Why is the first year of school for children called kindergarten? The answer involves a nature mystic, a case of mistaken identity, and a socialism scare.
Why does the word honeymoon refer to a vacation a couple takes after getting married? The answer involves myths about mead, poetry about love, and a warning about waning.
Why are the tracking files that websites place on your computer called cookies? The answer (somewhat) involves shopping carts, Chinese takeout, and a German fairy tale.
Why are conservatives referred to as the “right” and liberals referred to as the “left” in politics? The answer involves the French Revolution, the quick spread of information through newspapers, and the tense interlude between the two World Wars.
Why does a rabbit leave colored eggs, candy, and nonedible novelties for children on Easter morning? The answer involves little ones leaving out an item of clothing overnight with the expectation that it will be filled with gifts, families providing a favorite snack for the mythical bringer of presents, and naughty children receiving a lump of coal . . . sounds familiar.
Why are baby girls dressed in pink and baby boys in blue? The answer involves marketing tactics, a pair of famously misconstrued paintings, and ultrasound technology. White Dresses for All Throughout history, socially defined rules have dictated certain types of clothing that are suitable for certain people. What you might not realize is that sociallyContinue reading “Pink Onesie, Blue Onesie: Infant Gender-Coding through Color”
Where did Rock, Paper, Scissors come from? The answer involves a Japanese game called jan-ken but probably does not involve Celtic settlers in Portugal and the French general who aided George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
Why is the painful cramp you sometimes get in your leg called a charley horse? The answer involves baseball and continual adaptation of oral history.
Why does the heart shape look absolutely nothing like a human heart? And on a related note, why is the heart, anatomically correct or otherwise, associated with love? The answer involves herbal contraceptives, pinecones, and Aristotle’s faulty understanding of human anatomy.
Why is a good gardener known as a green thumb? The answer involves a vegetable-loving king, a wartime radio show, and a dishonest corn miller.