Cultural Connections

Welsh Culture

By Andrew Russell

November 14, 2022

Have you ever wondered if there is a country with a rich culture of literacy or nature? Wales is one of many cultures that is very rich in cultural ideas. They even have their own language; it’s called Welsh. Wales is located on the island of Great Britain, west of England. The Welsh flag is white on top, green on the bottom, and a red dragon in the middle. 

Welsh is centered around music and poetry. 

The best example of this is the most famous festival celebrated in Wales called Hay-on-Wye. It celebrates literacy from around the world. A more medieval famous literary way is Anglo-Welsh poetry; it has become an important aspect of Welsh literary culture, as well as influencing English literature. The works of the great hymn writers of the 18th and 19th centuries are also poetic: in particular William Williams Pantycelyn and Ann Griffiths.

If you ever visit Wales the first thing you’ll notice is probably the rugged coastline or the mountainous national parks. Most people in America don’t realize that other parts of the world contain national parks. Wales is no exception, in 2021 the Pembrokeshire National Park was the most popular national park in Europe. It is located in southern Wales and The Pembrokeshire coastline is an intricate ribbon of weather-worn cliffs, dazzling beaches and secret coves, jeweled with rock pools. Here, where land, sea and sky combine, walkers, surfers, kayakers and sailors are in their element. 

Now if you ever want to go on an adventure go to Wales! You can see the National Parks or the festivals of poems from around the world. You can also learn about history and learn a new language. Now if you ever feel like learning more about world culture, choose Wales to learn about!

The Day of the Dead

By Ruby Westrick

When we think of the Day of the Dead we think of flowers and sugar skulls, but what is the true meaning of the day of the dead? 

Día de los Muertos, or “The Day of the Dead”, is a Mexican tradition that revolves around remembering the losses of loved ones. The Day of the Dead is a two day celebration on the first and second of November, in which families welcome back the souls of their relatives that have passed. They celebrate by having a brief reunion including food and drinks. Families spend time at their relatives’ graves. Ofrendas, or altars, piled with offerings, are built right into the cemetery. Family members often spend their entire night there eating, drinking, and listening to Mariachi music. Many families don’t live close to the family cemetery, so it’s easiest just to make the ofrendas at home.

The common set up of an ofrenda, or altar, includes candles and Mexican marigolds, or “cempazuchitl” both to attract spirits, and to guide them to the altar. Cempazuchitl means “flower of the dead” in the Aztec language of Nahuatl. There are also plenty of other items used to set up the ofrenda, such as copal incense, used to purify the soul, or an arch of papel picado, paper cutouts which are used to mark the doorway to the spirit world. In the very middle of the ofrenda lies a photo of their beloved relatives. 

Sugar skulls are a popular symbol to use on The Day of the Dead, and are, of course, not real skulls. They are made of a white sugar mixture that is pressed into skull shaped molds. Sugar skulls are most commonly decorated with beads, feathers, sequence, and glitter. On the day of the dead, skeleton themed items are everywhere in Mexico.
Even though Día de los Muertos is the day after the American holiday Halloween, The Day of the Dead is not at all the same. The Day of the Dead is an important part of Mexican culture. In  the US, cities with large Latin American populations also take part in the celebration. With costumes, food, music, and art, Day of the Dead seems like a holiday worth celebrating.

Greek Mythology: The Theogony

By Kaylee Higgins

October 11, 2022

Now at this point in your life you’ve probably heard of the Greeks.  Now let me tell you, the Greeks had a myth for EVERYTHING.  These myths range from the end of the gods’ rule to the creation of Earth, the Theogony. We started off with the being of chaos, then one day Eros, Tarturus, and the Earth itself (Gaia) popped up.  Chaos decided to have Erebos and Nyx, who create the day and night cycle.  

Then Gaia makes Ouranos, who is the sky.  Gaia and Ouranos have three sets of siblings, the Twelve Titans, the Cyclops , and three Hecatoncheires (beings with 50 heads and 100 arms).  The Cyclops, Hecatoncheires, and Titans hate their father for what seems like no reason at first but then makes sense since Ouranos throws the Hecatonchires and Cyclops into Tartarus/ somewhere under the Earth.  Gaia has had enough of this since they were also her children, so she calls on her Titan kids (mainly Kronus who we’ll hear about later).  She gives them a sickle (since any sort of weapons were not invented yet) to go and dispose of Ouranos.  Kronus does this and wins.  The blood goes into the sea, which makes Aphrodite, who spent a couple thousand years there.  

Ouranos calls Kronus and his siblings Titans, so the Titan Age now begins.  But death and destruction and also monsters start popping up also.  Kronus takes his sister Rhea as his wife who has kids with him.  Gaia and Ouranos tell Kronus that one of his kids will eat him.  So Kronus swallows all of his kids at birth and gets ready for this, he eats Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon.  So when Rhea had Zeus she pleaded to Gaia to save him and so Gaia hid Zeus in a cave getting raised by Gaia.  

Zeus decided one day that he wanted to become the ruler of the universe.  So Zeus with the help of an Oceanic nymph named Metis, slipped some poison into Kronus’s drink and Kronus threw up Zeus’s siblings.  So Zeus and his siblings free the Cyclops, in return they forged Zeus’s lightning bolts.  The battle lasts 10 years, so Gaia suggests that Zeus go and also free the Hecatoncheires.  So Zeus goes and does this and the Hecatonchires are so grateful and craft Hades a magic hat that makes him invisible, and they also crafted Poseidon’s trident.  So Zeus and his siblings now armed with weapons and monsters are able to take down Kronus.  So the mighty gods themselves win against the Titans.  The Titans are all locked in Tartarus.  But Atlas (another titan) was tasked with holding up the sky.  

So now that the war is done Zeus decides to marry his sister, Hera.  Zeus has kids with Hera but also other women (mainly other women, he only had three kids with Hera). This is a myth of the creation of earth created by the Greeks. 

National Days– October Style

By Aubrey Hunger

October 11, 2022

Many think that many holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. are the only National Holidays’ but actually  there is a National day every single day of the year. A national day is where it celebrates the mark of nationhood of a nation or a state, on the other hand official holidays are recognized by Congress and is designated in TItle V of U.S code 6103. Marlo Anderson, Creator of National Day Calendar. There are 365 days in a year that means that those more known holidays are supposed to need a break from their routine.

Monday, Oct 3 – National Boyfriend day, Techies day, Child Health day, Consignment day

Tuesday, Oct 4 – National Taco day, Cinnamon Bun day, Golf Lover’s day, Eat Fruit at work day

Wednesday, Oct 5 –  National Do Something Nice day, Apple Betty day, Get funky day, Rhode Island day, Teachers day, Walk to School day, Pumpkin Seed day, Coffee with a Cop day

Thursday, Oct 6 – National Coaches day, German-American day, Mad Hatter day, Noodle day, Orange Wine day, Plus Size Appreciation day

Friday, Oct 7 –  National Chocolate Covered Pretzel day, World College Radio day, Frappe day, Inner Beauty day, LED Light day, Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness day, Manufacturing day, Body Language day, Smile day

Saturday, Oct 8- National Touch Tag day, Off-Road day, Fluffernutter day, Hero day, Pierogi day, Chess day, Costume day, Motorcycle Ride day, I Love Yarn day

Sunday, Oct 9 –  National Leif Erikson day, Moldy Cheese day, Pro-Life Cupcake day, PANS Aareness day, Clergy Apprecation day, 

Monday, Oct 10 –  National Angel Food Cake day, Cake Decorating day, Handbag day, Metric day, Walk to a Park day, Mental Health day, Columbus day, Kick Butt day, Online Bank day, American day

Tuesday, Oct 11 – National  Pulaski Memorial day, Coming Out day, Day of the girl day, Sausage Pizza day

Wednesday, Oct 12 –  National Farmers day, Freethought day, Gumbo day, Savings day, Vermont day, Bring  Your  Teddy Bear to Work day,  Curves day, Emergency Nurse day, Fossil day, Stop Bullying day, Take Your Parents to Lunch day

Thursday, Oct 13 –  National Train Your Brain day, Yorkshire Pudding day, Navy Birthday day

Friday, Oct 14 –  National Dessert Day,

Saturday, Oct 15 –  National Whole Hog Barbecue day, Cheese Curd day, I love Lucy day, Grouch day, White cane Safety day, Sweetest day

Sunday, Oct 16 – National Department Store day, Cat day, Dictionary day, Sports day, 

Most other countries have international days like us, but these are national days where everyone in the world celebrates.

Easter Around the World

By Aubrey Lynch

April 14, 2022

Easter is a holiday celebrated by Christians  to “represent the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament and the revelation of God’s salvific plan for all humankind.” (Brittanica.com) Easter also celebrates the defeat of the dead and the hope of salvation.  Easter changes all the time, from different times to different days, it changes because it’s based upon the moon. When the snow turns to flowers, and the air turns warm.

Many countries around the world celebrate Easter, but they often have their own traditions. In America Easter celebrations often involve attending mass, having egg hunts,preparing  nice dinners for family gatherings, and decorating eggs

 Easter is a holiday where mainly christens celebrate it. They have ham and other foods, some of the most popular foods are lamb, pork, roast beef, feta with olive oil and herbs. 

Here are some other popular Easter foods and where they are from: 

  • Simnel cake-United Kingdom– Simnel cake is a UK dessert that is a rich fruit cake with pudding in between.
  • Pashka-Russia– Pashka is a Russian dessert that is a  Slavic festive dish made in Eastern Orthodox countries which consists of food that is forbidden during the fast of Great Lent.
  • Torta Pascualina, Argentina–Torta Pasqualina is also known as Italian Easter Pie.  I’ve gotta say – Italians have some pretty awesome Easter food traditions!  The Torta Rustica is another Italian Easter tradition, although that one hails from the southern area of the country.
  • Capirotada, Mexico– Capirotada, also known as Capirotada de vigilia, is a traditional Mexican food similar to a bread pudding that is usually eaten during the Lenten period. 
  • Leg of lamb, Although a lamb has four legs, only the two hind legs produce the cut referred to as “leg of lamb”. It is a large, lean, and tender cut and can be used whole or subdivided into smaller cuts, which can usually be cooked using dry heat methods, such as roasting.

“National” Days in April

By Stella Empfield

April 14, 2022

 Everyone is looking to have some fun to make their days better. Every day, there is a national day that you can celebrate by showing that you care and participate in it. 

April 2nd- National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, World Autism Awareness Day

April 3rd- National Chocolate Mousse Day, National Find a Rainbow Day

April 4th- National Jeep 4×4 Day, National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day

April 5th- National Caramel Day, National Deep Dish Pizza Day, National Flash Drive Day

April 6th-  National Day of Hope, National Acai Bowl Day, National Siamese Cat Day

April 7th- National Girl me Too Day, National No Housework Day, National World Health Day

April 8th- National all Dya is Yours, National Empanada Day, National Zoo Lovers Day

April 9th- National Cherish an Antique Day, National Chinese Almond Cookie Day

April 10th- National Siblings day, National Hug Your Dog Day, National Farm Animals Day

April 11th- National Education and Sharing Day, National Barbershop Quartet Day

April 12th- National Licorice Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

April 13th-  National Peach Cobbler Day, National Scrabble Day

April 14th- National Look Up at the Sky Day, National Reach as High As You Can Day

April 15th- National Rubber Eraser Day, National Titanic Remembrance Day

April 16th- National Husband Appreciation Day, National Bean Counter Day

April 17th- National CheeseBall Day, National Haiku Poetry Day

April 18th- National Adult Autism Awareness Day, National Animal Cracker Day

April 19th- National Garlic Day, National Wear Pajamas Day

April 20th- National Banana Day, National Look Alike Day

April 21st- National Bulldogs are Beautiful Day, National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day

April 22nd- National Day of Silence, National Earth Day, National Jelly Bean Day

April 23rd- National Shakespeare Day, National UN English Day, National World Book Day

April 24th- National Pet Parents Day, National Pigs in a Blanket Day, National Skipping Day

April 25th- National Malaria Day, National Zucchini Bread Day, National Telephone Day

April 26th- National Audubon Day, National Get Organized Day, National Help a Horse Day

April 27th- National Tell a Story Day, National Prime Rib Day, National Devil Dog Day

April 28th- National Great Poetry Reading Day, National Blueberry Pie Day

April 29th- National Zipper Day, National Shrimp Scampi Day

April 30th- National Honesty Day, National Jazz Day, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, National Bubble Tea Day, National Bugs Bunny Day, National Kiss of Hope Day, National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National Rebuilding Day, National Sense of Smell Day

Western PA Slang for Yinzers

By Emily Ferraro and Janie Stubbe

April 14, 2022

If you live in Western PA, you might hear the varieties of slang that exist. You might ask what slang is? Slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that aren’t formal or proper. This type of language tends to be more used in language than in writing. 

We asked students how they preferred to say the following words and tallied up the results:

SubSodaVacuumCreek 
| | | | | |  (6)| | | | |  (5)| | | | | |  (6)| | | | | |  (6)
HoagiePopSweeperCrick
| |  (2)| | |   (3)| |  (2)| |  (2)

Here are some other Western PA slang terms:

Food: 

Dippy Eggs (eggs that are cooked over-easy) 

Jeet Jet? (“Did you eat yet?”)

Primanti’s(french fries put in a variety of foods)

Samich(sandwich)


Other:

Yinz(you guys)

Yinzer(people who live in Pittsburgh or in the Pittsburgh area) 

Yous(you guys)

Underpants/Gutchies(pretty self explanatory)

Buggy(shopping cart)

N’at(and that)

Slippy(slippery)

Nebby(nosy) 

Redd Up(clean up)

Gumband(rubberband)

Cultural Connections: The Story of Hachiko

By Andrew Russell

April 4, 2022

One of the most famous figures in Japan is not an actor or even a human; it is a dog named Hachikō. There is a statue of Hachikō at the Shibuya Station, one of the most popular places in Tokyo. The story of Hachikō is known as “the tale of loyalty.” This story is about Professor Eizaburo Ueno of Japan and his loyal Akita.

The story of Hachiko starts at a farm near the city of Odate in 1923. When Hachikō was a year old Eizaburo Ueno, a professor of  agriculture department at the Tokyo Imperial University, bought him as a pet and brought him to Shibuya, Tokyo. Every day that Eizaburo returned to Shibuya Station after work Hachikō  was there to greet him. 

Everyday they did the same thing: Eizaburo would come to the Station and be greeted by Hachikō. On May 21, 1925,  Eizaburo died of cerebral hemorrhage while lecturing at the university. Hachikō still went to the station and refused to go anywhere until he saw Eizaburo. Other riders at the station had seen Eizaburo and Hachikō together, and after Eizaburo’s death more and more people felt bad for the dog who longed for his owner. 

One day a newspaper in Asahi Shimbun published an article about Hachikō, and people began to leave food and treats for him “while he waits for a ghost.”

This would continue until Hachiko’s death from terminal cancer on March 8, 1935. 

Two statues stand in Japan to commemorate this special dog and his owner. One of the statues sits next to his owner Eizaburo, in a cemetery, while the other statue sits outside Shibuya Station. Every year on March 8th a solemn ceremony is held to honor the loyalty of Hachikō. In 1994, a Nippon Cultural Broadcasting put together an old and broken record to just hear Hachikō bark. On May 28, 1994, 59 years after his death, over 1 million people listened to Hachikō bark. The story of Hachiko gives new meaning to “man’s best friend.”

Cultural Connections: Winter Holidays Around the World

By Liam Hunter and Addison Porter

December 3, 2021

There are many other holidays going on this winter other than Christmas and New Years Eve that you may not know about. Some are celebrated by different cultures, religions, or very diverse groups.

Hanukkah is are religious holiday celebrated by members of the Jewish faith.. Hanukkah isn’t the same week every year. This year it’s from November 28th to December 6th.  Hanukkah’s origin is from 139 BC when the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to free it. In the temple a new menorah was made but there was only enough oil to light the candles for one day. The candles kept burning for eight days and it was considered a miracle. Ever since then, candles on Menorah have been lit for eight days and delicious food is made to commemorate this holiday.

Each night at sundown, families will gather together and light a new candle on the Menorah. The menorah has nine candles total. The ninth is called the Shamash. It is used to light the rest of the candles. They sing, open gifts and say a prayer. They will eat many different types of food that are fried in oil to symbolize the candles being lit for eight days. One of the most popular foods is Latke. Latke is Yiddish for pancake. It consists of batter made of shredded potatoes fried in oil. Another food made during Hanukkah is Kugel. It’s a sweet casserole dish made out of noodles, eggs, sugar, sour cream and cottage cheese.  

Another holiday that is not as well known is Chinese New Year. This year it starts on February 1st and ends on the 15th. It’s only a public holiday for the first 7 days. The date changes every year, but it always falls between January 21st and February 20th. The origin of this holiday is from a legend. The legend was that a monster would attack at the beginning of each new year. The monster didn’t like red, bright lights, or lots of noise, so to keep away this monster they made sure to do all of these things. During Chinese New Year, they celebrate new beginnings, luck and fortune, in the upcoming year. 

Those who celebrate Chinese New Year eat special food to bring certain things like happiness, wealth, and success. Those who eat fish are seeking an increase in success or looking to excel more than before. If you are eating Spring Rolls then you may be looking forward to some money or a sudden occurrence of wealth. A food you would eat if you want your family to be closer you would eat Sweet Rice Balls. 

On the last day of Chinese New Year, there is a lantern festival. People go outdoors or in a natural area and enjoy a nice meal with their family as they watch the lanterns in the sky go by and see the bright lights. 

There are so many different holidays you may not know about. If you see someone who is celebrating something different, learn and explore what that is. Always remember to stay curious when hearing new things about people.

Cultural Connections: The Holiday of Eid al-Adha 

BY ELLIE COLEMAN AND ANDREW RUSSEL

October 15, 2021

When someone mentions summer holidays, the main thing people think about is the Fourth of July. Many people don’t realize it, but almost every day is some sort of holiday. One of the more important holidays that many people don’t know is called Eid al- Adha. 

Eid al-Adha always falls on the tenth day of Dhu al- Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic Hijri, the Muslim calendar. This holiday centers around prayer and animal sacrifices. It is known as the Festival of Sacrifices. The goal is so that all Muslims can eat meat.

Eid al-Adha requires a crescent moon to start the festival. On July 9, 2021 people searched the skies for the crescent moon, but to no avail. On the 19th they searched again, but there was still no sign. Because of this Saudi Arabia declared that the festival should start on the 20th. It’s no easy feat to figure out when exactly it will appear. However, even with the global pandemic, over 1.6 billion Muslims celebrated the holiday.

This holiday is celebrated as a remembrance of Ibrahim’s sacrifice. Ibrahim was a man who is said to have lived a long time ago. According to the Muslim faith, he had a son named Ismail. When his son was still young, Allah, the one true God to Muslims, told Ibrahim to sacrifice Ismail as a test to see if Ibrahim was committed to Allah. Just as Ibrahim was about to sacrifice Ismail, Allah spoke and instructed him to not kill the boy, but to sacrifice an animal instead. 

 Eid al- Adha is one of the most important holidays for Muslims. During this holiday they are able to see their family. When they come together they share food and give gifts to each other. They begin the festival by praying. Following this, the family will sacrifice an animal, giving some to the poor. Once finished with this, they are able to gather with friends and family, eat a festive meal, and give gifts. 

Every holiday has a special kind of food, like turkey for Thanksgiving. The traditional food for Eid al- Adha is usually sheep or goat meat. They slaughter a sheep or goat, making sure that it is not disfigured or unacceptable in any way. This is done as a symbol of the sacrifice Ibrahim made to Allah. They take the meat and put it into three groups: for home, for family, friends, or neighbors, and for the poor. Other dishes that they have are sweets and many things with lamb and mutton, not just plain meat. They drink coffee and eat crumpets and sheer khurma, a dish similar to curry. 

There are so many interesting things to learn about Eid al-Adha, and it is only one holiday. There are many more holidays during this time that many may not be aware of. Try to learn more about other cultures and what they celebrate.