Search This Blog

Monday, 24 February 2014


Here in Spain, the sugar sachets supplied with beverages by many cafés and restaurants contain interesting facts and quotations. I'm sure that this happens in other countries too. Two we picked up the other night (even though we don’t take sugar in coffee or tea) are here:


Did you know that the term mariachi comes from the French term mariage?
According to this (top) sugar note, during the occupation of Mexico by France in the 1860s, the French hired musicians to play at weddings – sounds like French word mariage. As time passed, however, their music was adopted by popular Mexican orchestras participating in marriage ceremonies.
Typical mariachi singers - Wiki commons

However, there may not be a grain of truth in this sachet's explanation. According to Wikipedia, ‘this was a common explanation on record jackets and travel brochures. This theory was disproven with the appearance of documents that showed that the word ‘mariachi’ existed before this invasion. The origin of the word is still in dispute but most of the prominent theories attribute it to indigenous roots. One states that it comes from the name of the wood from which the dance platform is made. Another states that mariachi comes from the indigenous name of a tree called pilla or cirimo; yet another states that it came from an image locally called María H (pronounced Mari-Ache). Mariachi can refer to the music, the group or just one musician.'
Fiscal fact.

In Ancient Rome, taxes were collected in a wicker basket called a fiscus. In time, the reference to fiscal became common to the revenue or coin inside the basket. So, if you have any fiscal issues, blame the administrators of imperial Rome! [Interestingly, the first known use of ‘fiscal’ was 1563.]
Coin illustrated (Wikipedia commons) reads fisci Judaici calumnia sublata, "abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the Jewish tax". The fiscus Judaicus ("Jewish tax") was a tax-collecting agency instituted to collect the tax imposed on Jews in the Roman Empire after the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in AD 70. Revenues were directed to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome.


No comments: