Why Do We Wear Engagement Rings?

The modern Western practice of giving or breaking engagement rings is traditionally thought to have begon in 1477 when Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, wave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring as an engagement present.

Customs for engagement rings vary according to time, place, and culture. An engagement ring has historically been uncommon, and when such a gift was given, it was separate from the wedding ring. Romantic rings from the time of the Roman Empire and from as far back as 4 AD often clash the Celtic Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a heart) and so it is thought that this was used as some symbol of love and commitment between two people.

In the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, an engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The tradition of wearing a ring for engagement originated from the Egyptians who believed the circle was a bond between the two people who were to be married, but was initially first practiced on the fourth finger / ring finger by the Romans, who recognized this finger to Be the beginning of the vena amoris ("vein of love"), the vein that leads to the heart. The custom in Continental Europe and other countries is to wear it on the right hand; one historical exception arose in monarchical regimes, in which a nobleman entering into morganatic marriage (a marriage in which the person, usually the woman, of lower rank stayed at the same rank instead of rising ranks) would present his left hand to receive the ring (hence the alternative term "left-handed marriage").

In other countries like Argentina, men and women each wear a ring similar to wedding bands. They are made of silver when manifesting an informal "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship. The gold band is given to the bride when the commitment is formal and the optional diamond ring is reserved for the wedding ceremony when the groom gives it to the bride. The gold band that the groom wore during the engagement – or a new one, as some men choose not to wear them during engagement – is then given to the groom by the bride; and the bride receives both the original gold band and the new diamond at the ceremony. The bride's diamond ring is worn on top of the engagement band at the wedding and thereafter, especially at formal occasions or parties. At the wedding, the rings are swapped from the right to the left hand. In Brazil, they are always made of gold, and there is no tradition for the engagement ring. Both men and women wear the wedding band on their right hand while engaged, and, after they marry, they shift the rings to their left hands. In Nordic countries such as Finland and Norway, both men and women wear an engagement ring.

Some women's wedding rings are made into two separate pieces. One part is given to her to wear as an engagement ring when she accepts the marriage proposal and the other during the wedding ceremony.

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7 Ways to Experience Warmth This Holiday Sales Season

Feeling a little glum this holiday season? Many people do. Psychologists tell us that their client business really picks up around this time of year. Why is that? Are not the holidays designed to bring out the best in people? Do they really? Many people are lonely, even in a crowd, feeling isolated and apart from caring family and friends. Quite possibly, they feel that no one really cares or even cares enough to listen.

While these issues may vary as far and wide as the individuals in question, there is a common thread among all of us. That thread is purpose . In his huge best-seller, A Purpose Driven Life , Rick Warren outlines the case for purpose and answers the question "What on Earth am I here for?" Purpose make all of the difference and can supersede any circumstances as long as we do not allow ourselves to wallow in self-pity or selfishness.

Many salespeople experience a flood of negative emotions during the holidays. retailers notice both an increase in hostility and a decrease in patience and manners among customers. Field salespeople, often already excluded from their co-workers, often experience a discouraging slowdown in business and the customer's desire to put off purchasing decisions until after the first of the new year. Furthermore, these salespeople often are on the front lines of poor human behavior, sometimes falling victim to the wrath of an angry customer.

I submit to you that this Christmas season can be different and wonderful for you. You can make a real difference in your own life and affect countless others in the process. How? Simply do something positive for another human being without any expectation of payback or benefit to yourself. Start with the following:

1. Give of yourself.

2. Be a friend.

3. Lend an ear.

4. Provide a shoulder.

5. Pick someone else up.

6. Offer encouragement.

7. Smile

Did you note that none of these were financial or involved material things in any way? The truly important things in life seldom are. Remember, what comes around, goes around. We do reap what we sow.

So today, help out at your local soup kitchen, Salvation Army or faith-based facility. Invite a college student or military person with now to go over to your home for Christmas dinner. Look for opportunities to provide little services for others, often going unnoticed. In so doing, you will warm up and discover joy and purpose, leading to fulfillment and happiness this Holiday Season.

Try these seven activities and see for yourself. When January, 2008 arrives, you will be more than ready, emotionally charged, changed and expectant of a banner year.

Shanghai Hotels – Hot Holiday Destination!

If you are planning to spend your next holiday vacation in a colorful city where you can perfectly enjoy the combination of Eastern and Western cultures then, without an iota of doubt, Shanghai would be your perfect destination. The largest city of China has all, which you, while being a modern person, would love to see and spend time with.

For its wonderful weather, excellent city beauties and natural attractions, Shanghai has always been a central of attractions for the travel enthusiasts of all around the globe; records say that eminent personalities like Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein and Tagore visited this place a number of times.

With the growing popularity of Shanghai, travel and tourism industry has been massively developed in the city. According to a recent data, the tourism industry earns billions of dollars every year, so you can understand how demanding the city is in terms of a hot travel destination.

You see, in highly demanding travel destination it often becomes difficult to find great quality hotels at cheap price; but fortunately Shanghai is a place where you will not encounter the same problem. The Shanghai hotels industry offers you the facility to live comfortably while giving less pressure on your accounts book.

Cheap hotels not always mean dirty and unclean environment, if you stay at a small inn then you can experience Shanghai’s local food and discover its warmth culture with ease. If you are an avid traveler then you know that the small lodges will help you to get introduced with the local people, food and culture.

At the affordable Shanghai hotels you might not find the Three Star and Five Star luxury, but you will definitely experience the comfort and friendly people which will ensure that you have a pleasant holiday vacation. You will find each and every room and bathroom of these affordable Shanghai hotels very clean and hygienic. In a calm environment you will be offered good quality foods at very affordable prices. In short, the affordable Shanghai hotels will reduce your accommodation and food expenses and you can easily use the money for other activities like traveling and shopping.

The smartest way to look and book an affordable Shanghai hotel is doing so through an online portal. Over the internet, you will find a number of travel portals and traveling service providers and from there you can easily book your ticket to Shanghai and Shanghai hotels.

How Do Chef Schools Work?

Culinary schools give aspiring chefs their best shot at making it to the big time, especially those admitted by the American Culinary Federation. Just like any other profession, many of the better hospitality establishments base their hiring practices not only upon the length of education the applicant provides, but also where that education was obtained. Tuition runs the gamut from relatively inexpensive courses offered by local community colleges all the way to the Culinary Institute of America's breathtaking $ 40,000 price tag. And what does not tuition cover? Oh, just uniforms, textbooks, cutlery, and other necessary kitchen equipment.

Curriculum different from school to school, but most of the culinary student's time is consumed in learning the ins and outs of cooking by actually doing it under close supervision. Participants not only prepare food, but also learn how to plan menus, minimize food costs, buy food and supplies in quantities, and how to appropriately choose and store food. Learning proper hygiene and local public health rules also play a large part in a culinary student's education.

Classes are sometimes offered all day, taking a complete eight hours, while at some schools, classes are broken into morning and afternoon sessions. There are usually lectures, and then demonstrations followed by hands-on practice time with students applying the techniques demonstrated earlier. Some schools even offer part-time professional classes to accomodate working cooks wanting to increase their formal education.

A number of educational seminars are available, among them:

The American Academy of Chefs Chair's Scholarship – Ten $ 1,000 scholarships awarded each year

The American Academy of Chefs Chaine des Rotisseurs Scholarship – Twenty $ 1,000 scholarships awarded annually

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) – Three annual $ 2,000 scholarships for high school seniors and undergraduate students

Because years of training and experience are needed to reach the level of executive chef in most well-paying restaurants, many students are serious about this profession beginning their training in high school through voluntary programs, then go on to a two- or four-year college or university. Apprenticeship programs offer more training afterward, and these come from individual eating establishments and are given by a personal mentor or from professional institutions and associations such as the American Culinary Federation.

Apprenticeship lasts usually about three years and is most often known as the years of "grunt work" – doing all the chopping, grating, peeling, slicing, and washing necessary to prepare the ingredients for the chefs. Even cleaning appliances, sweeping and mopping floors, and other seemingly unaffiliated "chef" work gets done by the apprentice as part of his or her learning experience. Often this "trial-by-fire" period separates the truly devoted caf├ęs-to-be from those who are merely good cooks.

It is not impossible to attain the status of executive chef without the benefit of formal education, but in today's job market, most establishments (especially the finer hotels and restaurants) now require some type of certification to work in this capacity. Like a degree of any sort, formal training in the culinary arts may not mean you are another Julia Child or Paul Prudhomme, but it does at least signify that you've got what it takes to get through the school. So stop trying to think of ways to take shortcuts, get your tuition together, and go learn what you need to attain your dream!