Category Cultural Issues

Valentine’s day, were the ancients telling us to rut?

The origins of Valentine’s Day seem somewhat mysterious at a glance, why would buying flowers for a loved one be in any way related to the death of an early Christian martyr, St Valentine? Well amongst the theories is the correlation with the Greco-Roman festival of Lupercalia. Lupercalia was celebrated in the 5 century B.C […]

Uncontacted tribes of the Andaman Islands: do we approach?

The field of anthropology has a long held fascination with so called ‘stone age’ modern people and most especially with uncontacted hunter-gatherers. It is believed that hunter-gatherers provide us with a window into our own distant pasts, showing us who we were before the advent of agriculture or use of metals. I’m an archaeologist who […]

The Year of the Snake

Two days ago the Chinese culture celebrated the advent of the year of the black water snake. For the Chinese it represents a year commanded or influenced by the personality of the snake.The snake being a popular figure in mythology world wide, is the creator of the universe in ancient cultures from China, Africa, India […]

Masonic groups out of date in Northern Ireland?

The Royal Black Preceptory is a ‘more religious’ set up to the Orange Order in N. Ireland. When asking for the symbolism of the date, the last Saturday of August, the reply is simple and enigmatic: it’s a religious day. What religious day it is, is uncertain to me and also apparently uncertain to the […]