So, Japan’s 1,000-year-old cheese that’s back in fashion due to COVID-19 pandemic

A year ago, on February 27, 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested that all schools in Japan shut down until early April to stop the spread of COVID-19. And of course, by the following week, most schools across the country shuttered their doors. However, one of the biggest buyers of Japanese agricultural products is the school lunch program, which feeds elementary and middle school students across the whole country. To clarify, around 10% of all domestic food production goes to school lunch, which usually emphasizes local or domestic products and,…

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The annual Pidakala battle of Kairuppala

Every April, the people of Kairuppala, a village in Andhra Pradesh state, Southern India, engage in an epic cow dung cake (or Pidakala) battle that often leaves dozens injured. The reason? They believe the tradition brings them good health and prosperit, and, in addition, locals believe the battle brings rains to the village. According to the legend, Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva, and the Goddess Bhadrakhali fell in love and decided to marry. In order to tease his beloved, Veerabhadra Swamy declared that he…

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Floralia: the festival in ancient Rome in honor of the goddess Flora

The Floralia was a festival in ancient Rome in honor of the goddess Flora, held April 27 during the Republican era, or April 28 in the Julian calendar. The festival included Ludi Florae, the “Games of Flora” which lasted for six days under the empire. The festival had a licentious, pleasure-seeking atmosphere and, in contrast to many festivals which had a patrician character, the games of Flora were plebeian in nature. The holiday for Flora (as officially determined by Julius Caesar when he fixed the Roman calendar) ran from April…

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Pink Moon, Planter’s Moon, Seed Moon..or April’s Full Wind Moon

Once someone said…a full Moon in April brings frost. If the full Moon rises pale, expect rain. Well. It’s April, and about halfway through the month, the thunderstorms of March are beginning to subside, and the wind picks up. Seeds are being blown about on the breezes, spreading life all around from one place to another and, not by chance, this lunar cycle is often known as the Seed Moon. Trees have buds, spring daffodils and tulips abound, and the birds are nesting once more. Just like March, this is…

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Malaga’s English Cemetery and its last guardian

The English Cemetery (also know as the St. George’s Cemetery) is the oldest Protestant cemetery in Spain. It was established 1831 for the British merchants who lived in the city of Málaga and, before that, they were buried on the sea shore at night, since they were mainly Protestants and could not be buried in the Catholic consecrated ground.The reason?In 1787, King Carlos III created a statute that forbade the interment of any non-Roman Catholic during daylight hours and in any of the existing cemeteries in Spain. During those years,…

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The Roman festival of Robigalia

Robigalia were the feasts dedicated to the god Rubigus so that the wheat did not ripen too early, exposing it to the attack of the fungus that caused the so-called “robigine”, that is the “rust of the wheat”, a devastating disease for crops. During the Robigalia, which were held from 25 to 28 April, the Romans prayed to the god and made various offerings to him so that she would protect the wheat from disease and make the crops abundant. Its main ritual was a dog sacrifice to protect grain…

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The airplane-shaped handbag that costs almost than an actual airplane

Designed by Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh as part of this year’s men’s collection, this airplane-shaped handbag recently went viral for allegedly costing more than a used, single-engine airplane. Virgil Abloh’s collections have always divided critics and fashion fans, and the main critique is that he overloads his creations with a bunch of ideas and concepts. And, in fact, his latest one is no different. Unveiled in January, Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2021 men’s collection featured a variety of eccentric ideas, including clothes inspired by famous architecture and landmarks.…

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The Line: Saudi Arabia’s controversial 170-Km-Long linear city of the future

In early 2021 Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the concept of a futuristic urban development called The Line which, in short, consists of a linear, 170-km-long city without roads of cars and built around nature. During the presentation of his project, back in January, he described the future smart city as a direct response to growing challenges like human congestion, pollution, traffic and outdated infrastructure. Linking the coast of the Red Sea with the mountains and upper valleys of the north-west of Saudi Arabia, The Line will…

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Tateishi Burger Vending Machine: a charming, homemade vending machine that dispenses burgers at this hole-in-the-wall bakery

There are vending machines for books, jeans, salmon, pecan pies, a vending machine to support mourners during funerals, so it’s only natural that vending machine burgers would pop up somewhere. And that somewhere is Japan. Since it first opened in 2000, Tateishi Burger has been a favorite of those who enjoy oddities, which are known in Japan as “B-spots.” Located in a Tokyo’s quiet neighborhood, its raggedy façade may not lure in a lot of passersby, but it never ceases to attract “B-spot enthusiasts” from around the country. It’s about…

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The Inca legend of Lake Titicaca and other mysteries about its origin

We are in Peru. The history of the creation of some local cities is sometimes based on the Inca mythological legends. One of the best known is the myth of the origin of Lake Titicaca, whose main characters are the inhabitants of Puno, a city in southeastern Peru, not by chance located on the shore of lake. Lake Titicaca is the biggest freshwater lake in the world. It is located in the Andes, on the border between Bolivia and Peru, with a surface elevation of 3,812 metres, and It’s always…

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Alps: nightmare creatures of German folklore

Alps are creatures that appear in nightmares in the middle of the night. This mythical creature would appear in the dreams of men and women but prefers to disturb women more. It is defined by the Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch as a “nature-god or nature-demon, equated with the Fauns of Classical mythology…regarded as eerie, ferocious beings…As the mare he messes around with women”. They could manipulate dreams to their liking and would create horrible nightmares, and this is probably why “Alptraum” is the word for nightmare in German which if translated literally…

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East Cape Lighthouse: the iconic lighthouse in easternmost point of New Zealand

If you’re visiting New Zealand, the East Cape Lighthouse should be included in your plans. It is a lighthouse perched on Otiki Hill above East Cape, the iconic easternmost point on the North Island of New Zealand, and what feels like the end of the earth. Once there, you’ll only see miles and miles of ocean. Surrounded by pristine coastline and out of this world views, It is owned and operated by Maritime New Zealand. The lighthouse was originally constructed on nearby East Island. However the island was difficult to…

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Roman festival of Cerealia

The Cerealia was one of the most important festivals in Rome. It was held for seven days from mid- to late April, but the dates are uncertain, possibly the 12th-18th, with the actual festival day on the 19th. This was the main festival for Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain and the harvest, associated with bread and farming, as well as being the goddess of fertility, motherhood and women. Fields and crops were sacred to her. Ceres was also one of the patron deities of the common people (the…

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Maria Higgins, the woman who was buried twice

Glasnevin Cemetery, in Irish Reilig Ghlas Naíon, is a large cemetery in Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland which opened in 1832. It has its famous occupants, including Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins, author Christy Brown and Dubliners star Luke Kelly. But it is also the final resting place for many ordinary citizens who led interesting lives and deaths. This is the case of Maria Higgins, a completely ordinary person with a completely normal life. Except for the fact that she managed to die twice. According to her husband, Charles Higgins, Maria…

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Bysen: the gnome-like creature in Swedish folklore

“Bysen” is the creature who haunts the woods of Gotland, in Sweden’s largest island. Most of the time he takes form as a gnome-like creature, but occasionally he can be seen as a tree stump as well as other creatures who live in the woods. When he is in his gnome-like form, sometimes wears a red woven hat/hood, he is also wearing gray clothes, and he tends to carry an axe with him. Bysen is locally known as a “skogsväsen”, literally “forest creature”, and he is the ward of the…

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World’s loneliest monk lives in his own temple in the middle of Tibetan lake 100 miles from nearest town

Located on top of a small mound, on a sliver of land stretching into the serene Yamdrok Lake is Rituo Temple, the home of just one solitary monk who spends his days chanting sutras and meditating. Rituo literally means “the stone on the mountain” in Tibetan, and it is often referred to as Tibet’s loneliest temple. Its history goes back more than 700 years, but it’s still today considered one of the country’s hidden gems, and few tourists venture out to visit it. That’s because it’s located in the middle…

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Would you let yourself be tattooed by this 13-year-old girl?

Despite being just 13-years-old, Lilith Siow is already one of the most talked-about tattoo artists in Singapore. She first made international news headlines in 2019, when she attended the Culture Cartel Exhibition, in Singapore, where she showed off her steady hands and ability to work under pressure. The now 13-year-old is the daughter of Joseph Tan of Visual Orgasm Tattoo, a popular tattoo artist in Singapore with over 20 years of experience under his belt. Joseph asked her if she was interested in tattoos and picking up the skills to…

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Fordicidia: Springtime Festival To Tellus in ancient Rome

On the Roman religious calendar, the month of April (Aprilis) was in general dedicated to deities who were female or ambiguous in gender, opening with the Feast of Venus on the Kalends. With celebration of Fordicidia on this day, April 15, all those purifying and propitiatory festivities that characterized the month were launched: the Parilia, a feast of shepherds, on April 21, the Robigalia on April 25, to protect crops from blight, and the Vinalia, one of the two wine festivals on the calendar, at the end of the month.…

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Telling the Bees: the curious folklore of Rural England and not only

Many do not know that there was a time when almost every rural British family who kept bees followed a strange tradition: whenever there was a death in the family, someone had to go out to the hives and tell the bees of the terrible loss that had befallen the family. Failing to do so often resulted in further losses such as the bees leaving the hive, or not producing enough honey or even dying. The custom is best known in England, but has also been recorded in Ireland, Wales,…

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Gibraltar Point Lighthouse: the historic lighthouse on Toronto Island

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Begun in 1808 and first lit in 1809, it is the oldest existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes, the second oldest in Canada and one of Toronto’s oldest buildings. When completed in August 1809, the lighthouse was located 7.6 m from the shore. Since then, sand has built up over time so that it now stands about 100 metres inland. When opened, it was accompanied by a lighthouse keeper’s cottage, a two-stories squared-log house clad in…

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Breiðamerkursandur: Iceland’s stunning Diamond Beach

A black sand beach littered with huge chunks of glistening ice is today one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. Locally known as Breiðamerkursandur, “Diamond Beach” takes its name from the chunks of pristine ice scattered across the black volcanic sand and glistening like giant, uncut diamonds. It is located next to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the South Coast of Iceland, about six hours away from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. Although it’s not part of the popular Golden Circle Tour, Diamond Beach has become one of the country’s top…

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Cascatelli: the ideally shaped pasta you probably didn’t even know existed

Inspired by the firm belief that spaghetti is far from the ideal shape for pasta, a man set out to create a perfectly shaped pasta. The result of his hard work is now known as “cascatelli”. Their story began in 2018, when Dan Pashman, the host of the James Beard and Webby Award-winning “Sporkful” podcast, made some harsh remarks about spaghetti, on the stage of the Caveat Theater, in front of a live audience. His comments got a lot of attention and inspired him to dedicate a lot of his…

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California’s “Dark Watchers” that have been spooking hikers for centuries

For at lest 300 years, hikers in California’s Santa Lucia Mountains have been reporting sightings of shadowy, mysterious silhouettes popularly known as “dark watchers”. If you want to see one of them, you should wait until the late afternoon. As the sun begins its descent behind the waves, look to the sharp ridges of the Santa Lucia Range, the mountains that rise up from the shores of Monterey and down the Central California coast. If you are lucky, you might see figures silhouetted against them. Some say the watchers are…

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Jeppson’s Malört: the world’s worst tasting liquor?

If you’re not into liquors and probably all taste bad for you, there’s a particular liquor that, apparently, everyone agrees tastes horrible. It’s called malört and, over the years, it has been compared to battery acid, pesticide and gasoline. Carl Jeppson Co., a Chicago company, has built a minor social media empire around malort’s “brutal” flavor. Although Jeppson’s Malört is most often associated with the American city of Chicago, its roots are in Sweden, where where “malört” is the word for “wormwood”, a weedy plant that’s also the key ingredient…

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Maxus V90 Life Home Villa Edition: the van Camper that comes with a second storey and an elevator

If you’re in the market for the most sumptuous motorhome money can buy, and a luxury truck-shaped camper is not for you, how about a villa on wheels with a second storey and even a built-in elevator? It is the Maxus V90 Life Home Villa Edition, that may look like your everyday modern van camper on the road, but when parked it can transform into a futuristic two-storey villa at the press of a button. That’s right, with a single finger press you can become the envy of your friends…

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The dark story of the Little Mermaid you wouldn’t imagine

“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” 🧜‍♀️ The tale of The Little Mermaid is one of the favourite for many people worldwide, but well do you know the original story and its darker ending? ‘The Little Mermaid’ was originally published on this day, April 7 1837, in Hans Christian Andersen’s first collection of “Fairy Tales Told for Children”. Andersen was a Danish author, born in Odense, on the 2nd of April 1805. He had a difficult start in life, being born to poor…

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Knockers: Mine Spirits of Cornish Folklore

Many miners in the 19th century both in the United Kingdom and America but not only, believed in the existence of more or less helpful mine spirits. The supernatural creatures most commonly encountered underground are the Mine Goblins or Kobolds, in Germanic folklore, characters that sometimes stole miner’s unattended tools and food. This folklore began in Cornwall, England, where miners believed in spirits that lived and worked in mines. The most common of the subterranean British breeds are the Knockers of South-west England and the Coblynau of Wales. They were…

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Cape Bojeador Lighthouse – the Philippines

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, in the Philippines, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines. It was first lit on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions and serves ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town.…

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Why we observe Easter Monday?

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is a public holiday in some countries. But why we observe Easter Monday? The Bible itself does not say anything about what happened on Easter Monday, after Jesus’ resurrection, and it also doesn’t specifically instruct Christians to celebrate the Monday following Easter Sunday. But across the world, different cultures celebrate the day for different reasons. For some it’s a more solemn remembrance of Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection, which is marked with an outdoor procession. For others there’s a more playful…

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Eggs Hunt: how one of the most popular Easter tradition was born

Every Easter, children in several part of our planet rush around their homes and gardens searching for chocolate eggs and, for many families, Easter just isn’t Easter without the traditional egg hunt. But why do we associate treasure hunts with Easter? And, above all, why do we hide eggs at Easter? We already know that, in many pre-Christian societies, eggs held associations with spring and new life. Early Christians adapted these beliefs, making the egg a symbol of the resurrection and the empty shell a metaphor for Jesus’ tomb. In…

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