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Articles on Folklore

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A street painting in Bucharest, Romania, depicts Bram Stoker, right, the author of Dracula, sharing a drink with Vlad the Impaler, left, the medieval Romanian ruler who inspired the book. (AP Photos/Vadim Ghirda)

Vampire myths originated with a real blood disorder

Did vampires ever really exist? The myth is likely related to a medical condition with symptoms that may explain many elements of centuries-old vampire folklore.
Couples get romantic on Qixi, a lovers’ festival similar to Valentine’s Day. Visual China Group via Getty Images

How China does Valentine’s Day

China's Qixi Festival is a celebration of love based on the legend of a mortal who married a goddess, causing his furious mother-in-law to create a Milky Way to divide these two twinkling stars.
Knocking on wood may be a holdover from the pagan days of Europe, when tree spirits were believed to bring luck. saiful bahri 46/Shutterstock.com

Why we knock on wood for luck

The curious history of a ritual meant to ward off bad luck.
Folklore says we might be able to predict the coming of rain by observing the behaviour of ants. from www.shutterstock.com

We’ve got apps and radars – but can ants predict rain?

Ants have many tricks to deal with rain – like holding their breath, blocking nest entrances or drinking excess water and releasing it elsewhere by 'communal peeing.' But can they see rain coming?
A 1765 painting of Helios, the personification of the sun in Greek mythology. Wikimedia Commons

How ancient cultures explained eclipses

The sun was worshiped as a deity in many cultures – and witnessing it get extinguished could be a particularly terrifying event.

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