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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Throughout history, people have speculated as to who or what Gog and Magog were. Were they two people, one person and his land or two nations? And why were they associated with the Apocalypse?

By Dave Roos

Of the 8 billion people now inhabiting this planet, almost 60 percent live in urban environments in some pretty densely packed cities. Here are the top 10 megacities in the world.

By Laurie L. Dove

Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in LA is much more than a cemetery housing some of America's most famous people. It also boasts gardens, churches, a huge mausoleum and an art museum.

By Kate Morgan

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Pipes have a long history for Native Americans, and they're still revered and powerful. Just please don't call them peace pipes.

By Jennifer Walker-Journey

Most observant Mormons wear special underwear they call temple garments as a reminder of their faith. What are the rules around wearing it? And must they always wear it?

By Dave Roos

The legend of the weeping woman has been terrifying children for generations. But experts tell us there's much more to La Llorona's legend than just scaring kids.

By Lauren David

Welcome to McKamey Manor, where you must sign a 40-page waiver, pass a background check and take a physical to enter. Thousands are on the waiting list.

By Kate Morgan

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California just became the fifth state to legalize human composting as an alternative to burial. How does this work?

By Lauren David

During the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, it's common to hear people wish each other "Shana Tova!" What does this phrase mean?

By Laurie L. Dove

In Germany, death may be permanent, but gravesites aren't. They're leased until the next "resident" moves in. That's just one grim regulation surrounding funerals and burials.

By Allison Troutner

Henry Louis Gates Jr. will serve as editor-in-chief of the new Oxford Dictionary of African American English, which is slated to be published in spring 2025.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

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Mabon is a fairly recent Pagan festival created to give thanks for the harvest. What does Mabon mean and how is it celebrated?

By Dave Roos

Many people think 'Latine' is a better gender-inclusive term than 'Latinx.' Here's why.

By Melissa K. Ochoa

The surnames popular around the globe reflect everything from one's ancestry to regional colonizers to occupations.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

How did blue collar, white collar (and pink collar!) end up in our lexicon, and what are the origins of their meanings?

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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You may have wished upon a star, but have you ever wished upon a rock? Find a lucky wishing stone and give it a try.

By Muriel Vega

A koan is a riddle or puzzle that Zen Buddhists use during meditation to help them unravel greater truths. We look at some examples to see how these enigmatic sayings work.

By Dave Roos

It's a strange phrase when you think about it, as people don't normally ride pigs. So where did it come from?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The origin of this false grammatical no-no is lost to history. But, we still shy away from starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions. And here's why.

By Laurie L. Dove

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The Chautauqua Institution, where Salman Rushdie was attacked Aug. 12, 2022, was founded nearly 150 years ago to promote the free exchange of ideas and learning to benefit individuals and society.

By Charlotte M. Canning

In today's world of endless self-promotion, this beautiful little memorial celebrates those who gave their lives to save someone else.

By Muriel Vega

The recent attack on author Salman Rushdie led many to conclude that it was the result of the fatwa issued against him in 1989 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. But what exactly is a fatwa?

By Myriam Renaud

When you're holding something together with nothing more than spit and perhaps some duct tape (duck tape?), what is the correct term, jury- or jerry-rigged?

By Laurie L. Dove

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Not ready for a permanent tattoo? Get one that's designed to fade over time instead.

By Madison Palmer

Ashura is a very important holiday to both Shiite and Sunni Muslims but the two groups attach very different meanings to the day.

By Dave Roos