The Chios Rocket War is the most explosive Easter in the world!

We are in Greece, where, during the celebration of the Mass the night before Easter Sunday, it is customary to launch fireworks. However, nothing is as spectacular as the event that takes place in Vrontados, on the island of Chios. Rouketopolemos, literally rocket war, is the traditional manifestation that takes place every year on the occasion of Orthodox Easter, and which sees two rival parishes engage in a most unusual and dangerous tradition that has been taking place quite possibly since the Ottoman era. The churches, which sit on opposite…

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Travelers Monument: one of the most curious parts of the journey on the Mojave Road, California~

The Mojave Road, is a historic route across what is now the Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert in the United States. This rough road stretched 147 miles (237 km) and today has become a famous trek for off-road enthusiasts. The Old Mojave Road was first used by Native Americans, then Spaniards, and later early American settlers to make their way west through the dangerous Mojave Desert. The traveler’s Monument is one of the most curious parts of the journey on the Mojave Road. This large pile of rocks…

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10# The dark side of Christmas: In Iceland, Gryla is the most renowned figures associated with Christmas.

If in Iceland there is a well-known museum of witchcraft, you probably do not know yet these bizarre characters related to the Icelandic Christmas tradition. A few days ago, I introduced you to Krampus, Santa’s horned helpers, but they are not the only characters who create a Christmas “a few” different to the one we are all used to. The Icelandic Christmas period is an interesting mix of religious practice and traditional folklore, and as many countries do, people celebrates mostly with good food and gifts to loved ones. But…

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8# Christmas around the world: Slovenian traditions.

After the legend of Sunken Bell in Bled, today, I’d like to share with you some of the most common Slovenian traditions and customs, celebrated around the Christmas time. All we know that Christmas is both cultural than religious holiday celebrated all around the world. In reality this tradition come from the pre-Christian times, when the old pagan people celebrated the Winter solstice, and since solstice the day was becoming longer: they believed that it was a clear sign of “good” winning over the “evil”. Only later Christmas became a…

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6# St.Nicholas: the man behind Santa Claus.

Today, on 6 December, the Church celebrates the feast day of one of the most popular saints throughout the world, St. Nicholas. In the United States, St. Nicholas is typically associated with Santa Claus in songs, Christmas carols and traditions, however, St. Nicholas and Santa Claus are far from being synonymous. St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century in a place called Myra in Asia Minor (now Turkey), therefore there is little that we can know with certainty about this legendary saint. He was a very…

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5# Milanese Panettone: history, legends and traditions.

If at Christmas, Americans enjoy pumpkin pie, the English have plum or Christmas pudding, all the Italians celebrate with panettone. Just the mention of this sweet Milanese speciality conjures up the aromas of citrus, vanilla, candied fruit and typical italian Christmas. In Italy, giving panettone is not a simple act of kindness but a gesture rich in history and tradition. Historically, it seems that the Panettone dates back as far as the Middle Ages when to celebrate Christmas, people would replace their daily bread with a richer recipe, a practice…

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3# Christmas Around the World: Arizona’s Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

If it is normal for us to celebrate Christmas traditions, sometimes can be a challenge, for example, in places that rarely see a day of cold all year. But in the Arizona city of Chandler, locals have simply adapted their traditions to win against the climate, forming a pile of their native tumbleweeds into the shape of a festive fir tree each year! In 1957 a Chandler resident named Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped…

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Bolivia’s Witch Market – Mercado de las Brujas

If we are on Calle Jiminez and Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz in, it’s impossible not visit the Witches’ Market of La Paz, Bolivia, which is located right in a lively tourist area. The cobbled street of Calle Linares hosts a crowded line of unusual stores collectively known as El Mercado de las Brujas, The Witches’ Market, located just in downtown La Paz, and it sums up Bolivia’s strangeness quite well. Bolivia is where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and revolutionary Che Guevara all met their fate, or…

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The cult of “Santa Muerte”: pre-Columbian deity venerated even today

“El que apura su vida, apura su muerte” “Who accelerates his life, accelerates his death“. This Mexican proverb describes the death, common and certain destiny of every living being. Yet, despite death is an obvious epilogue of our existence, it is not so obvious how to deal it during our earthly stay! There are people who consider it as a deity who address to, able to change our fate. Patron of the poor, prostitutes, prisoners, the Santa Muerte is the deity whom the “poor” of society ask help. The cult…

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