing he would never see his love again, he took his last breathe and passed away.

Forever Intertwined
The sad thing was that as soon as Iseult learned her beloved had been hurt, she went on her way to see him as fast as she could. When she arrived and learned that he had just died moments earlier, she fell on her knees and swooned over his body, crying helplessly for her love. Her pain is so real and so intense that she couldn’t live without him. Her heart broke and she died moments later laying on top of his chest.

They were buried next to one another and on top of where their graves stood grew two individual trees, one a hazel tree, the other a honeysuckle. As the trees grew, they intertwined with one another forever connecting the two lovers. The King found out about this and ordered the branches be cut away from each other. But each time they were cut, even more grew back until it was impossible to fight. Eventually, the gardeners gave up and let the two trees be together, just as it was meant to be.

Tristan and Iseult, together, forever…..

(Copyright) 2012- Dreaming Casually by J'aime Rubio

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Origin of Halloween

Halloween- a night that millions, maybe billions of people celebrate each year, but do you know what it is you are celebrating? Many people associate Halloween to a time of fun, play and excitement. It’s a  night when you can be anyone, and sometimes get away with doing almost anything. But where did all the creepy, spooky stuff that makes up this holiday come from?


An ancient pagan festival of the dead that actually originated even further back in time by the Druids who worshiped Ba’al  a false god (or pagan god) that dates back to Ancient Babylonian and Sumerian beliefs just a few hundred years after the flood of Noah’s day. During this time the people who worshipped Ba’al offered their own children into the fire as a sacrifice to their pagan god.

Later this day was celebrated by the Celtic people of Europe, It was a time when their calendars marked the end of the Harvest and the beginning of Winter. Samhain (pronounced Saw-ween) was the most important holiday for the Celts. They believed that during that time that the souls of the dead could “cross over” to the world of the living. To appease these spirits, they offered burnt sacrifices of animals, and other organic means (vegetables, fruits, etc.)

The bonfires were then lit to keep the spirits away from the living, but also to honor them. They believed that not only ghosts but demons and nymphs and fairies were among those crossing over from the other side that night. They believed that you must trick these spirits, as they could take over your body and steal your soul, so many would disguise themselves in costumes of sorts thinking that they would fool the dead (a probable link to origins of today’s Halloween costumes).

In 601 A.D., during the time of Pope Gregory the First, in order to eradicate “paganism” in their own way, the Catholic Church decided to conform their beliefs and add to the Catholic doctrine also some pagan inspired beliefs, thinking that pagans would then convert to Catholicism. What ended up happening was that Pagan worship days then were converted into “Holy Days” that the Church had, basically intermingling two different sets of beliefs and merging into one. One good example of this holiday “merger” is that of Christmas where the Catholic Church decided to say that Jesus was born on December 25th just because it was the same day that pagans worshipped the “SUN”, so in essence they figured that people could just worship the “SON” instead. 

All Saints Day-

Originally, the “Holy Day” that Catholics celebrated as All Saints Day was not in October or November at all. In fact, the original date was on May 13. This was originally established by Pope Boniface IV, in the seventh century. But by the eight century, Pope Gregory III decided to move All Saints Day to November 1st to counter act the Pagan holiday of Samhain that fell on October 31st.  Eventually, the church started adding pagan traditions into the holy day activities and festivals, thus convoluting the very purpose of the holiday to begin with. The day of November 1st was also referred to as “All Hallows Day” leading the night before to be known as “All Hallows Eve”—later shortening it to “Hallows Eve” and even shorter to “Halloween.”

 All Souls Day-

November 2nd was a day to celebrate as All Souls Day, a festival of the dead. The purpose of All Souls Day was that during that day the living would pray on behalf of the souls left in purgatory. During that time, it was the belief that after so many prayers were said for a soul, that they would be released from the confines of purgatory and go straight to heaven. Again, these are not really Christian based beliefs, as the Bible has no mention whatsoever about purgatory or about prayers sending a soul to heaven. 


During Medieval times, people would bake little spice cakes with raisins and offer them to the children or young ones who would call on their doorsteps offering to pray for the souls of their departed loved ones. This was often referred to as “souling.” And yet, just another one of the many facets of what we know today as modern day “trick-or-treating.” However, the term “trick-or-treat” has only been around about 100 years or so, and we will get into that subject a little bit later.

Hiding Behind the Masks-

Another tradition from the past that ties into today’s Halloween was the use of masks.  In 17th century England the use of masks was one used in masquerade balls and even on such days like the infamous “Guy Fawkes Night” where the rowdiest and most destructive occurrences would happen all over the land.  Although the Puritans who later came to America tried their best to rid themselves of pagan and most intemperate habits, still many who came over to the U.S. brought along with them the desire to carry on these traditions.

Obsession With Death-

By 1833, there were historic records that show there were people at the time having parties and celebrations that mimic the Halloween we know today, to an extent.  Another dark turn for the holiday came during the Civil War, when so many young men died such tragic and horrific deaths that people then became obsessed with death. It consumed them, it was all around them at all times. It only seemed a matter of time before that macabre thinking would manifest itself in the minds of the young to start creating the “Urban Legends” or basic “Ghost Story” tales that are so famously known today. Another facet of the Halloween tradition was then added in the mix. 

Another note: The Irish and Scottish immigrants who had come to America earlier, had brought with them the ideas of the Bogey's or "Boogey Man" along with the ghost's in white sheets or shrouds haunting in the night. Over the years the addition to ideas of monsters, vampires, zombies and of course three of the biggest symbols of Halloween- the witch, the black cat and bats continued to penetrate the dark holiday, making it even more creepy.


The origin of the Jack-o’-lantern is one that comes from Gaelic traditions (English, Irish and Scottish). The stories, although there were many, all basically told that Jack tricked the Devil and made him agree into not keeping his soul. After Jack died, since he was bad, he didn’t go to Heaven- but, since the Devil made a deal not to take his soul, Jack was forced to roam endlessly in the darkness of the “in between.” So the Devil, feeling sorry for Jack, scooped up an ember from Hell and placed it in a hollowed out turnip which Jack used to light his way through the dark.  The act of carving out faces in the Pumpkin originated with the reminder of the dead by carving a face of a skull on the outside, thus the real face of a Jack-o’-lantern really does represent death.


When you think of “trick-or-treating” you think of dressing up, going door to door and asking for candy, do you not? However, the American tradition of this door-to-door activity actually started with a bribe. You see, during the Great Depression, kids didn’t have a lot to do and life was not very enjoyable. Halloween night was a night where the rowdy kids could get together and under the cover of darkness they could wreak havoc in their own neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the adults, the authorities and the community did not like the outcome of that. Kids were vandalizing homes, cars, setting fires and just plain playing practical jokes on people all night long. Some of these pranks proved deadly.

It got so out of hand that community members along with schools decided to come up with the idea to have social 'get-togethers' at Town Halls or even certain homes to keep the kids indoors. Later parents came up with ideas for “costume parties” and even later the idea of  “trick-or-treating” came along when certain homeowners would bribe the bad kids in the neighborhood with goodies in exchange for the promise they wouldn’t “prank” their houses. It caught on quick and the custom of going door-to-door for candy was then born.

So you see Halloween started as an ancient dark custom to a merged custom of pagan and Roman Catholic beliefs, then was thrust from a dark and depressing sort of holiday and made into one that many enjoy today. With that being said, one must remember that although the exterior of the Holiday may be enticing, inviting and even enjoyable, you need to remember what it is you are really celebrating. The day of Samhain is still October 31st, the day that the pagans worshipped the dead. Also remember that even before the Celts, the Druids worshipped the their ancient pagan deity Ba’al on this day as well, even going so far as to offering up their children as sacrifices to this false god. So in ending, I hope this gives you a little more insight on the origins of Halloween.

(Copyright 2012- Origins, What Does History Say) by "Dreaming Casually"