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.

Learn More

President Biden's menorah lighting promises to prioritize ritual over reception, focusing on the lighting of the traditional Hanukkah candelabrum itself.

By Jonathan D. Sarna

Papa Legba is a figure that stands as a mysterious link between the human and spirit worlds in the religion of Vodou, but who is he and what's his story?

By Tara Yarlagadda

News headlines predict dire shortages of goods for the holiday season. But there are tons of gifts out there that don't depend on the supply chain from overseas.

By Alia Hoyt

Advertisement

Prayer apps are not new — they've been around since 2010. But how effective are they and can they replace the value of a religious community?

By Dorian Llywelyn

It's a phrase appropriate to Thanksgiving as well as other times of the year. But the most popular origin story has a disturbing explanation.

By Alia Hoyt

You may experience sticker shock at the funeral home when you see the price of caskets. Why do they cost so much and is there anything you can do about the price?

By Dave Roos

The biblical King Solomon is depicted as being very rich, very wise and very married to hundreds of women. But there is little evidence outside of the Bible that he existed. So what has been found so far?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

If you travel to the small Island of the Dolls in Xochimilco, near Mexico City, listen closely. You may hear the whispered conversations of the dolls that hang around.

By Patty Rasmussen

The process requires a rigorous examination of the life and holiness of a candidate and involves several stages that can last years or even centuries.

By Dorian Llywelyn

No one ever says "heveled" or "gruntled." Do these words even exist? Not every word needs an opposite to prop it up. Here's why.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Shabbat is the holiday that is central to Jewish life, occurring every Friday at sunset to Saturday night. But what is it and how is it observed?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

You've surely heard it in the movies even if you've never used it. So who came up with the phonetic alphabet and why is it used?

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

The Jewish High Holy Days commemorate concepts such as renewal, forgiveness, freedom and joy.

By Samuel L. Boyd

The roots of the Taliban's religious beliefs – Deobandi Islam – can be traced to 19th century colonial India.

By Sohel Rana & Sumit Ganguly

Dr. Anthony Fauci has famously said he hopes the handshake never comes back. If it doesn't, is the elbow bump the most logical greeting to replace it? If it's not, what is?

By Jennifer Walker-Journey

Advertisement

Sharia, which is Islamic law, can strike some people in the West as draconian and harsh. Is this an accurate portrayal?

By Dave Roos

Victorian etiquette wasn't just about sending a thank you note or holding a door open. There were a jillion rules of propriety to observe. How many of these do you know?

By Alia Hoyt

Whether these people knew it or not, their famous last words made a real statement. How many can you figure out?

By Alia Hoyt

A scholar of religion explains why the Islamic New Year never falls on the same date and depends on the sighting of the moon.

By Igbal Akhtar

Advertisement

In both Hebrew and Greek, letters have numerical values, so many people, both in the past and today, saw hidden meanings in words as well as numbers found in the Bible. Here are just a few examples.

By Dave Roos

You might think it's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But you're wrong. And anyway, that's a song, not a word.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Some words are extra important. Enter capitalization, the perfect way to show just why such words are special. How adept are you at knowing what to capitalize? Take this quiz and find out!

By Alia Hoyt

He makes just one brief appearance in Genesis, yet he's been seen as a precursor of Jesus Christ. What was he really and how did he become associated with Jesus?

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

Afrofuturism isn't just about placing a Black person in a futuristic landscape. It takes into account the challenges Black people face and allows them to imagine futures of their own making.

By Yves Jeffcoat

The New Testament is full of tense exchanges between Jesus and the Pharisees, who often tried to trip him up in legalistic debates. But who were the Pharisees really and what did they believe?

By Dave Roos