religious traditions
11 Festive Facts About Hanukkah
Don't worry about spelling it wrong.... READ ON
St. Nick's Real Hometown Is an Ancient City in Turkey Entombed in Mud
Welcome to Myra, where a Greek bishop became a power player in early Christianity.... READ ON
10 Things You Might Not Know About Yom Kippur
Even the Torah gets a special outfit.... READ ON
See Literary Figures Rendered in Byzantine Icon Style
What would Walt Whitman look like as a religious figure?... READ ON
Show & Tell
A "Speaking" Arm Reliquary of Saint Pantaleon
The arm reliquary was a kind of prop that stood in for the saint.... READ ON
The Ancient Japanese Log-Riding Tradition Is Not For the Faint of Heart
The Onbashira Festival is thrilling—and dangerous.... READ ON
Get Swept Away By These 8 Facts About Spring Cleaning
Surprisingly, the concept wasn't invented by corporations hoping to sell more vacuums.... READ ON
A Dozen Easter Delicacies From Around the Globe
This year, try some "osterlamm" or "mämmi" to break Lent.... READ ON
11 Gossipy Confessions I Learned from Mexican Folk Art
Need to thank Saint Francis because your wife stopped alphabetizing her pets? "Retablos" are the wild, wonderful art form you've been waiting for.... READ ON
How to Put On a 200 Pound Turban
If you think your morning beauty routine is time consuming, check out what Baba Avtar Singh has to do.... READ ON
What is a Black Mass?
Big Question
How Do Muslims Fast for Ramadan if There’s No Sunset?
Pretty Pictures
11 Scenes from "Mummies of the World" in Portland
The Saint Who Played Sax
Music lovers are known to put their favorite artists on pedestals and bestow them with lofty titles. Springsteen is the Boss. Elvis is the King. Aretha is the Queen. Every genre, from punk to funk to bluegrass seems to have a Godfather. Bluesbreakers fans went so far as to proclaim that Clapton was God. John Coltrane, though, is probably the only musician to officially become a saint.... READ ON
Big Question
Can You Fire the Pope?
Reader Gabrielle wrote in to ask: “Can a pope be ousted? And has it happened before?”... READ ON
Big Question
How Do They Make the "Pope Smoke"?
When the Catholic cardinals meet to pick a new pope in the “papal conclave,” they’re sequestered in the Sistine Chapel so that their deliberations aren’t influenced by the outside world and that their ballots, burned after each round of voting, remain secret. Updates from within the conclave, then, come not from press conferences or the pontifical Twitter account, but the chapel’s chimney.... READ ON

Romance novelist Barbara Cartland was Princess Diana's step-grandmother.

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