festival

Fireworks over a golden temple.

Rebirth and Rejuvenation: How Have Ancient New Year’s Traditions Influenced Festivities Today?

January 1st, New Year’s Day, is often ushered in with fireworks and festivities beginning on December 31st. Although this practice is the norm in many places around the world, not every culture has...
The Romans of the Decadence (1847) by Thomas Couture.

Why is Christmas Celebrated December 25th?

Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th? The popular answer is that it is Jesus’ birthday. However, it is necessary to reconsider that belief, No records exist in the Bible, or elsewhere,...
 A door decorated with a Christmas wreath

Mistletoe, Holly, and Yuletide Cheer: Weaving Natural Elements into Ancient Christmas Customs

It is estimated 2 billion people celebrate Christmas each year. Although the popular holiday is linked to Christianity and the birth of Jesus Christ, people all over the world, Christians or not,...
Detail of a star chart dating to the Middle Kingdom.

Why Are There 365 Days in a Year? Organizing Dates with an Ancient Egyptian Calendar

The calendar is one of mankind’s most important inventions. Calendars allowed societies to organize time for religious, social, economic, and administrative purposes. The calendar, or rather, two...
Inti Raymi solstice festival, Cusco, Peru

Ancient Inca Festival Celebrating Sun God, Once Practiced in Secret, is Revived in Peru

Every year on June 24, Cusco in Peru celebrates the Inti Raymi, a tribute festival to the venerated Inca Sun God Inti. As TRT World reports , the festival draws thousands of local and international...
A Strange Ancient Dance with Unknown Origins – How Far Back Does the Morris Dance Really Go?

A Strange Ancient Dance with Unknown Origins – How Far Back Does the Morris Dance Really Go?

Morris dancing is a type of folk dance from England. It is unclear as to when Morris Dancing began to be performed, though there is evidence that this dance has existed for several centuries, the...
‘Festa di Pales, o L'estate’ by Joseph-Benoît Suvée

The Busy Romans Needed a Mid-Winter Break Too … and it Lasted for 24 days

In the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2010, Michael Gambon’s Scrooge-like character remarks that across different cultures and worlds people come together to mark the midpoint of winter. It is, he...
Alcohol for the Ancients: The Oldest Drinks in the World

Alcohol for the Ancients: The Oldest Drinks in the World

Archaeological records related to ancient drinks are quite rare, but they take us to realms of ancient life which were hidden for a long time. With new technologies and chemical analysis, scientists...
The Diwali Festival of Lights: A Celebration of Freedom and Good Triumphing over Evil

The Diwali Festival of Lights: A Celebration of Freedom and Good Triumphing over Evil

Diwali / Deepavali is also known as the Festival of Lights (the name of this festival may be literally translated from Sanskrit as rows of lights) , and is one of the most well-known and important...
The Egyptian Goddess Isis, Found in India

The Egyptian Goddess Isis, Found in India

One of the great, largely untold adventure stories of late antiquity is the journey to the East, from Egypt’s Red Sea ports, across the open ocean for 40 days and 40 nights, to the legendary entrepôt...
Painting of an ancient Egyptian woman being served beer.

Provocative Yet Sacred: The Ancient Egyptian Festival of Drunkenness

The Festival of Drunkenness is a religiously significant celebration that was held annually (said to be biannually in some places) by the ancient Egyptians. The background story for the celebration...
Painting entitled ‘Saturnalia’ (1783) by Antoine Callet.

Saturnalia: The December Festival of Joy and Merriment in Ancient Rome

Saturnalia was a festival celebrated by the ancient Romans. Originally, this celebration was held annually for a day on the 17th of December, but the festival was so popular that it was extended to a...
: “The First Thanksgiving 1621, oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899). The painting shows common misconceptions about the event that persist to modern times: Pilgrims did not wear such outfits, and the Wampanoag are dressed in the style of Native Americans from the Great

The American Tradition of Thanksgiving: A Harvest Festival with Roots in the Old World

As the leaves turn beautiful golden and fiery red hues, and the weather gets colder and people prepare for the oncoming winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Americans enjoy the annual celebration of...
Mid-Autumn Festival Decorations in Beijing, China.

The Mid-Autumn Festival: A Holiday of Mooncakes, Lanterns, Moon Worship, and Timeless Legends

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated annually by Chinese and Vietnamese communities around the world. As the name of this festival suggests, the day of its celebration falls exactly in the middle of...
Along the River during the Qingming Festival painting

5-meter long ancient scroll painting is one of the most precious treasures of China

People lined up to wait for six hours to see one of China’s most famous artworks, an exquisite 12 th century scroll painting depicting the Song Dynasty capital of Haifeng during the festival of...
Holi kele nanda lala

The Mythological Origins of Holi: Ancient and Colorful Festival of South Asia

Holi is an ancient festival celebrated on the day after the last full moon of Phalguna, the last month of the Hindu calendar (between late February and early March). Traditionally, this was a major...

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View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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