Quiz: Origins of Popular Traditions

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
Quiz: Origins of Popular Traditions
Image: Bestie Van de Meer/DigitalVision/Getty Images

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

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The traditional birthstones were first used on which of the following?
the Ark of the Covenant
the breastplate of Aaron
Aaron was the brother of Moses, and on his ceremonial breastplate he wore 12 gems signifying the 12 tribes of Israel.
the seal of King Tutankhamen

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Placing Election Day on a Tuesday in November is due to which of the following?
the significance of the number three in the days of the week
compromise between Republican and Whig parties
the needs of an agrarian society
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.

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Which of the following people claimed to have invented the high-five while playing basketball for Michigan State?
Dusty Baker
Magic Johnson
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.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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In 1952, brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano threw which ocean animal onto the ice of a Detroit Red Wings game?
a sea star
an octopus
It was an octopus! The cephalopod's eight tentacles represented the number of wins needed to take the Stanley Cup.
a bucket of squid

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Which of the following ancient cultures used mistletoe to promote fertility in sheep?
the Greeks
the Celts
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.
the Mongolians

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What is one traditional function of a wedding's best man?
to ensure the groom goes through with the marriage
to ensure the bride goes through with the marriage
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.
to ensure bridesmaids are entertained at the wedding

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When you spill salt, you might throw a pinch over your right shoulder. Why?
to placate and/or hurt the devil watching from over that shoulder
Is it an offering or a weapon? Unclear. What is clear is that thrown salt keeps the devil from doing bad things to you.
to demonstrate your wealth
because Judas threw salt at Jesus on the cross

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The tradition of freezing wedding cake to be eaten on the one-year anniversary is due to what?
the idea that a marriage is only truly official after it has held for a year
to celebrate the birth of an assumed child
Traditionally, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage -- likely about a year after the wedding.
because young couples were assumed to be too poor to cook a second cake for their one-year anniversary

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We wave lighters (and now cell phones) during rock concert power ballads. Were did this tradition start?
at Woodstock
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.
at the Doors' Aquarius Theater shows
during Hendrix's "Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire"

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You Got:
/10
Bestie Van de Meer/DigitalVision/Getty Images
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