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Culture

Essays and videos on the arts, literature, travel, rituals and celebrations
Elephant food is for the strongest teeth | Aeon
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Sports and games

The brutality and beauty of the West African martial art of ‘dambe’

15 minutes

The pharaoh’s trumpet | Aeon
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Archaeology

The pharaoh’s trumpet

The truly wondrous treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb are not made of gold. They are the mundane things of everyday life

Toby Wilkinson

Keeping the score | Aeon
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Anthropology

Keeping the score

The gifts we exchange are both generous and yet fraught with social rules and obligations. Marcel Mauss explained why

Gili Kliger

Market | Aeon
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Food and drink

From set-up to close, a day at the farmers market is a whirlwind sensory feast

10 minutes

60 cycles | Aeon
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Sports and games

Bodies, bikes and groovy music propel this stylish classic film from 1965

17 minutes

In fragments: phase change | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

From roaring fire and molten glass an artist creates a healing ritual

13 minutes

The meaning of Purgatory | Aeon
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Religion

The meaning of Purgatory

Think less of a holding pen for Heaven and more as a flow of love from the living, and the weirdness starts making sense

Magnus Course

Tengri | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

In a Mongolian wind burial, a body falls on land before getting swept up to the heavens

6 minutes

Setapa | Aeon
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Dance and theatre

Absorb the infectious rhythms of Setapa – a joyous dance from southern Africa

7 minutes

Kapaemahu | Aeon
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Gender

The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one

9 minutes

Is grandad on the moon? | Aeon
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Death

Is grandad on the moon?

We no longer have a clear sense of how to introduce our children to death. But their questions can help us face up to it

Pragya Agarwal

EXCLUSIVETarikat | Aeon
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video

Rituals and celebrations

Dissolve into the immersive, entrancing rhythms of a Sufi chant

17 minutes

Phantasia | Aeon
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Dance and theatre

Phantasia

Imagination is a powerful tool, a sixth sense, a weapon. We must be careful how we use it, in life as on stage or screen

Paul Giamatti & Stephen T Asma

Myth and the mind | Aeon
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Neuroscience

Myth and the mind

Saturated with rites and symbols, psychology feeds a deep human need once nourished by mythology

Rami Gabriel

Longhouse lockdown | Aeon
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Anthropology

Longhouse lockdown

On a regular cycle, the Nias islanders of Indonesia would retreat into enforced seclusion. What can we learn from them?

Andrew Beatty

Maria’s way | Aeon
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Meaning and the good life

Maria’s life work is counting the pilgrims passing by on Spain’s Camino de Santiago

16 minutes

Broomstick weddings | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

Broomstick weddings

From Kentucky to Wales and all across the Atlantic, the enslaved and downtrodden got married – by leaping over a broom. Why?

Tyler D Parry

Acadiana | Aeon
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Anthropology

The uncanny allure of the annual Cajun crawfish festival in Louisiana

10 minutes

The Fayum portraits | Aeon
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The ancient world

Haunting dispatches from the edge of the Roman Empire, just before its collapse

15 minutes

Now is the time | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

How a village’s first totem pole ceremony in a century sparked a spiritual awakening

16 minutes

The necessity of awe | Aeon
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Philosophy of science

The necessity of awe

In awe we hold fast to nature’s strangeness and open up to the unknown. No wonder it’s central to the scientific imagination

Helen De Cruz

We need highly formal rituals in order to make life more democratic | Aeon
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idea

Rituals and celebrations

We need highly formal rituals in order to make life more democratic

Antone Martinho-Truswell

Friendship is about loyalty, not laws. Should it be policed? | Aeon
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Love and friendship

Friendship is about loyalty, not laws. Should it be policed?

Leah Plunkett

For the full life experience, put down all devices and walk | Aeon
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Rituals and celebrations

For the full life experience, put down all devices and walk

John Kaag & Susan Froderberg