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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Ancient Greeks and Romans used thin strips of lead to vent their frustrations or write messages to the gods.

By Joanna Thompson

The Bible doesn't say exactly when Jesus was born but a close reading of the text gives us clues to a more correct date than Dec. 25. And why was that date chosen away? It has nothing to do with pagan religions.

By Dave Roos

In 1957, a woman named Frances Kipps Spencer invented "Chrismons" to decorate her church's sanctuary and to remind parishioners of the true meaning behind the Christian celebration of Christmas.

By Carrie Tatro

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Step aside, St. Nick. Butt out, Rudolph. In this special Yuletide quiz, we're saluting another beloved member of the Christmas character pantheon: the one and only Missus Claus.

By Mark Mancini

Interfaith families exist all over the world and this is the time of year when discussions focus on how to celebrate the holidays.

By Samira Mehta

Buddhist nuns and female scholars are gaining new leadership roles, in a tradition that began with the ordination of Buddha's foster mother.

By Jue Liang

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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