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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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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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

There's a Pooping Man in the Catalan Nativity Scene

The typical manger scene features Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and an assortment of animals. But in Catalonia, Spain, there is one more character: a figure with his pants down taking a poop. But why?

A Heavenly Angels Quiz

Halos and robes and wings are how most people think of angels, but these heavenly beings are actually a lot more complex than their popular image. How much do you know about angels' roles, ranks and responsibilities? Take our quiz to find out!

10 Ways to Liven Up Your White Elephant Gift Exchange

White elephant. Mean Santa. Yankee swap. These are the holiday parties we live for. But if it feels like yours is getting a bit tired, we've got 10 rules to liven it up this year.

How Obituaries Went from Dry Death Notices to Tributes to Truth

Obituaries do more than just let the world know someone died. They're a chance to pay tribute to someone, advocate for a cause or even settle a score.

Pope to List Nuclear Weapons as Immoral After Visiting Japan

It's one thing to say it. It's another thing to update the church's official instruction book.

'Franglais' on the Rise, Say French Language Watchdogs

And it's expressions like 'fake news' (instead of information fallacieuse) and 'cool! that are to blame.

5 Wild and Wacky Takes on the Advent Calendar

These Advent calendars give new meaning to the phrase "countdown to Christmas." Plus, where did the Advent calendar come from? And what are some of the more unusual takes on it?

What Is a Mandala? (No, Not Nelson. That's Mandela)

The intricate, circular design of the mandala is used in many religions and cultures to symbolically represent the cosmos and the organizational structure of life itself.

Ultimate Guide to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Although there will be no crowds of onlookers this year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade still marches on. Find out more about the beloved holiday tradition.

Military Funerals Give Service Members and Families One Final Salute

Military funeral honors, involving a flag presentation and the playing of taps, can be very meaningful to the families of loved ones who served in the U.S. military. Who is eligible and how do you request these honors?

5 Fun Facts About the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City may be an iconic symbol of the holidays, but how well do you know this tree-dition?

10 Lively Facts About the Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead is not a Mexican version of Halloween. It's a celebration of life — both here and beyond — when the souls of the departed come home for feasting and fun. Here's how it started.

Flying on Halloween? You Can Wear a Costume!

When your broomstick just won't do, and you're forced to fly the "friendly skies," at least you can feel safe knowing you can still show up dressed to kill.

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