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What is Nowruz? Zoroastrians – West Asian holidays

By |2019-03-22T10:38:02-07:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Persepolis may have been built in the 500s BC as a place to celebrate Nowruz. What is the holiday of Nowruz? Zoroastrianism became much more popular suddenly when the Persian kings became Zoroastrians around 550 BC. Soon after that, Zoroastrian worshippers began to celebrate the first day of spring as an important holiday. That was the first day [...]

Christmas Trees – American holidays

By |2019-04-03T11:10:14-07:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Northern Europe, Religion|

Christmas Tree in Germany (late 1700s, by Joseph Keller) Evergreens and the winter holidays Because Christmas is related to old celebrations of the winter solstice, evergreen trees have always been popular decorations in northern countries at Christmastime. They're green when everything else is dead and white. Why do the seasons change? More about Christmas American religion All our [...]

Medieval Islamic food

By |2017-07-23T17:01:31-07:00July 23rd, 2017|Food, Islam|

Orange tree Around the Mediterranean, people continued in the Islamic period to rely on the three main foods from antiquity. Those were wheat (mostly bread), olive oil, and wine. Though technically Islam did not let you drink alcohol, still a lot of people did drink wine. People who didn't drink wine started to drink more tea. The Sogdians brought tea to the Islamic [...]

Who was Ganesh? – Hinduism – India

By |2017-07-21T08:45:00-07:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Ganesh (Musee Guimet, Paris, from Tamil Nadu, ca. 1500 AD) Ganesh was one of the Hindu gods. He has an elephant head, so he's easy to spot in Indian art. Usually Ganesh also has a big belly and four arms. Sometimes Ganesh is dancing, or eating candy, or riding on a mouse. People in India first began to [...]

Diwali – the Festival of Lights – Hinduism – India

By |2019-05-13T13:22:56-07:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Flowers and Diwali lamps - the Diwali festival What does "Diwali" mean? Diwali is a Sanskrit word originally meaning "a row of lights". "Dipa" is the Sanskrit word for "light". Diwali is an Indian harvest festival. It celebrates the end of the hard work of harvesting food. People are happy that now there is plenty [...]