The questions that kept me intrigued this week are
1 – Why is it called Liverpool?
2 – Why is Ramzan celebrated on different days
1 – Why is it called Liverpool?
The Domesday Book, known to have been published in 1086, is the earliest written record about the tiny fishing village called Liuerpul. Liuerpul meant thick muddy water. King John took notice of this village and founded the borough of Livpul in 1207, and the subsequent charter in 1229 by Henry III allowed Livpul merchants to form a guild. This was the turning point for the tiny village to flourish through the coming years.
Centuries passed, along with the village, the name evolved into a number of different spellings including, ‘Leuerepul’, ‘Lyuerpole’, ‘Lytherpole’, ‘Litherpoole’ and eventually, Liverpool.
The little fishing town was strategically placed on global trade routes. Since it was the port through which major trade on tobacco, sugar, and slaves was exchanged between Africa and the Americas, Liverpool controlled as much as 40% of global trade in the early 19th Century.
The town so steeped in Maritime history did not properly record how exactly the name was given.
There is another theory behind the etymology of Liverpool. The first seal of King John for Livpul has a bird on it. It is believed to be an eagle. But because of the poor drawing, people started alluding to this bird-like creature on the seal to a mythical creature called Liver.
Back in the day, people believed that a pair, one male and one female, of the mythical bird protected the city and its people. The male is known to protect the families of the fishermen on land, and the female known to fly with the sailors out to the sea.
With folklores running deep into the hearts of many Liverpudlian, historians believe that it is for this reason the city was named after the bird as Liverpool.
Even now, you can see how ingrained the symbol is with the city. The Royal Liver Building has two liver birds (female looking out at sea) and the male (looking at the city). Legend says that if these two birds fly away, the River Mersey will burst, and the city would be destroyed. Even the Liverpool Football Club and Everton have the bird in their logos.
Got any other interesting stories on the etymology of other cities?
2 – Why is Ramadan celebrated on different days?
Islam is a fascinating religion. Growing up with Muslims was fun. The most memorable experience I have is, of course, the little mountains of biriyani I would voraciously devour during Ramzan.
Ramzan. The ninth month according to the Islamic calendar, is one of the most anticipated months. Muslims believe that angel Gabriel revealed the Quran in AD 610. I make it a point to wish my friends, now scattered around the world.
The one thing I still struggle with wishing on the right day. Friends in the UK and the Middle East celebrate Eid a day earlier than friends in India. And in one rare occurrence, people in Scotland and England (countries on the same small island) celebrated Eid on different days.
It boils down to when you can see the moon.
The Islamic calendar goes by the moon phases. Moon sighting committees in some countries spot the crescent moon one day earlier than the others, thereby leading to this difference.
Saudi Arabia leads the way, and other countries follow suit. Countries also form clusters and have their leaders tell them when it is time for Ramzan. The tradition is for countries when these moon sighting groups give the thumbs up after visual confirmation that they can see the crescent moon.
Currently, moon sighting just to the right of Greenwich Meridian helps in determining the tentative start of the month.
But the question lingers in my mind. The moon and stars are always somewhere in the sky, but we can’t always see them. So they are there, but you just can’t see them from where you are standing. Surely you can see them from other regions of the country? Why do they not just use advanced tech to spot the moon despite haze or cloudy conditions?