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The Tai Hang fire dragon dance is performed in Hong Kong during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Explore the Legends and the Myths

Nearly everyone has heard of the Chinese New Year festival, but there is another festival that is very important in China and East Asia. This is the Mid-Autumn Festival , which is an enormous party...
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...
Holi festival painting

Happy Holi: Ancient Legends Behind India's Colorful Celebration

Holi is an ancient Indian spring festival that celebrates love, color, and the triumph of good over evil. Traditionally, this was a major Hindu religious festival in North India, but the fun,...
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...
Apadana Hall, 5th century BC carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots). The Magi were a group of immigrants from Media who followed the Zoroastrian faith.

The Slaughter Of The Magi: How Ancient Persia Made Genocide an Annual Holiday

Long before the Holocaust and the atrocities we see today, history has been littered with genocide. Time and time again, minority groups living in the midst of a culture that isn’t their own have...
The laughing jester // Art museum of Stockholm, Sweden.

Jokes and Pranks: Here is the April Fools’ Day Origin Story

April Fools’ Day has a special twist in 2018. This year, April 1st is not only a day for pranksters, but also Easter celebrations. You can imagine there will be many egg jokes and maybe an Easter...
‘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...
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,...
Detail of decorations on a Christmas tree.

Why Do We Put Up Christmas Trees? The Ancient Roots of this Decorative Tradition

The Christmas tree is an iconic feature of the holiday season. You can find this symbol on greeting cards, in advertisements, shaped into cookies, plastered across wrapping paper, and in the homes of...
 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,...
An upside-down Christmas tree.

A Tradition Revived? Inverted Christmas Trees May Have Pagan Roots

Hanging a Christmas tree from the ceiling makes some sense – it can keep your floor space clear and may protect your pets or young children from harm – but it is not common. The costly trend of...
Detail of a vintage Christmas postcard showing Christkind.

Christkind: How Does this Christmas Gift-Bringer Differ from Santa Claus?

Christkind is a Christmas gift-bringer in certain European countries. Like its more famous counterpart, Santa Claus, Christkind is said to leave presents for children under the Christmas tree on the...
Who Was St Dwynwen and How is She Associated with St Valentine?

Who Was St Dwynwen and How is She Associated with St Valentine?

Dylan Foster Evans / The Conversation February 14 is the day marked for lovers in many countries around the world, but in Wales there is another date traditionally associated with romance: St Dwynwen...
Room with a Pew: ‘Champing’ Lets You Sleepover in Ancient Churches

Room with a Pew: ‘Champing’ Lets You Sleepover in Ancient Churches

Imagine being handed a key to an ancient church that is immersed in history and having the place to yourself for a whole weekend – this is the experience now open to church campers or ‘champers’...
The Roman Origins of Our Modern Calendar - Influenced by Popes, Generals, Emperors and Gods

The Roman Origins of Our Modern Calendar - Influenced by Popes, Generals, Emperors and Gods

The most widely used calendar around the world today is called the Gregorian calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century CE and was a modification of an ancient Roman...

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