Category Archives: Culture

Birthday Song History: Why do we sing the “Happy Birthday to you” song on birthdays?

The Happy Birthday song is one of the most widely sung songs in the world. But when did the tradition of singing this merry tune begin? The answer is around the late 1890s to early 1900s, but the story is … Continue reading

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Why is the Jewish Holiday Tu b’shevat celebrated?

(Other spellings and names for the holiday: tu b’shvat, tu bishvat, tu be shevat, tu b shvat, Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot‎)

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Anchor tattoo meaning: Why do people get anchor tattoos?

Anchor tattoos are one of the oldest tattoo designs in the West and they are still popular today. Why do people get anchor tattoos? What does the anchor symbol mean?

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Good luck Symbols: Maneki neko: The lucky beckoning cat

If you’re not Chinese or Japanese, you may not have heard the term “maneki neko” but you may well have seen one; most probably in a Chinese or Japanese restaurant or shop. Maneki neko is a good luck charm in … Continue reading

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Good Luck Charms: Why is the Rabbit’s Foot lucky?

Even if most of us today don’t carry rabbits’ feet around with us, most of us are aware of them as a superstitious symbol of good luck. Why do we consider the rabbit’s foot lucky?

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What is a hipster? and what’s the story behind hipster fashion?

Have you ever seen a scruffily clad teen, 20-or 30-something wearing large, thick, black glasses (perhaps even without lenses!), possibly sporting a badge featuring nothing but a mysterious black mustache? Or perhaps you’ve noticed people who look like they’ve just … Continue reading

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Eat your heart out: Meaning and Phrase Origin

Today, whilst making an observation about the imaginative talents of youtuber John Green for his creatively named computer-game football team, the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers, my companion laughingly said “Eat your heart out Dr Seuss!”. Mid-laugh I suddenly realised what he’d … Continue reading

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Etymology of Toast: Why is it called a toast?

A toast is a piece of lightly scorched bread, right? So why do we call the raising of our glasses at events like weddings, a toast? Toasted bread and raising a wine glass in a toast really do have more … Continue reading

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Origin of the toast: Why do we toast?

If an alien landed on Earth and observed a human stand up whilst holding a glass, followed by a room full of people all holding up their glasses and taking a sip in perfect unison amidst a chorus of shouts, … Continue reading

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Meaning of Place Names: Why do we call places by certain names?

Behind every name is a story, and this goes for place names too. Although each individual place has a unique specific definition, there are some common components and terms for the names of English-speaking cities, towns and settlements. Knowing the … Continue reading

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