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CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD

What are nomads?

Nomads are tribes that migrate in a seasonal circuit over a large region. Though nomadic people often build temporary homes, they consider migratory life within their tribe to be home. Nomadic tribes are located in marginal areas around the world, from the Sahara Desert to northern Siberia. The nomadic way of life is threatened because of general cultural prejudice against unsettled peoples.

What is a Gypsy?

Gypsies are nomadic tribes that travel throughout Europe. Though they once were thought to have originated in Egypt (hence the European name for them), linguistic studies have placed their origin in India. These traveling tribes have been subject to centuries of persecution, including "Gypsy hunts" and extermination at the Auschwitz Death Camp.

What is brain drain?

When highly educated or highly skilled individuals leave their home countries to go to countries where opportunities are better, the home country experiences "brain drain."

Many Arabic people live nomadic lives, such as this man living in the Al Khatim desert in the United Arab Emirates.

Many Arabic people live nomadic lives, such as this man living in the Al Khatim desert in the United Arab Emirates.

This occurs especially in Asian countries, as highly educated Asians move to the United States, Canada, and Australia for higher-paying jobs.

How do people cope with continual light or darkness in high latitudes?

Murmansk, Russia, is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. The city receives no sunlight for several months out of the year, making it one of the most psychologically extreme environments on the planet. Residents of the city (about 470,000) walk along artificially lit streets that give the appearance of sunlight, undergo artificial sun treatments (much like tanning booths), and often suffer from the condition known as Polar Night Stress. Polar Night Stress symptoms include fatigue, depression, vision problems, and susceptibility to colds and flues.

What is a long lot?

Long lots are long and narrow pieces of property. This type of division of land is common in Europe and places in North America that were initially settled by the French (such as Québec and Louisiana). Each lot has a narrow access to a stream or road but is several hundreds of feet deep.

Why do some cultures kill infants?

Infanticide is the practice of killing an infant. For centuries, various cultures around the globe used infanticide as a form of population control, most commonly because their limited food supply could only feed a certain number of humans. Because of cultural biases, female infants were more often victims of infanticide. The practice of infanticide still occurs today.

Why don't Americans eat horse meat?

Most religions and cultural groups have some kinds of food taboos. Foods may be avoided entirely or may be avoided on certain days or during certain festivals. Religious food taboos include the avoidance of pork by Muslims and Jews and the avoid-

Why do some people eat dirt?

The practice of eating dirt, called geophagy, is most commonly practiced by pregnant and lactating women. Since women's bodies require additional nutrients during pregnancy and lactation, the body craves clays and dirts that carry these additional minerals. This practice is most common in Africa, but the practice spread to the United States with the forced migration of Africans during slavery. Geophagy is now also practiced in the southern United States, but the practice has become a cultural rather than physiological action.

ance of beef by Hindus. Cultural food taboos also play an important role. For example, Americans don't eat horse meat because it is a cultural food taboo, despite the fact that horse meat is a nutritional and edible type of food.

How many McDonald's restaurants are there in the world?

To some people McDonald's represents the extreme example of cultural imperialism, an import of one's culture supplanted into another. Today, there are 31,000 McDonald's restaurants located in 119 countries.

Why does a first-born son get everything?

Primogeniture is the system of inheritance in which all inheritable land and property is passed on to the first-born son. A common worldwide tradition, primogeniture enabled a family's possessions and status to remain intact as they were passed from generation to generation. This practice of the entire inheritances benefiting only the first-born son resulted in subsequent sons needing to find alternative livelihoods.

Can a woman have multiple husbands?

While some cultures allow men to have multiple wives, there are other cultures that allow women to have multiple husbands. This practice, known as polyandry, is presently observed by only two cultures, the Tibetans and the Nair people of southwestern India. Polygyny, when men have multiple wives, remains legal in Islamic and many African countries. The collective name for multiple spouses, both polyandry and polygyny, is polygamy.

When did people start eating with forks and spoons?

Though introduced in the fifteenth century, forks and spoons did not come into common use in Europe until the seventeenth century. Prior to that time, people ate with their hands and a knife.

What is the most common last name in the world?

Zhang (or Chang) is the surname used by more than 100 million people.

 
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