December 29, 2020

When Christmas was Illegal

There was a time when the singing of Christmas carols could land you in jail.

December 28, 2020

The Etymology of Christmas

Ever wonder where “Xmas” came from?

December 25, 2020

Roots of Christmas

Some of our most enduring Christmas traditions date back to the pre-Christian era.

December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve in Woodstock

In “the most famous small town in the world”, how will Santa arrive this year?

December 23, 2020

Breaking Bread

The Polish Christmas tradition of Wigilia.

December 22, 2020


200 million presents is a big load for any sleigh.

December 21, 2020

Bonfires on the Levee

Celebrating Christmas eve with a 20 foot pyre of wood and wire.

December 18, 2020


Christmas caroling – Puerto Rican Style!

December 17, 2020

Santa’s Secret

What if Santa Claus got the flu and an ordinary mortal had to cover for him?

December 16, 2020

Las Posadas

Commemorating Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem.

December 15, 2020


Dipping into the Doop of ancestral Sweden.

December 14, 2020

A Crown of Candles

Young Swedish girls represent Saint Lucia in an early morning ritual.

December 11, 2020

Santa Lucia

Rituals of light in the darkness of winter.

December 10, 2020

All I Want For Christmas is a Relativity Cloud

With a little help from quantum physics, Santa could have all the time he needs to make Christmas deliveries.

December 9, 2020

Chasing Mr. Claus

Switzerland’s Klausjagen blends a Catholic holiday with a much older celebration.

December 8, 2020

Celebrating Klausjagen

Whips, bells and a giant paper bishop’s hat.

December 7, 2020


Change Santa Claus’s team of reindeer into a single white horse, replace his costume with a bishop’s robes, and you’ll begin to get a picture of Sinterklaas.

November 30, 2020

The Gabra

This time of year, the Gabra of Northeast Africa celebrate a holiday which commemorates human dependence on seasonal cycles.

November 27, 2020

Masquerade Test

During Nigeria’s Kalabari Masquerade, male dancers risk public humiliation for a chance at prestige.

November 26, 2020

Family Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving unites individuals and families in the spirit of gratitude and sharing.

November 25, 2020

First Thanksgiving

All the trappings of a traditional Native American meal.

November 24, 2020

Drum Language

Listen to the words of a water spirit, communicated through the rhythms of drums.

November 23, 2020

Kalabari Masquerade

The dry winter months are masquerade season for the Kalabari people of Nigeria.

November 20, 2020

Celebrating the Sabbath

For Syrian Jews, the Sabbath is both a time for rest and for song.

November 19, 2020

A Marriage Song

The words of a marriage song reflect a rich and dynamic musical tradition.

November 18, 2020


For a group of Jews with roots in Syria, Pizmon music carries memories of the past as it marks the celebrations of the present.

November 13, 2020

Festival of Light

Welcome to Diwali – a luminous celebration of enlightenment.

November 6, 2020

Persimmon Harvest

An annual harvest of wild persimmons has been a lifelong tradition.

November 5, 2020

The Swinging Chestnut Strikes Again

Older Britons have adopted conkers, a children’s game, and turned it into a competitive spectator sport.

November 4, 2020


Winter in Britain means it’s time to find the perfect chestnut for a game of conkers.

November 3, 2020

Feast for the Dead

Party down with those with your ancestors.

November 2, 2020

Day of the Dead

In early November, many Mexicans visit their departed loved ones, and celebrate the Day of the Dead.

October 30, 2020

Legends of the Mandrake

On Halloween eve, it’s an essential part of any witch’s sorcery kit.

October 29, 2020

Punkie Night

A precursor of Halloween?

October 19, 2020

Giants of Jazz Piano

A 1970’s Jam session at Boston’s Berklee College of Music with th e late Ray Santisi and Makoto Ozone.

September 21, 2020

Water and Song

Casting off the year’s cares during Tashlicht.

September 18, 2020

Bread on the Water

A symbolic practice on the first day of the Jewish New Year.

September 2, 2020

Singing Up the Sun

The celebration of the Cretan cherry harvest continues until dawn, for men singing ancient local songs called rezydika.

September 1, 2020

A Wedding in Crete

Love is in the air and so is a wealth of Cretan music.

August 31, 2020

New Bread Celebration

Bread bakers in Hungary take to the road to enrich and broaden their culinary knowledge and craft.

August 24, 2020

Chinese Bigfoot

Legends of a Chinese Wildman go back 2500 years in eastern literature.

August 20, 2020

The Wildman

Is a large, ape-like creature hiding in the remote forests of China?

July 31, 2020

Barry Farber

Dedicated to the memory of Barry Farber. The pioneering radio talk jock recalls an unforgettable interview with Alfred Hitchcock.

July 21, 2020

Carousel Organs

Painted ponies and pipe organ music from paper scrolls have delighted carousel enthusiasts since the 1800’s.

July 20, 2020

Over the Hill Gang

Reminiscing on the Golden Days of Boxing in San Francisco.

July 17, 2020


A four ton 72 foot tower is carried and danced through the streets of Williamsburg Brooklyn by one hundred men.

July 16, 2020

Cantometrics – Culture and Music

Developed by sound recordist Alan Lomax in the 1950s, Cantometrics is a measure of music in relation to the culture from which it stems.

July 13, 2020

Chinese Fishing Nets

Net fisherman’s chant in Kerala, India.

July 10, 2020


Headphones on for the songs of Brazilian Cowboys.

July 9, 2020

Glowing Spirits

Glowing spirits visit the Bayaka’s nighttime ceremonies.