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.

For some, an ideal Christmas is a fire in the hearth and a blanket of snow covering the ground. Irving Berlin wrote about it, and Bing Crosby crooned about it: a white Christmas. Learn why you might be dreaming of one.

Tai chi chuan means "perfect boxing," and it refers to a martial art based upon the philosophical principles of Taoism. At its highest levels, tai chi chuan is also part of a Taoist spiritual discipline that seeks to elevate the mind and purify the body.

You've budgeted, scouted shopping malls and wrapped the last present, taking care to top it with just the right festive bow. But what do presents, three wise men and Jesus have to do with each other anyway?

Our theory on St. Nick's sweet ride: It's rustic on the outside and state-of-the-art on the inside. Learn more about the advanced technology we think runs Santa’s sleigh (and those reindeer).

Underappreciated and overworked elves put in a pretty astounding amount of labor during the holidays. Then there are the other duties they must fulfill, like tending to diva reindeer like Rudolph. So do elves thrive on stress, and do they ever get disgruntled?

Imagine having to deliver toys (and coal) to children all over the world -- in just one night. How does the big guy do it? Moxie? Magic? How about a little something under the hood called a stardust antimatter propulsion unit? That's just how Santa rolls.

He's been called a diva, a hero and a misfit. He's Rudolph the red-nose reindeer. And his ruby-red honker has long been celebrated for guiding Santa and his team of reindeer through the night. Learn what bioluminescence, evolution, and maybe even atavism, have to do with this doe-eyed deer.

In Taoism, chi refers to the living energy in all things. Kung is a term that refers to the achievements of long practice. Together, as chi kung, these words describe a relationship between someone who cultivates the chi and the discipline they use.

Chi, the life force, is a primal substance that animates the universe in Taoism. Learn more about chi as a Taoist concept and see how chi manifests itself in human experience.

Taoist philosophy attempts to illuminate the interdependency of all things, including life, art, and language. By observing the processes of nature, the Taoists say, we can come to some understanding about the meaning of our lives and about our place in the world.

What exactly is feng shui? Is it science or superstition? Some dismiss feng shui as Chinese myth or new age, but feng shui advocates say that it can improve everything from harmony in the home to wealth and well-being.

The meaning of Taoism is more subtle than most religions, arising mostly from mythology. Learn about these philophies and ideas that have survived for almost two thousand years.

Some see Thanksgiving as an example of the possibility of great respect and cooperation between two different cultures. Today, many associate the holiday less with pilgrims and American Indians and more with football and turkey.

What's 63 feet long, 46 feet tall and filled with 12,000 cubic feet of helium? One of the behemoth balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Learn how many balloon wranglers are needed to keep the parade afloat and find out what this event has to do with emigrants, zoo animals and the holidays.

The common practice of dressing boys in blue and girls in pink is rooted in tradition. But is there science and biology in this equation, too?

The idiom says whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Is it the mysterious power of Murphy's Law, or is it simply people who give the law relevance?

From Johnny Appleseed to Paul Bunyan, figures of American folklore continue to inspire and engage. Before the invention on radio and television, people created these characters to help people cope with hard times. Learn more about these legendary figures.

There are many types of angels that make up the spiritual world. Angels are divided into nine different types within three main groups, which are then called choirs. Find out more about these angelic intermediaries for God.

What may elicit a thumbs up from Miss Manners in the U.S. may not elsewhere in the world. Some cultures do things very different from the way Americans are used to. Learn 13 examples of good and bad manners around the world.

An anagram takes the letters in a phrase and rearranges them to form a new phrase. Anagrams can sometimes spell out an accurate description of the original word. Some of the results will surprise you. See our list of 13 anagrams.

Palindromes are phrases or sentences that read the same forward and backward. How can that be possible? Read 15 palindromes and find out if this list of sentences does, in fact, read the same if you reverse the placement of the letters.

While Saint Peter and Saint Micheal are well-known, there are a number of little-known patron saints. Did you know that there is a patron saint for dentists, ice skaters, bachelors and difficult marriages? Find out more about obscure patron saints.

At age 77, astronaut John Glenn was the oldest person to travel into space. The oldest continuously operated tavern can be found in the city of Boston and the oldest city is in India. Learn about all 8 of the oldest categories featured on our list.

James Dean warned teens about the dangers of speeding the same year he died in a high-speed car crash. The Beatles were turned down by a record producer who claimed that groups with guitars were a fad. Read about this and all 9 bits of irony.

Everybody has bad days, but Fortune seems to have it in for some people. You decide: Are these 10 infamous cases of bad luck coincidences or curses?