History Articles – Page 2

Certain Sweet Myths about Valentine's Day

Myths about Valentine’s Day run the gamut from fanciful to reasonable. Here are a few we thought you might enjoy.

Compared to holidays like Christmas and Halloween, myths about Valentine’s Day tend to be rather tame. Except, of course, for the one that millions of men fall afoul of every year. You know, the one where you claim the holiday’s no big deal. Sure, it’s OK to skip Valentine’s Day — if you want to be single on February 15.

In all seriousness, there are a few Valentine’s Day myths you might want to consider the next time you’re buying a box of Valentine cards for your kid’s kindergarten class. Here are three interesting ones.

Read More…

Opening Up Some Common Christmas Myths, Part II

Christmas is all about tradition, but some popular holiday beliefs and practices are more Christmas myths than reality. Like these, for example.

In Part I of this article about Christmas myths, we offered the straight skinny on the fat man and several other Christmas traditions that aren’t so traditional. For example, there’s the idea that Christmas was always a big holiday here in the States, and the concept that Christmas trees have a long history here, too.

The truth is, these traditions are less than two hundred years old. Some, like Christmas trees, are much younger. In this shocking conclusion to our Christmas issue, we’ll take a look at a few more traditions that are more mythical (and/or recent) than most of us might believe.

Read More…

Let's Open Up Some Common Christmas Myths, Part I

The jolly fat man in the red suit is coming (supposedly!), so we thought it was about time to put some popular Christmas myths to the test.

Christmas myths are legion. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a holiday more bedecked with legend and ritual. But what’s really hard is separating the newer, mercantile aspects of the season from the hard kernel of tradition that still remains, well hidden.

In this two-part article, that’s exactly what we’ll try to do. While we can’t clear away all the cobwebs in one go, we’ll at least try to set you straight on a few things everyone knows about Christmas that just ain’t so.

Read More…

Deconstructing Four Classic Thanksgiving Myths

The Pilgrims invented Thanksgiving, right? Well…not really. This is just one of the more common Thanksgiving myths that we’ll examine in this article.

Thanksgiving myths are common and persistent in American culture, possibly because they’ve been institutionalized in our schools and passed down from one generation to another. Just because they’re the official stories we’re told, does not make them true.

In fact, Thanksgiving is an invented tradition that owes more to Abe Lincoln for making it a formal holiday, than to the Pilgrims. Who, by the way, weren’t even introduced as a part of the holiday until the late 19th century! Care to learn more Thanksgiving facts? Read on.

Read More…

The Misunderstood Holiday: Silly Myths About Halloween

If you’re one of those people believing Halloween is pure evil, have we got some news for you…

October 31st is all about scary stuff — so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of myths about Halloween, shrouding the reality of the actual holiday. Some of them are creepy urban legends, like the warnings about all those random candy poisonings (which never really happened). Some are about the holiday itself.

It’s the latter we’ll be covering in this special episode of Mythbusters. Halloween has gotten a bad rap from some folks in the past few years, so we thought we’d clue you in on the true story behind a few of the myths we’ve been hearing lately.

Read More…

Some Common Olympic Myths

If you think the Olympic torch tradition is a legacy of the ancient Greeks, then you’ve fallen for one of the more persistent Olympic myths; it’s actually a Nazi invention. Intrigued? Read on!

Whether you believe the demigod Herakles or the Lydian prince Pelops founded the ancient Olympics (there are Olympic myths claiming both), it’s a fact that the Games are shrouded in their own special brand of mythology. It goes without saying that most of those myths are a far cry from fact — but we’ll say it anyway.

So grab your torch and follow along as we take a closer look at a trio of interesting and tenacious myths about the Olympic Games, ancient and modern, and offer up the fascinating truth behind all three.

Read More…

No Constitutional Right to Privacy? That's A Myth That Must Be Busted!

Most Americans believe in a constitutional right to privacy — but does it really exist? The answer is yes, but it’s not as clear-cut as most people think.

In early 2003, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania announced his belief that no American has a Constitutional right to privacy, a shocking assertion to hear from a high government official. Because this was inserted as an aside in a more controversial statement, it was mostly overlooked — but not entirely.

Pundits have been weighing in the subject sporadically ever since. The dismaying fact is, Santorum was right — to a certain extent. There’s no specific mention of the word “privacy” anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. But that doesn’t mean that the subject isn’t covered there, and it’s time that myth was busted.

Read More…

History Myths Revisited

If there’s one subject we can count on to provide us with abundant misperceptions, it’s history — which is why we’re returned to take another look at history myths.

Why are there so many history myths? Probably because as kids, we tend to accept whatever our teachers tell us as gospel. While teachers don’t usually mean us harm, they’ve been known to pass on the occasional, accidental morsel of misinformation. Some myths get passed down this way for centuries.

The upshot is that some things we know to be true simply aren’t, and history seems to offer more examples than most fields of study. That’s why we’ve come back to the subject for this episode of Mythbusters. Here are three more popular myths we’ve ferreted out, along with the truth about each.

Read More…

The True History of Seven Popular History Myths, Part II

Still got the history blues? Maybe the truth about these three history myths will help.

It’s been said that we teach our children our history myths, not our actual history. Maybe that’s true, because there’s no shortage of myths about the historical record. In Part I.html of this article, we looked at four such myths, covering everything from Napoleon’s stature to Betsy Ross; in this half, we’ll take on three more myths.

Read More…

The True History of Seven Popular History Myths, Part I

Don’t know much about history? Then you’ll be happy to see these history myths fall by the wayside.

Some scholars spend their entire careers trying to set the facts straight about history myths. And yet these myths persist, probably because they’re bite-sized ways to make history simple and interesting.

This is no surprise, really, since there’s so much history to learn about, and it tends to be so complex — and, ultimately, so mundane. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying! In this two-part article, we’ll introduce you to the reality behind some common myths about history. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Read More…