Smashing plates, burning effigies, and preparing traditional meals — ringing in the New Year looks very different from country to country and culture to culture!
Every culture around the world has their own, unique traditions and ways of ringing in the New Year, each representing the hope of a better, more prosperous year to come!
Did you know that the first Christmas card was sent in the UK in 1843? That the most important holiday decoration in Peru is a nativity scene? Or, that candy canes were originally all white?
Check out this fun infographic showing you how different cultures around the world celebrate the holiday season with their family and friends!
Telling spooky and scary stories has long been a part of human culture. We’ve been telling all kinds of stories since our most distant ancestors drew rudimentary pictures on cave walls, but the most intriguing tales are the ones that raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a different country? A country across the globe with vastly different cultures, living standards, and social norms?
There can be major differences in how people live within your own country, much less across the world, but this cool new generator makes imagining what life would be like in another country a little easier. Pick any two countries and compare statistics like the amount of free time people have on average, median income, and the number of active internet users.
Located in the middle of Beijing in China, the Yonghe Temple aka Harmony and Peace Palace Lamasery aka Yonghe Lamasery aka Lama Temple is a complex made up of a maze of elaborate arches, stunning tapestries and massive temples, opening to expansive courtyards filled with people on their knees, eyes closed, filling the air with smoke from burning incense.
The plates have been cleared, dessert is finished and the last sips of coffee have disappeared. Your waiter or waitress has left your bill, face down on the table, for you to deal with whenever you are ready —but you aren’t ready. You are not in your own country and you forgot to do your research which has left you with an etiquette challenge.
To tip, or not to tip?
Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are some basic tipping guidelines for countries around the world.
Italians consume over 14 billion espresso drinks each year (!) making the country’s coffee intake the highest in the world.
That’s A LOT of caffeine.
Baristas in the boot-shaped peninsula take great pride in their ability to extract perfectly flavored espresso every time, so much so that it takes 2-3 years of training before they are even allowed to work in a cafe.
I and two of my closest friends had taken the long flight from Canada to the UK (specifically York) to be the bridesmaids for our childhood pal. A fellow Canadian, she was marrying the love of her life — a ginger-haired lovable guy from Scotland.
The days leading up to the wedding were a whirlwind of last minute shopping, events, decorating and general wedding preparations, giving very little time to get to know the Scottish/English side of the family that would be attending the wedding.
Henna has been used for more than 5,000 years to dye skin, hair, fingernails, and even fabrics in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. The act of giving intricate henna tattoos is called Mehndi and is traditionally only done on women — never men.
Why not men?
The first time that I ever saw a macaron was 14 years ago in Paris and I wasn't really sure what I was looking at.
Why? Well, these tasty treats (which hadn't made it into the cafes and bakeries at home yet) are very brightly colored, often neon green, pink, yellow, and even blue. Colors that looked to me like they were going to make your teeth melt, or were full of artificial ingredients that were sure to give me a tummy ache
An article published in The Telegraph a few years ago told the tale of a few tourists in Rome who kicked up a stink when they were charged 42 Euros for two ice creams and a bottle of water in a cafe. Thinking that they were being scammed, they even went so far as to get the police involved.
They called the police.
I knew that I HAD to read this book by Louann Brisendine, M.D. (a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California) when I saw an interview with Whitney Cummings on Live With Kelly & Ryan (confession: I watch that sometimes), where she talked about how this book blew her mind and inspired her to co-write and direct a movie by the same name.
As soon as a book becomes banned, people all over the world want to get their hands on a copy to find out what the latest "controversial" novel has to say.
More often than not, they are disappointed as the content of the book seems a lot less shocking than something that you would see on TV on an average night. A few curse words are sometimes all it takes to ban a certain book from the average school.
Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Snowboarding, and Ski Jumping — oh my! I don't know about you, but I am an Olymp-addict — and I can never get enough of the Winter Olympic Games!
Here are some fun, crazy, and intriguing facts about the Winter Olympics.
Colorful mounds of sweet iced goodness sit in glass-topped coolers, enticing those walking by to stop and purchase a scoop (or two) of melt-in-your-mouth flavors like lemon, Nutella, and blood-orange creamsicle.
Nothing beats gelato.
But, then there's ice cream — served in crunchy waffle cones in favorite flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, or mixed with things like cookie dough, or cheesecake.
Recently, I had a chance to attend a seminar — led by novelist, and magazine editor Curtis Gillespie — about narrative journalism. Curtis is the editor of the award-winning Eighteen Bridges magazine and has won National Magazine awards for his writing.
The biggest takeaway for me was, what he called, his six golden rules for being a good writer.
I will be the first to admit that the science section of any bookstore can be a bit intimidating.
Most of the books there are by someone with "Ph.D." after their name and are written in a language that may as well be Greek to me.
Luckily, Susan Casey writes in a language that I have no problem understanding.
The weekend had disappeared quickly, too quickly, and when I opened my eyes, I realized that the fluttering in my stomach meant that it was Monday and even if I wasn’t entirely prepared for it, my official first day as an English teacher had arrived.
On my way out the door, I couldn’t help taking one last glance in the mirror and a long deep breath to try and settle the butterflies in my stomach.
Is your New Year's resolution to read more? Are you looking for something interesting to read on your next trip? Or, have you just finished a book and want to try something new?
Take our quiz below to see which book you should read next!
This is one of those books that weaves you into its spell and has such interesting and dynamic characters that you are heartbroken when the story ends because you so badly want to continue to be a part of their lives.
Ami McKay's third book (she is also the author of the bestselling novels The Birth House and The Virgin Cure), The Witches of New York takes place in 1880, two hundred years after the Salem witch trials.