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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Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrates a very special triumph over religious persecution, when the Jews were able to escape oppression at the hands of Antiochus, a Syrian king.

By Allison Klein

In Islam, Ramadan is the holiest time of the year. For a month, Muslims fast during daylight hours to show their devotion to Allah. Find out what Ramadan is all about.

By Allison Klein

Yom Kippur is marks the end of a 10-day period during which Jews seek forgiveness for their sins so they can make a fresh start. It's considered to be the holiest day of the Jewish year.

By Katherine Neer

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Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish religion, celebrating the Jewish New Year and three other important themes.

By Julia Layton

The fear of Friday the 13th isn't exactly grounded in scientific logic. But that doesn't stop us from feeling that it's unlucky.

By Tom Harris

Did you know that servers, guides, drivers, concierges and others who help us dine and travel sometimes aren't paid even minimum wage by their employers? They depend on customer gratuities. Want to know what to tip and when?

By Lee Ann Obringer

No computers? No electricity? This lifestyle might seem tough to most of us, but to the Amish, it's the norm. Read about the Amish culture, see pictures and learn how and why the Amish live as they do.

By Stephen Wise

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OK, so a good friend of mine was driving down the highway and he picked up this hitchhiker… Urban legends are the basis for some truly spooky ghost stories. See how the tales get started and how they make their way to you.

By Tom Harris

Mother's Day is set aside in many countries as a day to honor our mothers and grandmothers. The origin of this day can be traced back much farther than you might think. Learn about the history of this special day.

Becoming a saint in the Roman Catholic Church is designed to be lengthy and difficult process. What are steps involved in canonization?

We have all heard that anytime the thirteenth day of the month falls on a Friday that it is considered an unlucky day. Where did this notion come from? Find out the answer to that question in this article.

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Believe it or not, there's more to St. Patrick's Day than beer and gaudy green attire. How do the saint, the shamrocks and the famous Blarney Stone all come together?

By Melissa Russell-Ausley

Did you know that the word "mistletoe" comes from two Anglo-Saxon words meaning "dung" and "twig"? We'll tell you how and why humans decided to kiss under this unfortunately named shrub.

By Barbara Suszynski & Sam Abramson

It's time to unpack the ornaments, string up the popcorn, and yes -- untangle those lights. Plan on piling it all on a fresh Christmas tree? Learn about the different types and how to pick the perfect one.

By Katherine Neer

How did Halloween become the one day of the year when door-to-door begging for candy isn’t just allowed … it’s encouraged? Get a ghoulish glimpse into the surprising origins of everything from jack-o’-lanterns to trick-or-treating.

By Tom Harris

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Americans typically view Labor Day as the official end of summer and a free day off from work. But have you ever stopped to think who was behind it? And why is it celebrated in early September?

By Kathryn Whitbourne

What's the story behind the acronym R.S.V.P.? And what is the proper etiquette when you get an invitation that requests you R.S.V.P.?

By Sarah Gleim

Learn all about the springtime celebration of Easter, from its origins to the (often wacky) worldwide variations in its observance.

By John Airey

It's a Scottish phrase sung all over the world on New Year's Eve, but what does it really mean?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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When the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999, Hawaii was one of the last places to celebrate the new year that year. Where was the first place to celebrate the new year that night? Find out in this article.

When did the Valentine's Day frenzy begin? Was there really a saint named "Valentine"? Why the flowers and chocolate? Learn all about the origins and symbols of Valentine's Day.

By Kathryn Whitbourne

A fascinating article that explains the techniques and science behind verbal self-defense!

By Suzette Haden Elgin

Have you ever been standing in your living room with a strand of Christmas lights that just won't work? We'll explain why this happens and how one bad bulb can spoil the whole bunch.

By Marshall Brain