Monday, December 21, 2009

So That's Why

I'm preparing to take a mid-term for my Introduction to Family Processes class this afternoon. In preparation, I'm re-reading things I last read before L was born. I just ran across this little bit of trivia, which I thought was fascinating. I have pondered on the whys of this before, so here's the answer, just in case you've wondered too.....

"In 1660, in celebration of its hard-fought victory over Turkey, a crack regiment from Croatia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) visited Paris. There, the soldiers were presented as glorious heroes to Louis XIV, a monarch well-known for his eye toward personal adornment. It so happened that the officers of this regiment were wearing brightly colored silk handkerchiefs around their necks. These colorful neck cloths, which probably descended from the Roman fascalia worn by orators to warm the vocal chords, struck the fancy of the king, and he soon made them an insignia of royalty as he created a regiment of Royal Cravattes.

"It wasn't long before this new style crossed the channel to England. Soon no gentleman considered himself well-dressed without sporting some sort of cloth around his neck--the more decorative, the better. So, a fashion was born and the resulting cultural "rule" established. It has become a custom, and for many families a "rule": "All men in this family must wear a colorful piece of cloth around their necks. It has meaning." The meaning might be that one is conforming to the norm, joining in, trying hard to not stand out, showing reverence for custom and tradition, and so forth. But it actually makes little practical sense to wear a cloth around your neck, right? And to explain these rules and their "whys" is sometimes difficult when speaking to the ten-year-old who has taken the more practical, sane approach and simply wants to know why this particular piece of cloth is so important." (From Introduction to Family Processes text ch. 6 introduction).


Nikia, May and da kids said...

Nice history of how the tie was born. i wasn't aware of that. my guys like dressing up in suits and ties. Even when it is a 100 degrees in the shade, they will wear the full suit and tie. When the younger boys in church ask them if they are burning up with the suit jacket on, my boys let them know, "You must always save the very best for Heavenly Father, in action and dress and if you have a full suit, then wear it regardless of the heat." I like that people might have did it because of tradition, but isn't that how we train our kids, through tradition??


vaxhacker said...

Cool trivia, although ties are evil :)
It's also interesting to see the changing cultural emphasis on these customs over time. I recall when I was starting out as a programmer/systems administrator, my grandfather was certain I was ruining my career by not coming to the office in a suit, or at the very least, a necktie. Surely my boss would think I didn't take my position seriously or that I was a professional.

I don't think I was ever able to convince him that not only did my boss (or his boss, or his boss) not wear ties to work, either, but in my particular industry doing that would make people take me less seriously. You only wear ties to work if (a) you're on your way to a funeral later, or (b) you're on your way to a job interview later.

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