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Ancient Traditions

Ancient Origins brings you articles related to Ancient Traditions from all over the world. Find related articles in the sections of history, archaeology, human origins, unexplained, artifacts, ancient places and myths and legends.

Artwork depicting a Tibetan Mastiff from the Qing Dynasty.

A Loyal Companion and Much More: Dogs in Ancient China

It is generally accepted that the dog is one of the earliest animals that was domesticated by human beings. In today’s society, the dog is regarded by many as ‘man’s best friend’. This view has been...
: “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...
Painting of Orixas dancing.

Candomble: The African-Brazilian Dance in Honor of the Gods

Candomblé (meaning dance in honor of the gods ) is a religion found primarily in Brazil with a number of elements derived from African cultures. It not only incorporates some religious aspects of...
N’anga (spiritual healer or herbalist) of the Shona people. Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.

Traditional African Medicine and its Role in Healing in a Modern World

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has been estimated that “about 80% of the population in developing countries depend s on traditional medicine for their Primary Health Care (PHC)...
Volunteers carefully clean and store the abandoned bodies in the hopes relatives will retrieve them. If not, the bodies are eventually cremated.

Thai Buddhists observe an ancient tradition of honoring the unclaimed dead

A medieval Buddhist tradition started by a Buddhist monk centuries ago has people this month in Thailand exhuming and painstakingly cleaning the remains of 3,890 people who were buried without their...
Deriv; Woman with veil and scarf and Khor Ash Sham, Musandam Peninsula, Oman.

Are the Reclusive Shihuh People of Musandam the Original Arabians?

Two hours’ drive from Dubai in the mountains of Musandam lives a reclusive tribe of people who appear culturally unrelated to any others in the Arabian Peninsula, yet who may well be its original...
An example of Gyotaku art.

Gyotaku: A Unique Japanese Tradition in Which a Fish Becomes a Work of Art

Gyotaku is a traditional Japanese art form that is highly unique, and some may even say bizarre. The word Gyotaku itself is a combination of two separate words – Gyo , which means ‘fish’, and Taku ,...
Shiva carrying Sati on his trident. (1800s).

Manikarnika Ghat and the Role of Cremation in Traditional Indian Funerary Rites

India is renowned for having distinctive religious practices that coexist with one another. The numerous shrines and monuments allow one to contemplate the importance of faith for many. One of the...
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...
15th century the basement of a "market house" used as a prison

Prisons and Imprisonment in the Ancient World: Punishments Used to Maintain Public Order

One of the most well-known forms of punishment today is imprisonment. One could argue that for any society to function properly, public order has to be maintained. This is an important function of...
Artist’s depiction of a Viking King

From Olafir Thick-Legged to Ragnar Fur-Pants, Viking nicknames were colorful, descriptive and fascinating

An American scholar did both his master’s thesis and his doctoral dissertation on old Norse nicknames as recorded in medieval literature to reveal a world of people with monikers like Wise of Dreams...
The print depicts a samurai fighting snakes, which are conjured by a ghost as the ghosts of Heian court ladies watch. Japan, 1850.

Malevolent Phantoms, Corpse Brides, and Ancestor Spirits: The Ancient Belief in Ghosts – PART II

Many ancient civilizations had beliefs surrounding the hauntings of ghosts and malevolent spirits, and so they relied on careful rituals and exorcisms to keep the supernatural at bay. Read Part I...
Ancient legends tell of ghost hauntings.

Malevolent Phantoms, Corpse Brides, and Ancestor Spirits: The Ancient Belief in Ghosts – PART I

Ghosts and malevolent spirits haunted the ancients, and so they relied on careful rituals and exorcisms to keep the supernatural at bay. The concept of a spiritual afterlife connects cultures across...
Roman Key Ring made of iron and worn by the wife.

Why Do Couples Exchange Rings with Vows? The Elusive Ancient Origins of Wedding Rings

The image of a couple exchanging rings during a wedding ceremony is instantly recognizable, and is held as an ancient tradition. A ring on a certain finger indicates that the wearer is married, but...
Mosaic of the ‘bikini girls’ from the Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily.

When it Came to Ancient Undergarments Less Was Often More

Undergarments are an essential part of today’s society. They can be readily purchased from departmental stores, come in all shapes and sizes, and serve a variety of functions. In the ancient world,...
“Krishna and Balarama Taking the Cattle to Graze” from a Bhagavata Purana Manuscript (1520-1540), Museum Rietberg, Zurich

The Past Teaching the Present: Ancient Sanskrit Texts Discuss the Importance of Environmental and Species Conservation

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century is the destruction of the natural environment. Researchers have found that environmental change over the last 60 years is happening...

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