Quiz: Origins of Popular Traditions

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

We know what to do, but why do we do it? Many of today's popular traditions are based in acts and tales from long ago. Test your knowledge of some of these traditions' origins with this quiz!

Ancient Roman birthday candles were used to make a cake glow like the moon and carry wishes skyward to which goddess?

The goddess of the moon and the hunt, Artemis, was the first to grant birthday wishes carried aloft by blown-out candles.

The traditional birthstones were first used on which of the following?

Aaron was the brother of Moses, and on his ceremonial breastplate he wore 12 gems signifying the 12 tribes of Israel.

Placing Election Day on a Tuesday in November is due to which of the following?

In early November, most of the crops were in, and the dirt roads remained firm for travel by horse and buggy. Farmers could travel on Monday to voting stations and return home before markets later in the week.

Which of the following people claimed to have invented the high-five while playing basketball for Michigan State?

Magic Johnson may have claimed to have invented the high-five, but more likely, it originated when Dusty Baker high-fived Glenn Burke at the home plate of Dodger Stadium on Oct. 2, 1977.

In 1952, brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw which ocean animal onto the ice of a Detroit Red Wings game?

It was an octopus! The cephalopod's eight tentacles represented the number of wins needed to take the Stanley Cup.

Which of the following ancient cultures used mistletoe to promote fertility in sheep?

In Norse mythology, the blind god Hoor kills his brother Baldr with a mistletoe arrow, but it's the Celts who believed mistletoe could make sheep more fertile.

What is one traditional function of a wedding's best man?

Traditionally, the best man wore a sword and knew how to use it -- should anything go awry with the transaction, the best man had the groom's back.

When you spill salt, you might throw a pinch over your right shoulder. Why?

Is it an offering or a weapon? Unclear. What is clear is that thrown salt keeps the devil from doing bad things to you.

The tradition of freezing wedding cake to be eaten on the one-year anniversary is due to what?

Traditionally, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage -- likely about a year after the wedding.

We wave lighters (and now cell phones) during rock concert power ballads. Were did this tradition start?

Though you would be remiss not to wave a light during "When the Children Cry," the tradition began at Woodstock, when fans lit candles to accompany singer Melanie's set in the rain.

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