Unbelievably Strange Customs Followed All Around the World

Bedouin coffee ritual
Customs and traditions differentiate an ethnic group or a community from others. There is tradition or "way of doing things" for any situation or occasion. Some are amusing, some are interesting and some are downright strange. To learn some strange traditions followed by people around the globe, scroll below.
From bull running to Hara-Kiri, dueling to blackening the bride, there are so many traditions and customs around the world, that run to gauntlet from cute to absurd. And different customs exist for diverse occasions, like marriage rituals and festivals. In this article, take a peek at life around the globe without leaving your seat, with our list of strange customs around the world.

Strange Customs in Europe

Out of approximately 50 countries, Spain is the el líder (leader) among European nations, when it comes to weird traditions. Below are some of the strangest Spanish customs.

La Tomatina
A massive food fight, with crushed tomatoes as the weapons of choice. The town of Buñol runs red with tomato juice, from its citizens and shops to the streets.

Caga Tia
This Christmas custom involves a log, which is hollow and has a cute face painted on one end. You must buy the log on December 8th and it must be "fed" daily. Come Christmas Eve, the log should be placed near the fireplace and "beaten" with a stick. The punishment forces the log to eject nuts, candies and fruits. Its final gift is a garlic bulb or onions or salt herring. There's even an encouraging song to sing along while "beating" the log.

El Colacho
This is the sport of long jumping with a twist. The town of Castrillo de Murcia exorcises their 1 year old inhabitants, by laying them out on a mattress and the devil and his assistant jump over them. This custom is meant to represent the devil running away from the town and taking any evil present in the infants with him.

Strange Customs in Asia and Australia

☛ While there are infinite marriage customs and traditions in India, one ritual that is amusing and touching is the Kashi Yatra. This takes place at the groom's house, before he arrives at the marriage hall for the ceremony. The groom pretends he wants to be a holy man and live a life of religion, so he decides to go to Kashi (a holy place). His household plays along and helps him collect a walking stick and some bare essentials for the trip. Just as he is about to leave, the bride's father comes and extols the virtues of his daughter and why the groom should marry her. After some good-natured ribbing and laughs on both sides, the groom decides to get married instead and proceeds to the marriage venue.

☛ When meeting someone new or old, a handshake is the norm. But in Middle-Eastern culture, there are different rules when it comes to greeting someone physically. For example, a man will greet a new or old acquaintance with a kiss on the right cheek, then the left, patting the back or shoulders at the same time. If they know each other but are meeting after a long time, then the greeting is as follows: shake hands, kiss on the right cheek, then the left and finally on the right again.

☛ In Bedouin circles, a rule while accepting tea or coffee is to give a slight shake or jiggle of the empty cup, while returning it, to indicate that you are done and do not want anymore coffee. If you fail to shake the cup, be prepared to keep getting it refilled!

☛ In the land Down Under, the term "B.Y.O" is used in party and get-together invitations. It denotes "Bring your own", which means you are expected to bring your own beverages, alcoholic or not to the event! Some restaurants and eateries allow "BYO"'s, where you can opt for your own alcoholic drinks instead of purchasing them from the restaurant.

Strange African Customs

♝ The Sebou custom marks the occasion of a newborn and is followed by all religious sects of Egypt. The ceremony takes place seven days, after the birth of the child. A grand feast is prepared, family members from far and wide, friends and neighbors are invited to meet the infant for the first time. Gold jewelry in the form of bracelets, amulets and pendants are given as gifts. The baby is bathed and dressed in new clothes. It is placed in a colander or sieve, which is decorated and the women surround the colander and sing. The colander is gently rocked or shaken while the chanting takes place. The strange part is that, the mother must step over the colander, without touching it, seven times. Meanwhile the other women bang vessels, yell and shout and sing at the top of their voices, making a deafening din. This ceremony is a sort of cleansing ritual for the newborn, to get rid of evil and bad spirits. All the noise and clamor is to show the newborn, what a nosy and loud world exists out there.

♝ The different tribes of Africa have diverse rituals and customs in all spheres of life. Here are some strange rites for different situations:

♣ At a funeral, children and unmarried adults are barred from entry. Family members stand on one side of the grave and other people on the other side. The family cannot speak at the funeral.

♣ The Baganda tribe of Uganda create or prepare graves for their members, when they are still children!

Lobola is a marriage custom, where the groom and his family have to present gifts or money to his fiancée and her family. Some tribes regard Lobola as a compensation to the bride's family for taking her away. It is also regarded as a thank you tradition, for the groom to express his gratitude to the bride's family, for blessing their union.

♣ The Masai tribe has a rite of passage custom for boys above 12 years of age. For a boy to become a warrior of the tribe, he must be circumcised. This operation takes place without anesthetic and to show his bravery and strength, the young boy must not flinch or show any pain or emotion. He has to wear black clothes and live apart from his village for 4-8 months. This ceremony is called Emuratare.

What is perfectly normal to some, can seem strange to others, even in the same country. Celebrating the Chinese New Year is a normal festival for New Yorkers but folks from Wisconsin might find it a little weird. From the above different and sometimes weird customs around the world, one thing's for sure, no matter what the occasion, there's a custom or ritual for it.
Advertisement