Today’s Solutions: June 13, 2024

‘Rizz’: unveiling

'Rizz': unveiling and explaining Oxford University's Word of the Year for 2023

As 2023 bids us farewell, we take a lovely linguistic detour, examining not only what we've talked about, but also how we've expressed it. Enter the Oxford Word of the Year, a fragment of vocabulary that captures our conversation. And what about the prize for 2023? It's "rizz," a noun sparkling Read More...

Rosh Hashanah: Unveiling the r

Rosh Hashanah: Unveiling the rich traditions and significance

Today, September 15th, 2023, Jewish communities around the world are preparing for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The Jewish High Holy Days begin with this ancient feast rich in history and ritual. Rosh Hashanah is a significant period of meditation, prayer, and meaningful customs that extends Read More...

Groundhog enjoys the warm spring sun after a long hibernation

A brief history of Groundhog Day

In honor of Groundhog Day 2023, The Optimist Daily shares some background knowledge on this centuries-old American tradition.  The first Groundhog Day Groundhog Day was commemorated for the first time on February 2, 1887, at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, thanks to a "rodent Read More...

A new understanding of an old

A new understanding of an old story—part IV of True American, a mini series

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat." - Audre Lorde Over the course of the True American mini-series, we’ve deconstructed symbols that we think of as “typically American.” In the process, we’ve gained a more nuanced understanding of Read More...

Rhiannon Giddens performs at The Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.

The birth of the banjo— part III of True American, a mini-series

The banjo, widely considered a quintessential symbol of the United States (along with square dancing), is an instrument that tends to conjure up images of white rural life in the Appalachian mountains, or memories of the dueling banjos from the 1972 film "Deliverance" or TV shows like "The Beverly Read More...

The square dancers of today—

The square dancers of today—part II of True American, a mini-series

Last Friday we shared the fascinating history of the square dance in the United States of America. Together, we traced back how it became an emblem of American society that forced so many school kids to endure the often awkward square dancing lessons. Do-si-do anyone? We also discussed the Read More...

Square dance in rural home in McIntosh County Oklahoma. They dance in a simple interior with butcher paper covered walls

The history of square dancing in America—part I of True American

The Optimist Daily is taking a journey into ideas and symbols that shape the world with our our mini-series True American. Our first episode explores what many consider a cornerstone of American culture: Square dancing. Square dancing, contrary to popular belief, is not just a “Southern Read More...

70 island in Palau.

Revealing the history of the earliest transoceanic seafarers

A study carried out by geneticists at Harvard University, in collaboration with Indigenous communities, has revealed five previously undocumented migrations around remote Pacific islands. These people were the world’s earliest transoceanic seafarers, being able to navigate long journeys across Read More...

Front side of typical american porch colonial house with white traditional columns and pillars and American flag

Introducing "True American"— a mini-series

Last month on Independence Day, The New Yorker published an issue featuring cover art by graphic illustrator Christ Ware. The narrative piece, called “House Divided,” boldly captures the sense of polarization underlying this past year’s Fourth of July festivities, and the general atmosphere Read More...

Lunar New Year illustration of Tiger

Year of the tiger: Bringing in the Lunar New Year

On Tuesday this week, almost two billion people all over the world celebrated the Lunar New Year which is also called the Chinese New Year (or the Spring Festival in China). Traditionally, it’s a time to get together with families to honor ancestors and deities and to enjoy the exciting street Read More...