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Cultural History Articles

Our world’s cultural diversity is awe-inspiring. In this corner of the Internet, we’re embracing and exploring the history behind all the unique customs that we see today.

Have you ever considered the origins and meaning behind the celebration of Halloween? How about Labor Day, or Juneteenth? Where exactly did the charming legend of Santa Claus come from, and how did it come to be tied to a Christian holiday? Even for those who observe these holidays, their fascinating historical origins can be obscure, but we’re breaking it all down for you.

Beyond the celebration of holidays, there’s a whole world of cultural history to explore. Dig into culinary history books that share the meaning behind various regional dishes and eating etiquette. Discover the history behind endangered languages that only have a few speakers left. Or learn about the fraught history of the corset, and what the garment meant to the women who wore it.

Curious about cultures beyond your own? We’ve rounded up the best books that open your eyes to other people’s way of life. Including Christian and Jewish history, the Middle East, Native American perspectives, Black history, and more, the best way you can appreciate other cultures is to educate yourself about them.

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The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe

Anthony Summers’ book, Goddess, sheds light on this starlet’s short-lived time in the spotlight. 

Constance: The Untold Story of Oscar Wilde’s Wife

Though a popular children’s author and activist, Mrs. Wilde’s life eventually became one marked by scandal. 

Author Joe Haldeman on How the Vietnam War Gave Him Something to Write About

Haldeman’s military science fiction was heavily influenced by his time in combat.

On This Day: Sidney Poitier Was Born

The iconic African-American actor turns 91 today.

War Bonds: True Stories of Love and Marriage During World War II

As hate tore the world apart, love brought people together.

The Enduring Mysteries of Easter Island

What secrets lie hidden on this isolated island?

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist, Was Born on February 4, 1913

The woman who sparked the Montgomery bus boycotts was born in Tuskegee.

NASA, the "Challenger" Disaster, and How One Phone Call Could Have Saved the Crew

NASA veteran, Hugh Harris, examines the "Challenger" disaster that occurred on January 28, 1986, and what we’ve learned from it.

On This Day: The Beatles Release "Love Me Do"

The Fab Four's first single merely hinted at the musical revolution to come.

6 Incredible Death Rituals From Around the World

From Madagascar's turning of the bones to the sky burials of the Tibetan plateau, unearth these unique and captivating funeral rites.

The Vietnam War Docu-Series Premieres on PBS This Weekend

Master documentarian Ken Burns takes on a story that is still struggling to be told.