traditions

Aaron Mentele / Flickr

The modern circus has been thrilling audiences for over 250 years, but as times have changed, so has the circus. What began as little more than an equestrian performance has come to include clowns, trapeze artists and even lion tamers.

Impressed, we are. With your #StarWarsDay celebrations, that is. The fourth is strong on the Interwebs.

It's a time for Star Wars-themed treats.

(Even here at NPR.)

And an excuse to show your creative side.

Of course, even this sacred day is not free of the presidential campaign.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will march in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, ending his two-year boycott over a ban on LGBT groups.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast unit that the mayor's decision comes after organizers allowed a new group to march in the upcoming parade. New York's is the largest and oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country.

Gaida / Facebook

Syrian singer and songwriter Gaida is featured this Friday evening at Wesleyan University. Gaida performs innovative interpretations of traditional Syrian songs -- improvisations over Arabic grooves -- and she composes original music.

Owen Byrne flickr.com/photos/ojbyrne / Creative Commons

Airlines are shifting the timing of thousands of flights, even adding dozens of redeyes, as they try to avoid delays while hauling millions of passengers from now through the Christmas weekend.

sipesphoto.com

The New England Jazz Ensemble ushers in the New Year with pianist/arranger Walter Gwardyak's acclaimed jazz band adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf."

Chion Wolf

For the second year, we welcome singer/songwriter extraordinaire "Big Al" Anderson and Emmy Award-winning producer and musician Jim Chapdelaine in studio for songs and stories.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A documentary airing Thursday night on CPTV tells the story of American soldiers stationed in Luxembourg during World War II who, without realizing it, helped to create a new holiday tradition. 

Chris Coomber / Creative Commons

I was visiting my brother in Goshen recently. We were looking at the majestic blue spruce trees in his backyard that he planted as Christmas trees years ago, when his kids were younger.

They've created a backdrop for privacy, and have cherished memories for him and his kids.

Demetri Mouratis flickr.com/photos/dmourati / Creative Commons

Last year at this time, I foolishly offered my choices for the ten best pop Christmas songs. I say foolishly because these list things are always a bad idea for so many reasons. In fact I’m working on a piece that will list the ten biggest reasons why list stories are a bad idea.

Norwalk's Christmas Tree Has a Squirrel Problem

Dec 1, 2015
Airwolfhound flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/8326091066 / Creative Commons

It may be "the most wonderful time of the year," but squirrels are making it not so wonderful in Norwalk, Connecticut.

TheCulinaryGeek / Creative Commons

For most of us, Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn't be the same without pie. Despite stuffing ourselves with turkey and dressing, we all manage to save a little room for pie.

If you are turkey-averse, turkeyphobic or just bored with the bird, fear not. We've got some other main dish ideas for you.

"What I think is cool is to put a center roast on the table that comes from the woods itself: something wild, something home-hunted, like venison," Amy Thielen, Minnesotan and author of The New Midwestern Table, tells All Things Considered's Ari Shapiro. Deer, says Thielen, is "one of those secret underground proteins in the American meat-eating story."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Raouf Mama is a beloved storyteller by children and adults familiar with his books Why Goats Smell Bad and Why Monkeys Live in TreesHis love of storytelling stems from a long and honorable oral tradition that goes back to the ancient empire of Mali, when people preserved the lessons of life in memory instead of on the written page.

Raouf says we each have a story of belonging and identity. He uses his stories to entertain, comfort, and most of all as a tool to enlighten students.

Alma Dzib-Goodin / Flickr

Tonight the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets face off in game one of the 2015 World Series. A lot has changed in the 29 years since either of these clubs won the Series: a tenfold increase in the average player's salary, the commercialization of fantasy baseball, and four new expansion teams. And 'America's pastime,' has become increasingly multi-cultural with players coming from around the world.

Leyda Quast / WNPR

More cities are recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day this year as they revive a movement to change the name of the holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of indigenous cultures around the country. 

Frenchtowner / Creative Commons

Pumpkins line farm stands and garden centers along with mums and corn stalks this time of year. Soon, that age-old tradition of pumpkin carving will happen, but did you know the first Jack-o’-Lantern was actually a turnip?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Raouf Mama is a beloved storyteller by children and adults familiar with his books Why Goats Smell Bad and Why Monkeys Live in TreesHis love of storytelling stems from a long and honorable oral tradition that goes back to the ancient empire of Mali, when people preserved the lessons of life in memory instead of on the written page.

Raouf says we each have a story of belonging and identity. He uses his stories to entertain, comfort, and most of all as a tool to enlighten students.

What Makes a Good Flag Design?

Jul 21, 2015
UNIDO / Creative Commons

Think about the Connecticut state flag. Could you draw it from memory? What does it mean? Did you know that the three grapevines in the seal represent the state's three oldest settlements?

Friday night marked the start of Passover, when Jews around the world tell the story of Exodus. That story, with its radical message of freedom, has resonated with African-Americans since the days of slavery.

More than 40 years ago, these two communities wove their stories together for a new Passover ritual — the Freedom Seder.

Hindu Holi Festival Brings Spring Colors to Waterbury

Mar 13, 2015
John Humphrey / WNPR

Washington Park was still covered in snow this past Sunday, but that did not deter festival-goers from gathering to celebrate Holi, the Hindu spring festival, and the start of their new year.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, which, according to tradition, portends another six weeks of winter.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's just unthinkable to me that "Why Can't It Be Christmas Time All Year" is not a classic, and a staple of holiday music. But it's not. In fact, you've probably never heard of it or Rosie Thomas, who recorded it. And that helps explain why it has been 20 years since any song became a mainstream hit. "All I Want For Christmas Is You", released by Mariah Carey in 1994, did what is now impossible - it survived its first season, and became a song that is played every year during the holidays, and performed by other people. It got a big boost, of course, from the movie "Love Actually", but that's not the only reason it stuck around. But 20 years is a long time to go without another success in that department.

Several years ago, I wrote a sports Christmas story. It was about a greedy basketball superstar who, imbued with Yuletide cheer, helps save his small-market franchise.

A big-time producer wanted to make a TV movie out of it. So off I went to Hollywood to turn my story into a script and thereby, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, make a killing.

Let me tell you: It's hard to write a Christmas story about sport.

Reading, Pa., is one of the poorest cities in the country. So when a shabby-looking, 50-foot Christmas tree went up in the middle of the city's downtown around Thanksgiving, many saw it as a metaphor for the city's troubles.

Elana Amsterdam/flickr creative commons

On the menu... How to make superb steak with velvety peppercorn sauce... the perfect affordable holiday Bordeaux... Spiked Coquito and egg nog... how one of the best food magazine editors learned to correct all her mistakes (and you can, too)... plus holiday gift ideas for food-lovers...

Marta Crowe / Creative Commons

Last week, while discussing some of classical music’s great Christmas works, I casually mentioned that I might want to extend the conversation to the pop music side.

It's like the start of a bad joke: a vegan, a gluten-free and a paleo walk into a bar — except it's your house, and they're gathered around your Thanksgiving table.

More and more Americans are passing on gluten — some for medical reasons, most by choice. Others are adopting diets that exclude meat, or insisting on the kinds of unprocessed foods that early man would have hunted and gathered.

All of this is a challenge to the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Institute for Community Research

The patchwork of Connecticut is one of incredible intricacy and texture, stitched together by the stories of the people that have come to call our small state home. The Hudson family of Bristol has one such story.

Nomadic Lass/flickr creative commons

The day after Thanksgiving is not only the biggest leftover eating spree of the year; movie theaters are as packed as our stomachs are. To catch our list of what's playing now and what's coming for the holidays, listen to our conversation with Arnold Gorlick, founder of Madison Art Cinemas in Madison, Conn.

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