Read Curious Customs: The Stories Behind 296 Popular American Rituals by Tad Tuleja Online

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Why do men wear ties? Who began the tradition of the diamond engagement ring? Why does a mother kiss a child's wound? Why do we raise a white flag in truce? Tad Tuleja sheds light on the whole story behind these common customs and hundreds more. Behavior and traditions that we take for granted have fascinating origins, and this book also reveals why they have survived theWhy do men wear ties? Who began the tradition of the diamond engagement ring? Why does a mother kiss a child's wound? Why do we raise a white flag in truce? Tad Tuleja sheds light on the whole story behind these common customs and hundreds more. Behavior and traditions that we take for granted have fascinating origins, and this book also reveals why they have survived the centuries. These intriguing glimpses into America's curious customs help us understand why we do what we do and offer entertaining insights into history and culture....

Title : Curious Customs: The Stories Behind 296 Popular American Rituals
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781578660704
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Curious Customs: The Stories Behind 296 Popular American Rituals Reviews

  • Nathan Albright
    2019-06-06 13:24

    I received this book, along with quite a few others [1], many of which I still have to read, when some friends of mine went on a discount book-shopping effort. Their thought, at least as far as I can interpret it, is that this book was purchased to provide for research material on American customs, to see if it would bolster our shared perspective on the heathen nature of many customs. If this was their thought, it was an accurate one, as the author is generally candid about admitting what he calls the “pre-Christian” origin of many customs relating to Christmas and Easter and other festivals. This is not to say that the author’s understanding is perfect—he tends to take the accounts of the Talmud as Gospel truth on such matters as the age of Esau and Jacob when they separated or the age that Abraham supposedly rejected the henotheistic and monolotrous ways of his family [2], a fallacious post hoc explanation for the fact that a bar mitzvah occurs when a Jewish boy turns 13, and some of what the author considers to be Christian habits, like the crossed finger, appear to have been done by superstitious Hellenistic Jews who had already departed from apostolic doctrine and practice.In terms of the contents of the book, the author divides up 296 rituals into various categories: etiquette, gestures and postures, transitions, the mating game, costume and appearance, ways of dealing with food, family affairs, entertainment, holidays, superstitions, and a miscellaneous catch-all category at the end for those rituals the author wishes to write about that did not fit into the other categories. In writing about these rituals the author mixes comments from research, where the sources are named and occasionally critiqued, personal stories from the author or family members, and a great deal of personal commentary and speculation, especially when it comes to cultural and sexual politics. How the reader feels about this personal commentary will depend on how much they appreciate comments like this one, about the wake: “On one level, such display is merely distasteful. On another, it serves a psychological function, albeit a sad and defensive one: to deny the reality of the obvious, to put on a clown’s face to keep from crying. There may also be a social function, however, that relates to primitive beliefs about the dead (35).” What kind of reader would most appreciate this book? It is hard to say. On the one hand, this book does give a great deal of effort in explaining the origin of rituals, but the origin of many rituals is opaque and challenging, and this author both acknowledges too much uncertainty for the work to be a definitive one and engages in too much pontificating and distasteful speculation, especially when it comes to the author’s cultural agendas, to make this book’s commentary frequently unpleasant. Those readers who have a dim view of habits and traditions that spring from heathen cultures will find a great deal of ammunition against such practices, but the author appears to hold no such difficulty with pagan origins even as he frankly admits them in many cases. Nor does the author of this book appear to have any sort of knowledge about biblical law except as it can be found in its degraded form in the Talmud or in commentaries about the behavior of Hellenistic Christians who had already become greatly acculturated to the Hellenistic and other pagan European ways. The book is useful as reference material, but not a pleasurable book to read.[1] See, for example:https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...[2] See, for example:https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...

  • Simone Collins
    2019-06-01 06:04

    I have to say, I loved this book. I learned so many interesting tidbits!Though it isn’t exactly new, Curious Customs is a valuable trend spotting (and general knowledge) resource because it allows individuals to become more familiar with the historical context behind various cultural artifacts and practices. Each ‘custom’ entry is relatively brief, and the research behind them is not extensive, but the subjects offer a good jumping off point for additional research and encourage the reader to consider the embedded significance behind various objects and practices instead of simply taking them at face value.Ultimately, the greatest insight I gleaned from Curious Customs is that history counts. One cannot predict future trends and behaviors without understanding how developments have evolved in the past!

  • Eric
    2019-06-04 10:01

    This is a "cultural studies lite" kind of read. I cruised through it this morning over my coffee. It's interesting to think about the orgins of customs, but this guy is a bit iffy at times...drifting into a less-than-academic tone especially when discussing certain issues. I imagine that he's attempting to be interesting/entertaining, but it lacks something. Plus, this book is from 1987, which makes some of the discussion/examples very funny to me (example: the American quest for the Holy Grail is the quest for the perfect martini. ?!?!?! HA!)

  • Shane
    2019-06-12 08:11

    Got this from a friend who was moving. It was interesting. Not awesome but there were definitely some interesting origins of the customs we experience every day. At this point some of the references and jokes are dated but it's perfect for a bathroom book or anywhere else were you just have a few minutes to read an entry or two.

  • Sharon Beers
    2019-06-21 08:08

    The stories behind 296 American rituals. Why do we cross our hearts and thumb our noses? Why do we throw rice at weddings? Why do we dye Easter eggs? Light reading for waiting in lines, etc.

  • Meghan
    2019-06-10 12:08

    Interesting read about the origins of different customs and holidays. A good resource to have around.

  • Aran
    2019-05-27 13:04

    Signs of the times.

  • Jenna
    2019-06-24 07:20

    This fun book makes a genuine effort to succinctly consider the origins and reasons for many American customs we follow without thinking -- and to separate the incorrect ideas or odd stories that pass around for "reasons why we do this" from the more genuine explanations. The book does provide a decent bibliography, but the entires themselves lack citations/footnotes, so if you are looking to do your own research on 1 specific custom, you'll have to do some of your own research/recreate the authors.