A totem is a natural object that has special meaning for that person. Butterflies are a favorite totem for many people. Read more to find out about butterflies and the meaning of their colors.
For a fee, some people agreed to assume the transgressions of the dead in the belief this would ease their passage into heaven.
Dzi (pronounced Zee) is a Tibetan word used to describe a patterned, usually agate, of mainly oblong, round, cylindrical or tabular shape pierced lengthwise called Heaven's Bead (tian zhu) in Chinese. The meaning of the Tibetan word "Dzi"...
Examines the how, when, and why of creation myths to show how creation myths define cultural norms by comparing Enuma Elish, Hesiod's Theogony, and Ovid's Metamorphoses.
The largest Ancient Mayan site ever discovered, using modern technology to see beneath the green jungle canopy of northern Guatemala.
Past traditions & customs still hold sway as observed in the Eyo masquerade festival, claimed to be the foremost cultural event in Nigeria - a grand display of pageantry, history, tradition, & art...
Even though the carved cedar pole and potlatch were illegal for many years until 1951, their meanings in a cultural context were never lost. The lineage of the Master Carvers preserved them.
Our mothers always told us that breakfast was the most important meal of the day; our mothers, as usual, were right.
What did Mohawk families wear from 1800 - 1900? While they had their own traditional clothing, they readily added European pieces to their wardrobes as they made friends with settlers.
Americans are simply in love with England. They just can't help themselves! There are many reasons to love England, but here are the top fifteen, from the accents to the royalty to the literature.
Handfasting is common practice in Neopagan circles. Many believe this practice dates back to the pagan Celts, but does it really?
You may have heard of Big Foot or Chupacabras. But El Duende, the "elf-like creature" in the forest is gaining notoriety. So who is this mysterious being and is it good or evil?
The Amish have a very different approach to dental care. Find out why the Amish pull out a problem tooth or a whole mouthfull of teeth and choose to use dentures instead.
Types and preparation of food is central to nearly every society; etiquette sometimes creates confusion in cross-cultural dealings
Maneki Neko literally means “beckoning cat” and it represents a ceramic or china statuette with a raised paw.
There used to be many traditions and customs for the Chinese New Year. Some of them are no longer observed by the younger generations.
In the folklore and mythology of every culture there have been stories and legends of giants. Were the myths based on facts or were the facts exaggerated into mythological legends over time?
Though U.S. citizens may consider Hawaii a typical state, Native Hawaiians consider their land to be an occupied territory, with tourism and colonization acting to degrade their peoplehood. #epic research paper on cultural prostitution
Death can be a celebration of life, or a means to help the soul pass. Everyone has their own way to deal with grief. This article explores how cultures around the world handle death.
This interview was done in 2015, when I visited Felix Padel, famous anthropologist and the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, in Odisha
Race plays an important role in society, whether we want to admit it or not, but is there any biological validity to the concept of distinct racial categories?
What does westernization mean for Pakistan? What are the effects of modernization on Pakistani culture? This article discusses the positives and negatives of Western influence in Pakistan.
Some modern critics disparage fairy tales for their depiction of women. But, the truth is that fairy tales are complex with much to offer women of any age.
Cave paintings of Lascaux are some of the earliest visual demonstrations of art created by people living in the Paleolithic era.
Finfolk are an unsual breed of mythological creatures unique to Orkney and Shetland Islands. Similar to Mermaids and other mythic sea creatures. And connections to Norse mythology.
A central aspect of Irish folklore is the wealth of traditional beliefs and superstitions which have been held by Irish people over the centuries. Many of these beliefs can be traced to Celtic traditions which the Catholic church failed to...
What is Love? An Evolutionary Perspective - This article explains why loving couples fair better in the course of human evolution, and why love is epitomised in poetry yet shrouded in mystery.
The Maori peoples of New Zealand consider themselves its First Nations. There is much discussion and much dispute over the question of where they came from.
Japanese tea ceremonies change throughout the year. Each season has its own peculiarities and ways of drinking tea.
Throughout the world people of different regions have used different stories with similar elements to explain the creation of the earth and the creatures that inhabit it.
The terminology, economic roles, spiritual roles, sexuality, and modern roles of berdaches in Native America cultures. Includes photos and videos of historical and modern berdaches.
Ghana has myths ingrained in its society and directs the way of life and behavior of its people. Some of these myths have evidence to back them up and serve as sacred and tourist attraction sites.
The severed head is routinely found throughout the literature and archaeology in Celtic and Norse territories. Is it possible that the severed head served as more than simply a war trophy?
I recently visited the Paths of Life exhibit at the Arizona State Museum, and was dismayed at their simplistic representation of identity and history of the Tohono O'odham (a local tribe in the US Southwest). Here, I take short a research-style approach to analyzing the exhibit.
The development of ethnography, important figures in cultural anthropology, and how ethnographic studies changed history.
Norse and Celtic Europe is plentiful with myths and folklore that mention nine maidens. Where do these legends originate? Might there be a spiritual legacy to these maidens?
Krampus has risen dramatically in popularity in the United States over recent years. But why has this happened now?
You might be surprised to learn some of these facts about Deaf culture and how it differs from hearing culture.
Within Norse history, no figure is more elusive and secretive than the Völva. Little is known about the practices of these figures. Were they witches?
Many people know of the Jersey Devil, but not many people know of the man the legend likely originated from.
The legends of this underworld testify to its otherness and yet also impart a distinctive British flair.
The 17th March, St Patrick's Day, is recognised as a celebration of Irishness around the world. Yet somehow, even though there are almost a million Protestants living on the island of Ireland, Irishness is often equated with Catholicism in many...
The curious cultural differences between the English and the Dutch . Bizarre, strange,puzzling and just plain odd goings on in two very civilised countries.
Persephone is one of the deities of the Greek pantheon who is often overlooked, but she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, as well as the wife of Hades, so an important goddess in Ancient Greece.
The sparrow has been depicted throughout history as a harbinger of good and bad luck, a symbol of love, as a religious symbol of God's love and as an omen of death! Read how to identify these little birds, and about some of the folklore, legend and superstition surrounding them.
Not much is known about the mythical Hazzi, but what exists about the mountain god, may serve as a key to understanding early civilizations and the migration between continents.
A review of the language, beliefs, and practices of the Rastafari as displayed in Leonard Barrett's "The Rastafarians," as well as the words and music of the people themselves.
Filipino proverbs, or salawikain, echo the values of the Philippines. The values and lessons they impart to us still hold truth to this day.
Before the spread of Christianity, the ancient people of Europe worshiped land spirits also known as the genius loci. Learn about the genius loci here.
I am completely hooked on Maori symbol necklaces. These pendants are commonly carved from bone and jade (greenstone or pounamu) sometimes attached to their cords with authentic, traditional bindings.(As on the photo to the right) Not only are...
This article takes a look at five major comic book superheroes, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Hulk, and The Silver Surfer, and makes the case that modern man uses superheroes to explain the world in the same way ancient man used myth.
The British Celts have given us the Mabinogion and Arthurian Legends. Is it possible that constellation lore is imbedded within them?
The lore, folk tales, and myths of ale and beer for the Germanic peoples: Germans, Norse, Anglo-Saxons, and the English.
A Filipino burial is very unique. It consists of many religious and non-religious practices and some superstitious beliefs. Following is how we buried my father and arranged his funeral.
The archetypal Trickster God shows up around the world in most mythologies bringing with them a strange ability to switch sexes whenever their mood suits them. What can this teach us about the now?
Who wants high-tech instruments, algorithms, and forecast models when all you need to know is that a plentiful crop of pine cones means a harsh winter is coming? Or not.
"Estan locos? Are you guys crazy? The Shuar kill strangers on their land." This was the reaction of the (non-Shuar) locals at the edge of the Ecuadorian rainforest when my friend and I told them we planned to try and meet some Shuar people.
Ancient lore told of a mysterious inhabited island that existed far to the north. This land was named Thule. Might there be any truth to this legend or is it simply fiction?
How old do you have to be to get married? Are arranged marriages valid? Can one person marry into a group? What does the world have to say about these many forms of marriage? Find out here.
Arguably, both intellectually and physiologically our species, Homo Sapiens, may be fast reaching the limits of its potential. What may come next?
In a rapidly changing global society where traditional cultures under pressure, we must respect our many diverse ways of life without giving up the ethical demand for universal human rights.
The Celts were renown for their military prowess and fearlessness in battle. This has been attributed to their belief in reincarnation. Do myths and legends preserve this belief?
50 million people living in Latin America are considered to be 'indigenous'. The Amerindians of Latin America include many different groups with very different languages and traditions.
The royalty of Swaziland still practices polygamy, but this system does not come without its challenges
"The Arranged Marriage", 1862 painting by Vasili Pukirev An arranged marriage is the union of a man and a woman which is brought about by someone other than the bride and groom. Historically, it was the primary way in which future spouses were...
Tribal Art and Traditions can be weird and wonderful. From the Long Neck Tribe of Burma to the beautiful energy and color of the dancing Wodaabe Fulani tribesmen of Southern Niger. Including Neck Rings, Lip Plates Nose Plugs and Exotic Makeup.
Lore and tales of mead, honey, and wassailing in the Germanic cultures of the Germans, Norse, Anglo-Saxons, and English.
Some ancestors of Granny Women in Appalachian regions come from Ireland, Scotland,and Wales. Let's step through a door to the past and take a look at some of their ancient healing practices...
The pine is a genus of tree which has meanings and symbolism all around the world. Cultural and religious meanings of the pine tree and various facts about the great pine.
Where did the British people come from? Several hints to their origin originate from medieval documents, and yet other clues come from the genetic record. Could Anatolia be the home of the Brits?
One day after my wife and I purchased a new SUV in Thailand, we decided to get it blessed by a Buddhist monk. In this article, I explain why the vehicle was blessed and then describe the interesting ritual involved.
Anglo-Indians are a community that is fast dying out. They were never a large community, but they made an impact on recent popular culture that is massively disproportionate to their small number.
Nature has its dangers, but without it we starve ourselves in more ways than we can imagine. From nature we learn what it is to be human, how we fit in to life, and how we can make life easier.
Japan's association with the land and its peasant classes has been an element which has defined Japanese identity, but was constructed rather than organic to Japan.
Cleanse your soul and connect to Mother Earth in a pure and organic way. Participate in a Native American sweat lodge ceremony.
Eating black eyed peas is a fun family tradition in the South now. But once eating cow peas, Southern peas or black eyed peas was a matter of survival.
It is always interesting to study other cultures and it is extremely important to do just that if you are going to have interactions with them. You don’t want to insult someone or embarrass yourself and your own culture. China is one of those interesting cultures mainly because what we usually know about the country is through movies or the local Chinese restaurant. What I’ve learned over the years is that that knowledge is usually useless. Sincere study of a culture is the only way to truly app
Though gender roles are clearly defined, in Zuni culture gender is not tightly bound to biological sex. Zuni sacred history promotes a cultural role for people of a third 'middle' gender.
The purpose of prehistoric cave art drawings and symbols is still unclear, but they must have possessed some decorative or ritualistic value. Probably they were not really meant to 'pretty up' their enclaves but rather, have some sort of religious significance.
Culture goes far beyond race and ethnicity. Raising cultural awareness is essential to accepting and respecting those cultures that may be different from our own.
A study of the different ways people from around the world wash their dishes. Includes the dish-washing practices of people from Syria, Iran, Germany, India, France, and the U.S.
The Amish life is steeped in tradition and an adherence to the teachings of the bible. With a culture that goes back 400 years, there are many surprising traditions and beliefs that exist in stark contrast to modern day life.
In August 2014, our home in Thailand was blessed by nine Buddhist monks. After examining why homes are blessed, this article describes the ceremony conducted in the presence of family and friends.
There is scholarly debate on whether or not shamanism was present in many European cultures. Prehistoric shamanism lingered on in the European folk tradition, it is simply often overlooked.
The Kikuyu claim that their father was called Gikuyu and his wife was called Mumbi. The entire Kikuyu community refers to itself as the 'House of Mumbi.'
Recently, I was talking to a colleague at work and I mentioned that civilizations tend to last only 500 years. I had heard this somewhere but I couldn't remember where. Of course, to even begin this discussion raises the question of what exactly...
This post is about the most common eye color in the world, what percentage of the world's population has it and 6 things you should know about it.
This hub outlines the Japanese creation myth of how Izanami and Izanagi created the islands of Japan and many other kami and other elemental forces. It describes the fate of the unfortunate Leech Child and the death of Izanami and Izanagi's journey to the Land of the Dead.
What does "Arab" really mean? Is it a language, religion, or ethnicity? This hub dispels commonly held false beliefs with facts.
What comes to mind when you think of the word “relationship?” It the social sciences it implies a connection between people or groups. Many relationships are beneficial, while some bring hardships.
The art of traditional tattooing nearly died out among the Hawaiians. But it has been reborn. Join me on a journey through the history of tattooing and my quest to receive a tattoo from Keli'i Makua.
The Philippine legend of the guava fruit. Ever wonder why of all fruits, only guava seems to have a crown-like feature? This is the story of how the guava got its "crown" and flavor.
References to a deity that resembles Cronos can be found in Irish texts. Is it possible that this Greek being may have taken up residence in Ireland in the distant past?