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Summer solstice Utah sunrise. Source: Heath /Adobe Stock

6 Spectacular Summer Solstice Celebrations Around the World

With the sun shining high, the summer solstice, aka the longest day of the year, is a day for celebration for many people around the world. For people living north of the equator, Friday, June 21 is...
Example of an ancient calendar. The ancient Egyptians created a calendar with 365 days in a year.

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...
Stonehenge was one of the feasting destinations of the pigs.

Prehistoric Britons Brought Pigs From As Far As Scotland For Stonehenge Feasts

New findings suggest ancient people in the late Neolithic period travelled hundreds of kilometers across Britain’s wild landscapes to attend great feasts and festivals at stone circles in Wiltshire...
Amiternum funerary procession relief.

Mimes, Paid Grievers, and Masks: The Insane Theatrics of Ancient Roman Funerals

Two thousand years ago, funerals weren’t the quiet, somber affairs we have today. They were loud, boisterous shows that started with a massive procession of people parading down the streets, pounding...
Fireworks of 14 July 2017 in Paris (David Proteau/CC BY-SA 2.0) and the Bastille Fortress, 1789 (Public Domain);Deriv.

Storming the Bastille – Do French Ghosts Haunt a National Holiday?

Little appeals to the heart of Americans more than a story of a rebellion against a tyrannical government. And so, it’s not entirely surprising that many in America live it up on Bastille Day each...
Easter procession in Bilbao, Spain

Under the Hoods: The Brotherhoods (and Sisterhoods) of Spain’s Holy Week

“Spain is different!”. Napoleon took this view after his defeat by Spanish guerrilla warfare tactics. Generalissimo Franco’s government later made use of this slogan to promote Spain’s unique appeal...
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,...
Wassailing revelers at night – CC BY-SA 2.0

From Saxon Sirens to Sacred Orchards: The Modern Traditions and Pagan Origins of Wassailing

Every January, in parts of rural England, people still gather to celebrate Wassailing, a tradition with distinctly Pagan origins intended to bless the coming year’s apple crops and protect orchards...
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...
Harking Back: The Ancient Pagan Festivities in our Christmas Rituals

Harking Back: The Ancient Pagan Festivities in our Christmas Rituals

When we think of the Romans, gift-giving, carol-singing and celebrating the birth of Christ don’t immediately present themselves. Waging wars, general oppression and a never-ending desire to rule the...
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...
English Folklore: The Forgotten Death of Mischief Night

English Folklore: The Forgotten Death of Mischief Night

In the post-war years of the 1950’s through to the late 1980’s (when it began to be usurped by Halloween) Mischief Night was the “big” night before Bonfire Night, whereas Halloween on the 31st was...
The Jagannath Temple in Puri.

The Jagannath Temple in India: Home to a Trio of Deities and Numerous Religious Festivals

The Jagannath Temple is an ancient temple located in Puri, a city in the state of Odisha on the eastern coast of India. This temple is dedicated to Jagannath, a Sanskrit name which may be translated...
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...

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