Cultures & traditions

Wacky festivals, bizarre traditions and other interesting cultural curiosities

Debut: The Philippines' fancy coming-of-age celebration for young women

Debut: The Philippines’ fancy coming-of-age celebration for young women

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I know you didn’t get me a card but it’s OK – you weren’t to know. I’ll be turning 30, if you’re wondering, and I’m not at all happy about it. 30 is the oldest I’ll have ever been. But at least I’m not a girl from the Philippines who’s turning 18 tomorrow – I’m not sure I could handle the fuss.

Diogenes: Ancient Greece’s strangest philosopher

When you think of Greece, a few things probably come to mind – sunshine, beaches, feta. But that’s not all Greece is known for. They’ve also given us quite a few philosophers over the years.

The spinning stilt dancers of Anguiano

The spinning stilt dancers of Anguiano

Have you ever tried walking on stilts? The closest I’ve come is walking on those little bucket things you get as kids, with the string attached. That was hard enough for me.

Baba Marta Day: Bulgaria's first day of spring

Baba Marta Day: Bulgaria’s first day of spring

Spring has officially arrived. Are you doing anything to celebrate it? I think I might put an extra blanket on my bed tonight. In Bulgaria, though, they have a more interesting way of celebrating – Baba Marta Day.

The history of gap years

Gap years are a bit of a cliché these days. When I hear those two words, it conjures up images of uni students posing in various touristy locations, thinking they’re exploring.

Hand gestures from around the world

Hand gestures from around the world

It turns out that hand gestures aren’t quite as universal as you may initially think. Let’s take a look at just how these gestures can have different meanings around the globe.

Tetraphobia: East Asia's fear of the number four

Tetraphobia: East Asia’s fear of the number four

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers – love seeing numbers in my bank account (as long as there’s no minus in front of them) but hate numbers in almost all other scenarios. Certainly never ask me to add them together or multiply them or divide them or some trickery like that.