Brendan Davies

Dynamite in Small Packages: Japan’s Amazing Literacy Rate

Fact: The literacy rate in Japan is almost 100% Yes, it is true that overall, Japanese literacy is near 100%. In fact, this is why a language spoken by only one country with no colonial influence and only a few isolated pockets of emigrants throughout the world can be categorized as one of the top 10(…)

How to Have a Lucky New Year Around the World

Fact: In Italy, people will wear red underwear on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck for the upcoming year.    Red: the color of blood, the Devil, and witchcraft. Red was a color banned from being used in clothing until the Middle Ages, when people in Europe (and in particular in Italy)(…)

Disney Lied! A Breakdown of the Greek Gods

Fact: In the Disney movie Hercules, the only character without a Greek name is Hercules As the good little students of world history that we are, many of us will remember that the Romans borrowed the basic concepts for most of their gods, heroes, and indeed religion from their antecedents and compatriots, the Greeks. While we(…)

Germany: Land of Beer, Sausage and… Gummy Bears?

Fact: Gummy bears were invented by a German. Most people would probably think that Gummy Bears are an American invention; it could be because of the 1980’s animated television series “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears”. Perhaps, we link this candy to the United States because they are commonly used as toppings for frozen yogurt(…)

French Kisses, Fries and Toast Explained

Fact: French toast was not invented by French people. It’s true – French toast is a recipe that significantly predates France as a country. Originating sometime before the 4th century AD in Rome, so called “French” toast began as a way to not waste stale bread, instead soaking it in milk and fresh eggs and(…)

Fortune Cookies and… Piñatas?

Fact: The piñata was invented in China Like many world traditions, the piñata was not actually invented in the country that made it most famous. Though most associated with Mexico, the piñata is actually believed to have been invented in China. Commonly in the shape of an ox or cow and originally filled with seeds,(…)