Beliefs & traditions 7

From the quiz on 25/4/17.

  1. Kan’ō, also known as hanami, is the annual Japanese custom of viewing which tree’s blossoms when in full bloom? Sakura (cherry)

  2. David Miscavige, who assumed the role of chairman of the Religious Technology Center in 1987, is the current de facto leader of which religious organization? (Church of) Scientology

  3. According to the Old Testament, who had sons named Gershom and Eliezer, a wife named Zipporah, a sister named Miriam and a brother named Aaron? Moses

  4. Surya (in Hindu mythology), Inti (in Incan), Tonatiuh (in Aztec) and Apollo (in Graeco–Roman) are deities associated with which celestial body? Sun

  5. In Norse mythology, the goddess Freyja rides a chariot pulled by two of which animal? Cat

  6. In Jewish folklore, what name, from the Hebrew for “cling”, is given to a malevolent wandering spirit that possesses a living person? Dybbuk

  7. What must a Muslim do according to sawm, the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam? Fast (during Ramadan)

  8. The world’s second-largest Oktoberfest celebration takes place annually in the twin cities of Kitchener–Waterloo in which Commonwealth country? Canada

  9. In Greek mythology, Maenads (from the Greek for “to go mad”) are the frenzied female followers of which revelrous god? Dionysus (Bacchus)

  10. Static jump, spurning the barre and shin-kicking are among the many events at an annual Olimpick Games held in Chipping Campden in which range of English hills? Cotswolds

Specialist: Japanese culture

From the quiz on 11/4/17.

  1. Yokohama DeNA BayStars, Tokyo Yakult Swallows and Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters are professional teams in which sport, the most popular in Japan? Baseball

  2. Itadakimasu and gochisō-sama deshita are polite Japanese phrases respectively uttered immediately before and after which common activity? Eating (a meal)

  3. What colour is the day celebrated in Japan (and other East Asian countries) on 14th March, when men traditionally reciprocate Valentine’s Day gifts received from women? White

  4. What is signified by wearing a kimono with the right side wrapped over the left (from the wearer’s perspective) instead of the more usual left over right? That the wearer is dead

  5. In Japan, it is considered good luck if the first dream of the new year (hatsuyume) contains Mount Fuji, which bird and which vegetable? Hawk, aubergine

Beliefs & traditions 6

From the quiz on 27/9/16.

  1. In Greek mythology, in which ship does Jason sail in search of the Golden Fleece? Argo

  2. In the Book of Exodus, what did God use to communicate to Moses on Mount Horeb that he was to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, Canaan? Burning bush

  3. Le Morte d’Arthur, one of the main stores of Arthurian legend in English, was compiled or written in the 15th century by which English author? Thomas Malory

  4. In Mahayana Buddhism, what name, from the Sanskrit for “one whose essence is perfect knowledge”, is given to a person who delays their own enlightenment in order to help all other sentient beings attain nirvana? Bodhisattva

  5. The koru, a traditional spiral-shaped Māori symbol often used to represent creation, is a stylized representation of the unfurling frond of which plant endemic to New Zealand? Silver fern

  6. In Norse mythology, what animal is Heiðrún, who produces mead for slain warriors in Valhalla? Goat

  7. The Universal House of Justice the supreme governing institution of which religion founded in Persia in the 19th century? Bahá’í

  8. The Gurning World Championships, in which competitors must put their head through a horse collar and make the ugliest face possible, are held each year as part of the Egremont Crab Fair in which English county? Cumbria (historically Cumberland)

  9. What is the full three-word name of the city and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galicia in northern Spain whose cathedral is the reputed burial place of St James the Greater? Santiago de Compostela

  10. Historically used as a skin whitener and makeup remover by kabuki actors and geisha, uguisu no fun is a traditional facial cosmetic made from which product of the Japanese bush warbler? Excrement

Specialist: Norse mythology

From the quiz on 6/9/16

  1. How many successive winters constitute Fimbulvetr, the extreme winter that immediately precedes Ragnarök? Three

  2. What animal are Odin’s faithful companions Geri and Freki? Wolves

  3. Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld are three principal members of which race of female deities who reside in a well at the base of Yggdrasil and determine the fates of all humans? Norns (Nornir)

  4. The deities Frey and Freyja are the twin children of the god Njord by which of his relatives? Sister

  5. The clouds are said to have been created when which part of the ancestral jötunn (giant) Ymir was thrown into the sky? Brain

  6. What name, meaning “wrath” in Old Norse, is given to the sword with which the hero Sigurd (Siegfried) slays the dragon Fáfnir? Gram

Beliefs & traditions 5

From the quiz on 26/7/16.

  1. Legendary crossbowman William Tell is said to have liberated which country from an oppressive Austrian ruler named Gessler in the early 14th century? Switzerland

  2. A kangling is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist trumpet-like instrument carved from which large human bone? Femur

  3. Which saint is depicted on the Annulus Piscatoris (Ring of the Fisherman), which is worn as part of the Pope’s regalia and was used to seal official documents prior to the introduction of wax in 1842? St Peter

  4. Originally that of the priesthood, what is the name of the highest caste in the Hindu caste system? Brahman (Brahmin)

  5. In Greek mythology, the ninth labour of Heracles was to retrieve the magical girdle of Hippolyta, the queen of which race of warriors? Amazons

  6. In American folklore, what is the name of the giant lumberjack who is accompanied by his pet Babe the Blue Ox and is said to have created, amongst others, the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the Grand Canyon? Paul Bunyan

  7. In Norse mythology, which god has golden teeth, rides a golden-maned horse named Gulltopp, and lives in Himinbjörg at the heavenly end of the rainbow bridge Bifröst, which he constantly defends against mountain giants? Heimdall

  8. Which common English phrase has its origins in chapter 5 of the Book of Daniel, in which the Aramaic inscription “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” foretells the imminent downfall of King Belshazzar? The writing’s on the wall

  9. What name, literally meaning “head of the year” in Hebrew, is given to the Jewish New Year festival, which is held on 1st Tishri each year? Rosh Hashanah

  10. Since the coronation of George III in 1761, which Oxfordshire town has celebrated important royal occasions with an event in which thousands of currant buns are thrown off the roof of the old county hall to the townsfolk assembled below? Abingdon

Beliefs & traditions 4

From the quiz on 7/6/16. Download the audio for Q5 here.

  1. In English tradition, it is said that the kingdom will fall if which resident birds leave the Tower of London? Ravens

  2. In Greek mythology, who is the god of fire, craftsmen and the forge, equivalent to Vulcan in Roman mythology? Hephaestus

  3. According to the ancient practice of the levirate, which is mandatory in many holy books (including the Hebrew Bible), a man is obliged to marry which of his relatives’ widows? Brother

  4. The so-called Four Noble Truths, which describe a kind of suffering called dukkha, its origin, its cessation and the path to its cessation, are the essence of the teachings of which religious figure? Buddha

  5. **Inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012, Arirang is a traditional song of which ethnic group? Koreans

  6. What is the literal meaning of the Latin phrase ex cathedra, which is used especially of the Pope when he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals as infallibly true for the entire Catholic Church? From the chair/seat

  7. In West African and Caribbean folklore, Anansi is a trickster god who commonly takes the form of which arthropod? Spider

  8. Lammas, whose name means “loaf mass” in Old English, is a pagan harvest festival traditionally observed on the first day of which month of the year? August

  9. Which English occultist founded Thelema (Greek: “will”), a religion whose central tenet is “Do what thou wilt” and whose most sacred text, Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law), was allegedly disclosed to him by a disembodied higher intelligence named Aiwass? Aleister Crowley

  10. Which follower’s death caused Jesus to weep in John 11:35, the shortest verse in the King James Version of the Bible, which simply states “Jesus wept”? Lazarus

Beliefs & traditions 3

From the quiz on 5/4/16.

  1. In Greek mythology, Boreas, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus are the four chief members of the Anemoi, a group of gods that preside over which element of the weather? Wind

  2. To which two saints is Bath Abbey dedicated? Peter and Paul

  3. In China, Japan and many other East Asian cultures, lovers who are fated to meet are said to be joined by an invisible string of which colour? Red

  4. In Hinduism, what is the name of the divine monkey chief who is a devoted follower of Rama, seventh avatar of Vishnu? Hanuman

  5. What food is thrown in the traditional fight that takes place every year on the last Wednesday in August in the Spanish town of Buñol? Tomatoes (La Tomatina)

  6. In the Book of Genesis, whose wife turned into a pillar of salt after disobeying orders and looking back at the city of Sodom? Lot

  7. In Islam, what name is given to any of the beautiful virgin companions that await the faithful in Jannah (paradise)? Houri

  8. In an initiation rite used by the Sateré-Mawé, an indigenous people of the Brazilian Amazon, a boy must survive ten minutes with his hands in gloves filled with which species of stinging insect? Bullet ant

  9. What is the name of the system of psychotherapy developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and used by its followers purportedly to cure psychosomatic disorders by purging the mind of traumatic images? Dianetics

  10. In an English tradition attested in Chaucer, revived in the Victorian era and latterly maintained in the town of Great Dunmow in Essex, couples who have not regretted their marriage for a whole year may be awarded a flitch of which food? Bacon