Rituals and Traditions

Richard Nixon and his daughter Tricia on her wedding day in June 1971

A Brief History of White House Weddings

Naomi Biden's nuptials will mark the 19th wedding held at the presidential seat of power

If Yonatan Adler's theory proves correct, then Judaism is, at best, Christianity’s elder sibling and a younger cousin to the religions of ancient Greece and Rome.

Is Judaism a Younger Religion Than Previously Thought?

A new book by an Israeli archaeologist makes the stunning claim that common Jewish practices emerged only a century or so before Jesus

Magic was just another tool in a medieval animal healer's toolbox.

The Veterinary Magic of the Middle Ages

Medieval healers treated animals' ailments with a mix of faith, tradition and science

The centuries-old tradition involves sorting these woolly creatures after a summer of free-grazing on mountain grasses and berries in the highlands.

Iceland's Annual Tradition of Counting Sheep Is Far From Sleepy

Every fall, across the country, farmers and their friends and family gather to sort the ewes and rams that spent the summer free-grazing

Artist's rendering of John Canoe (Jan Kwaw), the Ahanta king who likely inspired the Bahamas' Junkanoo festival

The Gold Coast King Who Fought the Might of Europe's Slave Traders

New research reveals links between the 18th-century Ahanta leader John Canoe and the Caribbean festival Junkanoo

A close-up of Stonehenge in Salisbury, England

What Do Stonehenge and Japanese Stone Circles Have in Common?

A new exhibition explores the surprising parallels between British and Japanese traditions

Ruins of Tikal, where researchers found high concentrations of mercury 

Ancient Maya Cities Were Polluted With High Levels of Mercury

The concentrations at some dig sites could be hazardous for today's archaeologists

On October 21, some 60,000 pilgrims descend on the town of Portobelo, Panama, to celebrate the Festival del Cristo Negro.

Panama

Panama's Black Christ Festival Stirs Up Sorrow and a Sense of Survival

For Afro-Panamanians, October offers a chance to celebrate Catholicism and their Blackness

Some of the 14th-century B.C.E. vessels found at the Tel Yehud burial site

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover Evidence of Earliest Known Opium Use

At a burial site in Israel, pottery from the 14th century B.C.E. contained traces of the drug

Detail of the Chief Johnson totem pole

Alaska

The World's Largest Collection of Standing Totem Poles Keeps Getting Bigger

Eighty sculptures in and around Ketchikan, Alaska, tell the ancestral stories of Indigenous clans

The 3,000-year-old Imsety sculpture is a lid to a canopic jar, which held organs during mummification.

Customs Officials Seize a 3,000-Year-Old Egyptian Artifact in Tennessee

The stone sculpture depicts the Egyptical funeral deity Imsety

The Guna, an Indigenous group residing in Panama and parts of neighboring Colombia, have been creating colorfully embroidered clothing for centuries.

Panama

The Colorful History Behind Panama's Mola

Made by hand, this clothing staple is an important piece of the country's rich culture

Pietas affiliate groups have built temples across Italy.

When I Celebrated the Summer Solstice With Ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses

Members of a group in Italy called Association Pietas are reviving the ancient religion of Rome

The pinta’o originated in the province of Coclé southwest of Panama City, where the hats are still made today.

Panama

The Real Panama Hat

For centuries, Panamanian artists have been weaving "pinta'o" from natural fibers

An alkaline hydrolysis machine at White Rose Aqua Cremation in Escondido, California

Could Water Cremation Become the New American Way of Death?

A sustainable option for what to do with our remains is trickling into popular consciousness

Riders on the Pine Apples float in the 1898 parade

Cool Finds

The Oldest Footage of New Orleans Has Been Found

Previously only rumored to exist, the two-minute film depicts a Mardi Gras parade from 1898

This blue-pigmented figurine was found buried with the oldest child.

Four Aztec Burials Found in Mexico

Even after the fall of the Aztec Empire, new discoveries reveal that some traditions survived

Bronze sacrificial altar unearthed at the Sanxingdui archaeological site

Cool Finds

Trove of 13,000 Artifacts Sheds Light on Enigmatic Chinese Civilization

The Bronze Age Sanxingdui culture is known for its intricate masks and artworks

Located alongside New Jersey’s southernmost point, Cape May is a stunning Victorian shore community that once played a role in guiding Black enslaved laborers to freedom.

The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2022

From the alleged birthplace of Paul Bunyan to the original gateway to Yellowstone, these towns are buzzing with activity

The Neolithic-Era henge was completely obscured by overgrown vegetation. 

Cool Finds

Volunteers Uncover Rare, 4,800-Year-Old Stone Circle in England

Ground scans at Castilly Henge revealed seven pits where ancient stones once stood

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