1862 advertisement for Laird’s Bloom of Youth, claiming to preserve and beautify the complexion and skin. Source: Cosmetics and Skin.
Beautiful skin–we all want it. That luminously smooth complexion that reflects youth and vitality, whatever the age.
The quest for a youthful glow goes back thousands of years and was evident in many cultures. For example, some ancient empresses and concubines had very unusual regimes to maintain flawless complexions. Zhang Lihua, favored concubine of Chen Shubao (553- 604), last emperor of the Chinese Chen Dynasty, used a facial mask made from egg-white and vermillion that was mixed in an eggshell and replaced back into the hen’s womb to incubate. The resulting jelly was said to whiten skin.
While you may not want to attempt Lihua’s unique mask, many recipes from the ancient empresses and concubines can still be used today. Continue reading
Imagine celebrating the New Year on Halloween. Ghosts, costumes, candy, parties, fortune tellers, bonfires- and champagne toasts at midnight! Our modern Halloween was not always about trick or treating and carving pumpkins. It was influenced by numerous other traditions, including the celebration of the Celtic New Year.
Modern day offerings for the Samhain festival. Image courtesy of Avia Venefica on Flickr.
The largest influence on our modern Halloween is Samhain: the Celtic New Year celebration that fell roughly on October 31st – November 1st. Celts believed that on the evening of the New Year souls of the dead could return to Earth. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Holidays, Public Life
Tagged All Saints Day, ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Celtic, Halloween, history, New Year, Parentalia, Samhain
Image courtesy Krzysztof Grzymski
It is resolution time! Popular culture and media are booming with ideas for weight loss– Dr. Oz’s green shakes, CNN’s stories of inspiration, The Biggest Loser’s dedication to stopping childhood obesity and countless advertisements for gym memberships. According to the website Statistic Brain, resolutions to lose weight ranked number one on a list of top resolutions in 2012 and it is safe to assume 2013 will be no different. Continue reading
Posted in Beauty, Blog, Celebrities, Culture, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, beauty, Egypt, history, Kush, Meroe, obesity, weight
Did you celebrate the New Year with fireworks and champagne this year or did you take a polar bear plunge into a freezing body of water? No matter how you celebrated, you probably did it on January 1st. While there are many different cultural celebrations of the New Year, our globalized world generally agrees that the New Year starts on January 1st. It may seem common to us now, but this date was not always standard.
Image courtesy of masatoshi_
If you think hot chocolate is just a modern day treat, you may be surprised to discover that the Maya people in Northern Belize were drinking hot chocolate as far back as 600 BCE, and even more intriguing, other evidence supports the use of chocolate much earlier than that.
Image credit left: Copyright © 2005 David Monniaux, Image credit right: Peter Tan on Flickr
You may not think your beloved family parakeet resembles a giant, meat-eating reptile, but according to a study published in the Nature journal, the two actually have a lot in common. Modern birds retain the physical characteristics of baby dinosaurs. Specifically, the skulls of modern birds and juvenile dinosaurs are remarkably similar.