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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"Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." So said legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, but how do these words help us understand society?

By Molly Edmonds

When Pandora opened the box she wasn't supposed to open, all of the evils of the world flew out: hate, pain, destructiveness, starvation. When she saw what she'd done, she closed the box before the last thing in there could escape. What was it?

By Molly Edmonds

You can get a pretty good idea of how American society interprets gender by walking through the children's section in a typical clothing store. But not everyone fits into these ideas of what boys and girls should be. What do sex and gender even mean?

By Molly Edmonds

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You're scanning your friend's baby shower registry and find all the usual suspects: diapers, onesies, rattles and pacifiers. But what's with the Spanish language DVDs and Mandarin vocabulary flash cards? When is the perfect time to start learning another language?

By Molly Edmonds

A required language class in high school or college has been the academic downfall of many a student. But for students who have a so-called "ear for languages" and pick them up easily, German 101 is a piece of cake. What accounts for the difference?

By Molly Edmonds

Let's say that you're traveling to a country where you don't speak the language. You didn't have time to pick up a dictionary, so you'll have to get around using only hand gestures. The problem? Every hand gesture you do offends someone. What gives?

By Molly Edmonds

When you're struggling through intro to Latin or intermediate German, at some point it's likely that you'll shut your book and wonder why we can't all just speak the same language. How did we end up with so many? And why can't we just pick one and put an end to the confusion?

By Molly Edmonds

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Your DNA is unique and can tell a lot about you. You and your parents share genetic markers, and so will your other relatives. Some people use DNA to research their family history, but how well does it work?

By Jonathan Strickland

Attaching a crest or coat of arms to one's family history sometimes fuels a sense of pride or belonging. However, it will take some serious research to locate your crest.

By Victoria Vogt

There aren't many blank spots left on the map -- geographically or anthropologically. But for a few isolated hold-outs, privacy means everything. Where's the most isolate culture in the world, and what little do we know of them?

By Jessika Toothman

In the past, people who acted abnormally were carted off to prisons or insane asylums for mental health conditions beyond their control. Now, we have a greater understanding, but there are still unsolved mysteries of the mind.

By Molly Edmonds

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We may think that mental illnesses are rare, or things that simply happen to other people. We may think that they'll be easy to spot. We might not be willing to consider that we could have a mental disorder ourselves.

By Molly Edmonds

Many Mother's Day customs spread to Mexico from the United States in the early 20th century. But did you know that the holiday got its official start because of an editorial in a newspaper?

By Martha Barksdale

On the third Sunday of every June, sons and daughters across the U.S. honor their fathers with cards and gifts. It was started by a woman to honor the single father who raised her.

By Heather Kolich

Burqas are commonly associated with repression and religious extremism. But to many people, the veil is a sign of modesty and piety, as well as a badge of honor. What is the true meaning of the veil?

By Molly Edmonds & Yves Jeffcoat

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Much of country music would have gone unwritten without someone's cheatin' heart, and we can't underestimate the importance of extramarital affairs to centuries of written drama. But in real life, how do men and women differ when it comes to breaking their marital vows?

By Molly Edmonds

Aborigines are the world's oldest continuous culture, and they arrived in Australia between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago. Learn more with Aborigine pictures.

How often have you seen a couple interact like oil and water throughout an entire romantic comedy, only to realize that they're fated to be together? Princes marry scullery maids and Harvard lawyers fall for the mechanics who fix their cars. Is there any science to the story?

By Molly Edmonds

Avoid the holiday shopping rush with these tips for starting your shopping early -- preferably before Black Friday.

By Maria Trimarchi

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Time is a precious commodity around the holidays, but while you're making your lists and checking them twice, don't forget that you're doing more than shopping, decorating, wrapping and cooking. You're also helping make memories for your family.

By Sara Elliott

Much like a Christmas tree and a jolly Santa Claus, the tradition of hanging up stockings signals that the Christmas season has arrived. So, what's popular to stuff in them?

By Jessica Brown & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Time for family visits, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and that other holiday tradition -- receiving a glut of boring, boastful newsletters from distant friends, co-workers and long-lost family. So, make yours stand out from the pack.

By Emilie Sennebogen

On the first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims wore buckles, the Native Americans brought corn and everyone made merry until the sun went down. Right? That's not the most accurate portrayal of the historical event.

By Candace Keener

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Why do children don ridiculous costumes and bang down doors demanding candy once a year? And what do the ancient Celtic clans of Britain have to do with it?

By Cristen Conger

What do a man named Stingy Jack, the devil and a cross have to do with carving Halloween pumpkins? Everything, it turns out. This long-standing tradition is steeped in folklore and superstition.

By Emilie Sennebogen