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Culture & Traditions

Cultures and Traditions takes a look at how people interact with each other. This might be through sub-cultures, relationships, fads or religion and spirituality.

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What Does It Mean to 'Take It With a Grain of Salt'?

'Take it with a grain of salt' means to be skeptical about something. But where does the phrase come from?

How to Talk to Your Friends About Race and Remain Friends

Why do conversations about race get so awkward? And what are some ways to keep them friendly and productive?

Call it Arroba, Kukac or Strudel: The History of the @ Sign

The @ sign is so much a part of the internet that it may surprise you to know it's been around for at least 1,500 years.

10 Big Questions About Hinduism, Answered

Are Hindus polytheistic? Do they worship cows? And how does yoga fit into this religion? We answer some of the most-asked questions around Hinduism.

5 Things to Know About Native American Languages Spoken in the 21st Century

The majority of Native Americans speak the English language, so how many Native American languages are still in existence and being spoken today? It's a complicated question.

What Is a Shaman and Can Anyone Become One?

The practice of shamanism has mystical and spiritual connotations, but it's not tied to any specific religion or creed. So, what exactly is shamanism?

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! You Know the Jingle, Now Hear the Chia Pet Story

These quirky clay figurines sprout "hair" seemingly overnight. But what is it that has made the Chia Pet an international sensation for 40 years?

A Short History of Hell

In the popular imagination, hell is depicted as a place of fire, presided over by Satan dressed in red and holding a pitchfork. But depictions of hell have actually evolved over time.

Why Was the Mad Hatter Mad?

The Mad Hatter makes quite an impression in the 'Alice in Wonderland' books and movies. But the expression 'mad as a hatter' actually predates this character. So, where did the term come from?

6 Things Mormons Wish Non-Mormons Knew About Their Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more widely known as the Mormon church, can generate a lot of questions: Is there really special underwear? Is it a cult? We bust some myths.

The Legacy of African American Spirituals in Today's Gospel and Blues Music

Today's gospel and blues music and the freedom songs of the civil rights movement all have historical roots in traditional slave spirituals, which were songs of sorrow, but also jubilation at the promise of freedom.

Sign Language Interpreters Steal the Show During COVID-19 News Conferences

Sign language interpreters provide critical lifelines to the deaf community, especially during crises. So who exactly are these superhero signers?

What Is the Rasta Movement All About?

It started out as a small movement in Jamaica that went worldwide with the popularity of reggae music. Today you can find Rastafarians on every continent. But what is Rastafari really all about?

Why Xenophobia Thrives in Troubled Times

Xenophobia, or the fear of immigrants and strangers, has a long, unsettling history in the U.S. and across the globe. What makes this prejudice so prominent during hard times throughout history?

How the Pledge of Allegiance Went from Marketing Ploy to Classroom Staple

The Pledge of Allegiance started as just part of a marketing campaign to sell flags. But along the way, it became something much much bigger.

Comma vs. Colon: Take Our Punctuation Quiz!

Punctuation can really make or break a sentence. Test your knowledge of basic (and not-so-basic) punctuation conventions by taking this quiz!

Are You a Grammar Geek? Take Our Quiz!

We all learned about grammar in grade school, but some of us retained the knowledge better than others. Test your knowledge of the finer points of English with our quiz.

Who Decided Which Books to Include in the Bible?

The books that make up the Bible were written over a span of 1,000 years. During that time, many other religious writings were also produced. So, who decided which would be part of the Bible and which would be left out?

Has Guinness World Records Set Any World Records?

The company is known for compiling thousands and thousands of off-the-wall records set by others. But does it hold any records of its own?

How Did 'Bourgeoisie' Become a Bad Word?

If someone calls your tastes 'bourgeois,' should you thank them or shake a fist? You might have to check first with Moliere, Marx or Migos to be sure.

What's the Difference Between a Samurai and a Ninja?

Movies often pit dark-robed, masked ninja assassins against elite samurai warriors. But just how accurate is our modern outlook on these two Japanese fighters?

Henna Tattoos: The History of an Ancient Art

Henna tattoos seem to be everywhere and all the rage, but the rich tradition behind this beautiful form of body art began as a wedding staple in ancient India.

Why Do We Say 'Holy Cow'?

The Hindu religion considers cows holy. But that's certainly not why we utter the expression. So what's the story behind it?

What's So American About Apple Pie?

Baseball, hot dogs, mom and apple pie. Of all these iconically American things, the apple pie holds a special place in the lexicon of American symbolism, but why?

Get to Know the Greek Alphabet, From Alpha to Omega

Even if you hardly know your beta from your zeta, chances are you've used Greek letters at some point in your life. What are they and why are they so common?

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