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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.

Yacouba Sawadogo planting.

The Man Who Stopped a Desert Using Ancient Farming

Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A...
A tsunami stone.

Japanese Tsunami Stones: These Centuries-Old Monuments Save Lives Today

Japan is often struck by earthquakes due to its position on the Pacific Ring of Fire. At times, these seismic activities result in tsunamis - a ‘seismic or tidal sea wave’. Although such a deadly...
"Ertränken im Fass oder Sack", a 1560 sketch showing ‘punishment of the sack’.

Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Early Roman history is full of stories about the terrible fates that befell citizens who broke the law. When a certain Tarpeia let the enemy Sabines into Rome, she was crushed and thrown headlong...
Detail of ‘Iwatake mushroom gathering at Kumano in Kishu.’

Zombie Powder, Bird Saliva, and Rotten Shark: Would You Try These Ancient Foods?

Ancient tribal cultures all over the world partook in perilous hunting, fishing, and food gathering adventures. Hearths appear 250,000 years ago - which is the accepted archaeological estimate for...
A depiction of a tree of life or axis mundi.

The Axis Mundi: Sacred Sites Where Heaven Meets Earth

What do Mount Fuji in Japanese culture, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, Mecca in Islam, and the Black Hills for the Sioux all have in common? They are all examples of a belief in the axis...
These Norwegian children have traveled back to the Viking Age and practice archery.

Born for Valhalla: How Viking Children Learned the Art of War

By ThorNews We know from the sagas that Viking boys were trained in the art of war. The Viking’s success in killing and oppressing everyone who stood in their way was no accident: The warrior...
Venus and Mars, c 1485. Tempera and oil on poplar panel, National Gallery, London.

Trial by Public Performance: The Impotence Trials of Pre-Revolutionary France

The impotence trials of prerevolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in the wake of this that the impotence...
Elf Fantasy Fair 2010 hurdy gurdy.

The Hurdy Gurdy Was Essential Medieval Entertainment Enjoyed by Merrymakers Across Europe

The hurdy gurdy is a musical instrument, or more precisely, a string instrument, that traces its origin to the Middle Ages of Europe. The hurdy gurdy was initially used to play sacred music, before...
Stalk of basil.

Sacred Plant of Eternal Love and Healing: The Mythology and Magic of Basil

In Mediterranean cuisine it is the symbol of summer and its origins are lost in the mists of time. Fragrant and delicate with its green leaves it manages to tantalize the most demanding palates, it...
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...
‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ (1634-1635) by Nicolas Poussin.

Humans Have Been Making New Year’s Resolutions for Over 4,000 Years

New Year’s resolutions are a popular practice. Countless people begin to consider them every year as December 31st rolls around. Although the big plans and ambitious goals can be difficult to follow...
A human skeleton in space.

Medical Astrology: Moon Fever and Diseases Sent from the Skies

For centuries, humans have believed that the celestial realm could influence everyday life. This is the basis of astrology. The rise and fall of kingdoms and the fortunes of individuals have all been...
The marital prison in Biertan, Romania

Locked into a Relationship: The Medieval Remedy for Divorce Still Requested in Romania

Global divorce rates are on the rise. Some people see this as a social issue. But the small Romanian village of Biertan has a unique method to remedy this problem. They follow a tradition which has...
‘The Divorce of the Empress Josephine’ (1843) by Henri Frédéric Schopin

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Divorce Laws Have Evolved, But One Country Is Holding Back

Divorce can be traced all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman societies. But the idea of marriage in these cultures was different from what is found in modern Western society, so it makes sense...
Artist's rendering of the hof, a pagan temple, in Uppsala, Sweden.

The Heathen Hof: Resurrecting a Germanic Pagan Temple

A heathen hof, also referred to as a Germanic pagan temple, is the name given to a place of worship in the Germanic religion. These were pre-Christian temples found in various parts of Northern...
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,...

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