Muslim pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, February 2020.
Photo by Abdel Ghani Bashir/AFP via Getty Images
Saudi Arabia is barring international visitors for the hajj. A scholar explains a long history of disease, politics and war that have previously prevented people from making the journey to Mecca.
Rituals, such as keeping vigil, can help people when a loved one is near the end of their life.
Malagasy people take part in famadihana, the ritual of the dead, to honour their ancestors.
Tee La Rosa/Flickr
Africans have steadfastly responded to oppression through culture.
A makeshift memorial to Eurydice Dixon at Princes Park on June 16.
Reading the poem Eurydice to her students unleashed surprising emotions for Stephanie Trigg. But literature works in mysterious, unpredictable ways, highlighting the impossibility of trigger warnings.
Coming together for a solstice feast in ancient Peru.
How did civilization emerge from small groups of hunter-gatherers? Some archaeologists focus on cooperation as the vital ingredient – and find evidence for it in the form of feast-related artifacts.
There are many myths associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But Patrick's own writings and early biographies reveal the person behind the legend.
Working together on a once-a-year project feels festive and special.
Holiday traditions – whether culinary, religious, decorative or musical – help families bond and individuals feel stable and content.
Libby’s continues to fiercely compete with pumpkin pie peddlers Borden’s, Snowdrift and Mrs. Smith’s for a place on the Thanksgiving table.
At one point, turkey was jockeying with duck and chicken for king of the Thanksgiving table.
Day of the Dead Oaxaca, Mexico.
Copyright Colleen Nordstrom
Australia has few public rituals around death, leaving people to figure out how to process grief alone. But Mexico's Day of the Dead, with its focus on art and community, could help us cope better.
In the movie ‘Goat,’ a fraternity puts pledges through gruesome and dangerous rituals.
With the fall term underway and an ongoing case over the death of a Penn State pledge in February, colleges are trying once again to figure out why hazing happens and what should be done to stop it.
The joker is he.
His particular brand of foolery is proving highly effective – and destructive.
Making death masks of notorious criminals was common in the 19th century, such as this cast of murderer William Burke at the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomy Museum.
Saints' relics, locks of hair, the laying of flowers: keeping the dead close took many forms in the past. We could learn from them today.
Theresa May addresses the nation, March 22 2017.
Richard Pohle/The Times/PA Wire/PA Images
For all their defiant talk of 'business as usual', savvy leaders know that any good response to a crisis is also an emotional performance.
Did the Chicago Cubs break the curse of the Billy Goat to win the 2016 World Series in baseball?
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Many sports enthusiasts are notoriously superstitious. Why is that so?
Traditional song and dance at a Torajan funeral.
Death rituals help us to cope with loss and perhaps even feelings of guilt associated with disposing of a corpse.
Hungry for more than just the turkey.
Turkey image via www.shutterstock.com.
Our panel discusses the benefits of gathering for an annual holiday meal. Traditions and rituals give us a sense of identity and closeness with those we love – and come with mental and physical health benefits too.
The 7/7 memorial in London.
It can't compete with the US, but the UK became part of mega-memorial culture after the London bombings.
Why the gap?
Albinism is a genetic condition that can cause problems with eyesight such as photophobia (sensitivity to light), involuntary eye movements, and skin sensitivity to the sun. But it is also life-threatening…
Symbolic behaviour like burial brings us and Neanderthals of the past closer.
Ever since the discovery of the well preserved, nearly complete, 50,000-year-old Neanderthal skeleton in a pit dug in a cave in La Chapelle-aux-Saints, southwest France, it has been long debated as to…
Back, sperm, back: a human egg on the tip of a pin.
Elephants in the room, part two For all our schemes and mantras about making our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands. What are the deep…