Culture & Tradition

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

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.

The Ancient Roots of Doomsday Prophecies

By Riley Winters - December, 16 2019

Doomsday prophecies are as old as recorded time.  For as long as humans have existed, there has been a fear of an apocalypse or ‘end of times’, when the gods wish vengeance upon their people, when humans pay for the sins of their forefathers, and when the demons of the world rise up and devour all that is good.  Prophecies of the end of times stem from the mythologies of civilizations past: the Norse story of Ragnarök, the tale of Noah and the Flood, and the Bib

Australia Day or Invasion Day: Is 26th of January a Day to Celebrate?

By Joanna Gillan - January, 15 2019

Australia Day is celebrated on 26th of January because it is the day that Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet, made up of eleven convict ships, landed at Sydney Cove in Australia and raised the British Flag, marking the beginning of British sovereignty over Australia. Phillip took possession of the land in the name of King George III, declaring it terra nullius (uninhabited by humans).

Ginger: 5,000 Years of Spicing Up Our Lives

By Ancient Origins - December, 15 2018

Fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, powdered, or ground, ginger is used in many forms. In Ayurvedic traditions, it is used for its taste (rasa), energy (virya), and post-digestive effects (vipāka). But most importantly, its potent medicinal properties have earned it the name vishwabheshaja, “the universal medicine”.

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