Where did our calendar system come from? The answer involves the sun, moon, and stars—with a dose of Roman Catholicism, colonialism, and globalization.
Tag Archives: Christianity
Why do we hang oversized socks on our mantels on Christmas Eve? The answer involves marriage dowries, competition for with Christmas trees, and jolly old Saint Nicholas.
Who Was St. Patrick?
Who was St. Patrick? The answer involves pirates, snakes, and revelatory dreams.
Who Was Saint Valentine?
We celebrate Valentine’s Day in honor of Saint Valentine every year on February 14th—but who is the legend behind the holiday? The answer is uncertain, really, but it involves miraculous healing, secret marriage ceremonies, and beekeeping.
The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer: Christmas Carols Part 1
Where did all of our favorite Christmas songs come from? Each one has a unique story, some of which involve a broken organ, a statue of Johannes Gutenberg, and a chain email hoax.
Where Does Halloween Come From?
Where does Halloween come from? The answer involves community bonfires, ritualized hospitality, and visits from the Otherworld.
The Archetypal Apple
Why are apples seen as the “default” fruit in Western culture? The answer involves Greek myths, Latin spelling mistakes, and English semantic narrowing.
Birthday Candles: Satanic Ritual, Moon Worship, or the Gift of Industrial Revolution?
Why do we blow out candles on birthday cakes? The answer involves Egyptian theocracy, the moon goddess, and (as for many holidays) the mixing of Christian and pagan tradition.
O Christmas Tree
Why do we cut down evergreen trees and decorate them with glittering ornaments and lights during the Christmas season? The answer involves the sun god, the Garden of Eden, and Charlie Brown.