The torch relay from Olympia began at the 1936 games in Berlin; devised by Carl Diem as a propaganda ploy for the Nazis, it afterwards became an Olympic tradition. In ancient Greece, a fire was lit by the sun and burned until the close of the games. The practice of maintaining an Olympic flame was revived at the 1928 games in Amsterdam.Know More
The Olympic flame is the fire that is kept burning from the beginning to the conclusion of the Olympic Games, and the Olympic torch is the vessel by which the flame is transported from the birthplace of the Olympics in Olympia, Greece, to the site of the current games. According to the International Olympic Committee, the flame represents the purity and positive values associated with fire.
Several months before the opening ceremony of the games, the flame is lit by the light of the sun in Olympia, Greece, using a parabolic mirror. At the Temple of Hydra, 11 women representing vestal virgins perform the ceremony. The torch makes a short relay tour of Greece, and then after a ceremony in Athens begins its journey to the host city. Usually there is not one torch, but many. For the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, there were 14,000 torches and 14,000 runners. The torches have traveled by foot, bicycle, horseback, camel, canoe, plane and many other conveyances to some of the most remote parts of the Earth. For the Sochi Olympics, torches went to the world's deepest lake in Siberia, the North Pole via nuclear-powered icebreaker, the top of Mount Elbrus, Russia's highest peak and the International Space Station.Learn more about Cultures & Traditions
In Navajo tradition, a skin-walker is a person who can shapeshift into an animal. These people, called yee naaldlooshii in the Navajo tongue, are human and part of the tribe during the day, but they perform evil deeds in animal form at night.Full Answer >
Italians eat fish on Christmas Eve because their tradition does not allow them to eat meat on that day. Commonly, they eat seven fishes to represent the seven sacraments.Full Answer >
Jumping over the broom is a wedding tradition where both the bride and the groom jump over a broom together during the ceremony. This action is symbolic of sweeping away the past and new beginnings. In addition, it can represent the joining of the two families.Full Answer >
The tradition of Santa giving bad kids the undesirable present of coal in their Christmas stockings derives from earlier European traditions. Both the Befana, the Italian Yuletide witch and Krampus, the bizarre Christmas demon of Austria, have punished bad children with gifts of coal for centuries.Full Answer >