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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The Second Coming Has Been 'Imminent' for 2,000 Years

Many Christians believe Jesus Christ will return to Earth to judge and rule it; they refer to it as the Second Coming. For centuries people have hoped it would happen in their lifetimes. So when — if ever — will it take place?

Paganism Is the Oldest, Newest Religion

Originally, 'Pagan' was a putdown for the country folk who continued to worship the old Roman gods, rather than embracing Christianity. Today, paganism is having a resurgence but with a modern twist.

The Immigrant Paradox: Why Acculturation Should Not Mean Assimilation

Studies have shown that for immigrants, assimilation into the new culture can be bad for your health, family relationships and educational attainment. Why's that, and how do you acculturate without assimilating?

The Late Ram Dass, Renowned Spiritual Leader, Lives on Through His Teachings

By the time Richard Alpert died in 2019, he was better known as Baba Ram Dass and had become a spiritual teacher, psychedelic research pioneer, best-selling author and New Age guru to millions of followers.

Before Halloween, There Was Samhain

This centuries-old Pagan holiday isn't necessarily scary. But those who celebrate are honoring the dead, believing their spirits have easy access to the world of the living during Samhain.

All 'Aboot' Canadian Holidays

Canadian Thanksgiving is on Oct. 12 this year. How does it differ from the American version? And what other Canadian holidays do we need to get up to speed on?

Goodbye Columbus — Hello Indigenous Peoples Day

More states are replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. What's prompted the switch and how you do celebrate it?

What Rumi, the World's Most Popular Poet, Wants to Teach Us, 800 Years Later 

Born in 1207 as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, the Sufi mystic and Persian poet wrote a staggering amount of verse, and is still beloved and widely influential to this day.

What's the Meaning Behind the Latin Phrase 'Caveat Emptor'?

The Latin language may be dead, but this phrase, which originated 2,000 years ago, is still used in legal and financial docs. So what does it mean?

How Many Butts in a Buttload?

If you've ever expressed the charming idea that you have a buttload of something – a buttload of laundry to do, a buttload of tacos to eat – you may have wondered what the measure of a buttload actually is and where the phrase came from.

Why Do We Say We're 'In a Pickle'?

Ever found yourself in a pickle and wondered, "Hey, why the heck do we call it a pickle?" Let's see if we can swim through the brine and find out.

The Phrase 'Riding Shotgun' Came Way After the West Was Won

The phrase (which means to ride in the front passenger seat of the car) seems like it might have come about during the Wild West. But it actually took a detour through Hollywood.

What Does Latinx Mean Anyway?

The term Latinx has emerged recently as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina, but not everyone is on board. In fact most Hispanics haven't even heard it before.

Beyond the Oats Box: 9 Facts About Quakers

The most famous Quaker (the one on the oats box) is not even a real person. And this religious group, best known for its pacifism, has had much success in a sweeter area of food: chocolate!

The Germans Have a Word for the Slow Days of Late Summer: Sommerloch

You know that time in summer when everything slows down and not much is going on? The German word sommerloch neatly sums it up. But where did it come from?

Celebratory Yard Signs Are Having a Major Moment

Thanks to COVID-19, big celebrations are canceled. So it's no surprise people aren't saying 'Happy Birthday' with a simple card, but with a huge yard sign instead.

Red Roses or Yellow? Every Flower Has a Secret Meaning

Floriography — the association of flowers with special virtues and sentiments — has been a practice from antiquity to the present day.

Who Is Karen and Why Is She So Mad?

The name Karen has somehow become the universal term for the angry, white woman. But when and how did that happen?

How Did Lefties Become Known as 'Southpaws'?

From the worlds of politics, professional baseball and old-time boxing came a term still in use today to describe someone who has a left-handed predilection.

Bastille Day: The French Holiday Celebrating Peace and Revolution

The July 14 holiday celebrated by the French is way more complicated than the term "Bastille Day" might suggest.

Why Do We Say, 'Close, But No Cigar'?

You didn't ask for a cigar. Maybe you don't even like them. So why is someone abruptly denying you one?

The Angel of Death Has One Job, and He Does It Well

In TV shows and movies, sometimes an angel of death appears to tell some unfortunate soul their time on Earth is over. But where did this idea come from? And what if you tell the angel, "I'm not ready?"

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?