7 votes
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Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?

The mistletoe kissing Christmas tradition as we know it seems to have its origin in the 18th century England. Kissing under sprigs of mistletoe is a well-known holiday tradition, but this little ...
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6 votes

What is the origin of the story that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole?

Complicated Well, it definitely doesn't claim to be folklore at all, it was just in a book by Thomas Nast. (Linked full size image is over 7 MiB; Wikimedia Commons page; image is in the public domain)...
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4 votes
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Why do Ethiopians play gena on Christmas?

What are the origins of the Ethiopian Christmas day game of Gena? It is Ethiopian tradition that the country was converted to Christianity during the time of the Apostles. We see in Acts 8: 26-40 ...
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4 votes
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Why do we "trick or treat" on Halloween?

As I briefly mentioned in my answer on your other question, this too comes from the traditions of old. Performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice is called mumming, from which ...
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4 votes
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Why do we dress up to celebrate Halloween?

On the Wikipedia page for Halloween Costumes it says: An early reference to wearing costumes at Halloween comes from Scotland in 1585. Looking at the external links on the page I found something ...
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3 votes

Why do we "trick or treat" on Halloween?

Here is how the "trick or treat" of Halloween first caught on: The phrase trick-or-treat was first used in America in 1927, with the traditions brought over to America by immigrants. Guising gave ...
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3 votes
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When and why did necromancy became a bad thing?

When and why did necromancy became a bad thing? Probably since it was first practiced. However, there are no sources that ancient that have survived to our day. Some people would have been against it ...
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3 votes
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Why are poinsettias associated with Christmas?

Poinsettias didn't arrive in the United States until 1825. The National Poinsettia Day is celebrated on Dec. 12 in the US, honoring both the plant and the man who brought it to America [source: ...
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2 votes

Ηοw is the pomegranate connected with New Year's celebrations?

ABC News explains it here: In Greece, the pomegranate has held strong symbolic meaning since ancient times. A common tradition on New Year's Eve is to throw pomegranates on the ground, and break ...
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2 votes

When and why did necromancy became a bad thing?

Bans on necromancy are hardly a new thing. The Bible explicitly forbade it 3500 years ago: There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or ...
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2 votes

When and why did necromancy became a bad thing?

Actually, trafficking with chthonic spirits could be prosecuted as impiety under Greek law by classical times. The Witchcraft and Magic in Europe's second volume, on ancient Greece and Rome, has some ...
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2 votes

What is the significance of soy beans in the Japanese custom of Setsubun?

As you know, the highlight of the ritual is throwing beans at the oni. This specific activity is known as mame (魔滅), meaning "to destroy the demon" (魔を滅する, ma wo mes suru). Alternatively, mame can ...
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1 vote

Has divine prowess always been considered a factor in determining the outcome of wars?

Is it a general rule? I note that when the Romans were losing badly to Carthage, their reaction was not to think the Carthagian gods were stronger, but to investigate what they had done to offend ...
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1 vote
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What is the origin of a common Christmas tree quotation concerning an old Babylonish fable about an evergreen tree?

This question has now been answered: quote identification — Literature Stack Exchange TL;DR: … those who attribute the quotation to Walsh are misattributing and/or misquoting. The direct quotation ...
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1 vote

Way to measure the probability a story evolving in a given culture

In myths, humans follow a limited number of patterns, regardless of their cultural background. This field of study is called Comparative Mythology. This has uncovered a number of parallels, or ...
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1 vote
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Why do we wear green on St. Patrick's Day and get pinched if we don't?

I can remember several years ago, a friend of mine got pinched on St. Patrick's Day in Wagner, Oklahoma of all places. So why do we wear green on St. Patrick's Day and get pinched if we do not? To ...
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1 vote

Are There Pagan Roots of Christmas Traditions?

Well, from what I remember, it was because of the winter solstice, and getting new followers. That's what I remember.... The beginning of the article I'm about to talk about, mentions saturnalia, a ...
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