Culture & Tradition

Myth, religion, traditions, practices, festivals, beliefs, literature, art

​​​​​​​Humans Bred Dangerous Cassowaries for Lunch 18,000 Years Ago

By Ancient Origins - August, 09 2022

Roughly 18,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers in New Guinea loved nothing more than a good fried egg and a lump of roasted bird meat. To enjoy these treats more easily, they turned to bird breeding. What is surprising is that they bred one of the deadliest birds on the planet: the deadly cassowary.

The Mysterious Aboriginal Rock Art of the Wandjina Sky Beings

By Joanna Gillan - April, 20 2022

One of the most intriguing and perplexing legends of the Australian Aboriginal people is that of the Wandjinas, the supreme spirit beings and creators of the land and people. The land of the Wandjina is a vast area of about 77,220 square miles in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia. This region has continuously been important for indigenous culture since at least 60,000 years ago, and probably much longer.

The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day

By M R Reese - February, 14 2022

On February 14, couples from around the world recognize Valentine’s Day. For most, Valentine’s Day is a day of love, a day to shower a beloved with gifts and tokens of appreciation, to enjoy a romantic meal, and perhaps to share moments of intimacy. Cynics consider it to be a Hallmark greeting-card holiday, created by the retail business in order to get people to spend money on flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, jewelry, travel, meals, and other luxuries.

Soul Cakes – Snacks that Honor the Dead and Treat the Living

By Alicia McDermott - August, 26 2020

A soul cake is a small, round, lightly-sweetened treat which has been made by Christians since the eighth century to commemorate the dead on All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, or All Souls’ Day. However, scholars suggest that the idea emerged from earlier pre-Christian practices.

Medieval Monsters Taught Morals in a Book of Beasts

By lizleafloormag - May, 19 2020

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood – in bestiaries, that is.

Stiff Penalties in Historic Impotence Trials

By Riley Winters - May, 15 2020

The impotence trials of pre-revolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in this wake that the impotence trials arose.

Kombucha – The Legendary Drink of Immortality

By Alicia McDermott - March, 26 2020

Kombucha is a type of fermented tea which originated hundreds of years ago but has only recently become a global phenomenon. It is difficult to confirm exactly where kombucha first became popular, and there is much debate surrounding the question. Most people cite China as the probable homeland, possibly around 200 AD, although it’s believed to have gained its name from a Japanese doctor who lived around 400 AD.

A Recipe Made from the Stomach Contents of a 6,000-Year-Old Mummy

By Alicia McDermott - February, 11 2020

Differing from typical Egyptian mummies from around 4000 BC – which would have had their organs stored separately in canopic jars— the mummified remains of a man were discovered in a prehistoric tomb and found with his digestive system intact. Luckily for the researchers, they could even see what his last meal was:  a simple soup of barley, green onions, and tilapia.

Vestiges of the Vikings: Magic Buried in a Viking Woman's Grave

By Riley Winters - February, 11 2020

Murky, elusive and undefined, the religion of the pre-Christian Vikings has long been subject to debate. Contemporary texts of their spiritual worship do not survive, and the later records that do survive stem from Christian authors. Thus, they are tainted with a Christian worldview and anti-pagan opinions. The magic of the Vikings, however, is somewhat a secondary field of interest.

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