Rituals and Traditions

Jørgen Botolfsen, pictured in 2020 outside Ballstad Fisk AS, where he helps process cod. “Bigger kids are stronger and faster,” he says.

In Norway, Kids Slice Out Cod Tongues for Serious Money

In the remote Lofoten Islands, youngsters are happy to embrace tradition by collecting the local delicacy and selling their wares

A 1930s couple rings in the new year with party blowers and streamers. New Year's Eve celebrations only began incorporating countdowns decades later, with the first crowd countdown in Times Square taking place in 1979.

Why Do We Count Down to the New Year?

A historian traces the tradition's links to space travel, the Doomsday Clock and Alfred Hitchcock

Indian buffets invite a range of eaters—from the timid to the adventurous—to explore and experiment without intimidation.

Searching for Curry and Enlightenment on the Indian Buffet Line

A return to trays of glistening tandoori and hand-rolled naan for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is a return to normalcy

This 1925 painting depicts an idealized version of an early Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth.

How to Tell the Thanksgiving Story on Its 400th Anniversary

Scholars are unraveling the myths surrounding the 1621 feast, which found the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag cementing a newly established alliance

To make true Roquefort cheese, the law requires that it must be produced from local ingredients and ripen for months in a cave in southern France. 

How Much Longer Will Roquefort Reign as the King of Cheese?

In France, makers of the odorous food are singing the blues

The ring could date back to as early as the third century C.E.

Cool Finds

Ancient Amethyst Ring Found in Israel May Have Been Worn to Ward Off Hangovers

Found near a Byzantine-era winery, the jewelry likely belonged to a wealthy, high-status individual

The tablet depicts a male ghost being led back to the afterlife, curator Irving Finkel says.

Cool Finds

3,500-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet May Contain Earliest Known Depiction of a Ghost

A curator at the British Museum details the spooky find in a new book

A plaster cast of a "ghost turnip" carving from Donegal, Ireland

When People Carved Turnips Instead of Pumpkins for Halloween

Revelers in Ireland transformed the root vegetables into lanterns designed to ward off dark spirits

The Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine, hosts an "All Souls Walk" at the town's Hope Cemetery.

In Cemeteries Across the Country, Reenactors Are Resurrecting the Dead

Gravesite readings and performances keep the stories of the dearly departed alive for a new generation

The First Americans Museum opened in Oklahoma City this month.

A Brand-New Museum in Oklahoma Honors Indigenous People at Every Turn

The team behind the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City incorporated the traditions and spiritual beliefs of 39 tribal nations into its design

Archaeologists hope the flowers will shed new light on rituals conducted by the ancient residents of Teotihuacán.

Cool Finds

1,800-Year-Old Flower Bouquets Found in Tunnel Beneath Teotihuacán Pyramid

The well-preserved plants were likely used in a ritual ceremony

The study's authors argue that the individual may have been highly regarded due to their nonbinary status or “because they already had a distinctive or secured position in the community for other reasons; for example, by belonging to a relatively wealthy and well-connected family.”

New Research

Mysterious Iron Age Burial May Hold Remains of Elite Nonbinary Person

The Finnish grave's occupant likely had Klinefelter syndrome, meaning they were born with an extra copy of the X chromosome

Just over 150 employees handcraft 12 million cigars a year from the historic J.C. Newman Cigar Company.

The Last Cigar Factory in Tampa

After a multi-million renovation, the J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Ybor City offers visitors a museum and tours of its working factory

The Cardboard Boat Museum tells the quirky history of a 28-year tradition.

A Small Town in Ohio Is Home to the World's Only Cardboard Boat Museum

For nearly 30 years, New Richmond has hosted the International Cardboard Boat Regatta, a high-spirited race on the Ohio River

Tollund Man was likely the victim of a human sacrifice.

What Did Tollund Man, One of Europe's Famed Bog Bodies, Eat Before He Died?

The enigmatic, 2,400-year-old mummy's last meal consisted of porridge and fish

The elaborate construction of the pool, along with artifacts discovered inside of it, points to a ceremonial purpose.

Cool Finds

3,400-Year-Old Artificial Pool in Italy May Have Hosted Religious Rituals

New research dates the wooden basin's construction to a time of immense social change for Bronze Age people

Researchers say the incisors' removal may have served as an indicator of social status or membership in a specific group.

Why Are These Medieval-Era Skulls Found in Gabon Missing Their Front Teeth?

Intact, 500-year-old upper jaws discovered in an African cave bear evidence of deliberate facial modification

A close-up image of the snake carving.

4,000-Year-Old 'Snake Staff' Discovered in Finland

A Stone Age shaman may have used the carving during special rituals

People who reopened graves might take items like swords and brooches but leave more valuable objects untouched.

Cool Finds

Why Did Early Medieval Europeans Reopen Graves?

Contrary to some assumptions, the removal of objects from burial sites was not typically motivated by greed

An individual buried in an amphora on the Croatian island of Hvar

Cool Finds

Ancient Necropolis Discovered in 17th-Century Croatian Palace's Garden

The fourth- or fifth-century cemetery contained the remains of several individuals buried in jars

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