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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You might wondering how a fat jolly fellow like Santa can squeeze down a small hole like a chimney. Science to the rescue!

By John Fuller

File: Claus, Santa. Residence: the North Pole. Known aliases: Sinterklaas, St. Nick, Father Time and Sandy Claws. No matter what you call him, Santa Claus is one formidable being.

By John Fuller

Holly adorns houses all over the world during the holiday season, but why do we decorate with it? Find out why its crimson berries are so closely associated with the holidays.

By Elizabeth Abbess

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There's no doubt that commercialism runs rampant during Christmas. So is the word "Xmas" just another casualty of the modern advertising age? Or does the X in Xmas have its roots in Christianity after all?

By Sam Abramson

Have you ever caught yourself singing the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and wondered what geese, doves and milk maids have to do with the holiday?

By Sam Abramson

A pack of razors, chocolate-covered truffles and a harmonica -- these are just a few of the random items you might find in a Christmas stocking. Sure, these festive stockings are ideal for stuffing with pint-size presents, but why do we do it?

By John Fuller

Christmas caroling is an age-old tradition. But how did it start? And why won't some carolers go until they get their figgy pudding? Learn about this peculiar but endearing holiday practice.

By Sam Abramson

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For some, an ideal Christmas is one where a blanket of white snow covers the ground. Irving Berlin wrote about it and Bing Crosby crooned about it. But why is a white Christmas the best Christmas?

By John Fuller

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.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

Christmas is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world each year. But what do presents, three wise men and Jesus have to do with each other anyway?

By Sarah Dowdey

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?

By John Fuller

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Imagine having to deliver toys (and coal) to children all over the world — in just one night. How does the big guy do it?

By John Fuller

He's been called a diva, a hero and a misfit. He's Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. And his ruby-red honker has long been celebrated for guiding Santa and his sleigh through the night. But how does he do it?

By John Fuller

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.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

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.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

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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.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

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.

By Tiffany Connors

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.

By Editors of Consumer Guide

Today, many associate the holiday less with pilgrims and American Indians and more with football and turkey. What's the real story of Thanksgivig Day?

By Allison Klein

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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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By Josh Clark

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.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

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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.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Palindromes are words, phrases or even dates that are spelled the same forward and backward. They don't always make tons of sense, but they're still fun.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler