Different cultures: Strange traditions around the world


They say that it’s a small world, but is it really? How much do we really know about the different cultures with all their strange traditions?

People are so different in their way of life that what feels like a customary tradition to some seems like a bizarre notion to others.

And remember that if you look for the deep meaning behind these strange traditions, you will probably find that they make weird sense, regardless of their eccentricity.

So let’s take a look at some of the strange traditions around the world, and keep in mind that what may seem so weird to you feels totally normal to other cultures. And vice versa!

Carrying the wife over burning coals, China

Carrying the wife over burning coals, China


Some tribes in China follow a strange tradition where the husband carries his wife and walks over burning coals.

These tribes believe that this practice would help the wife have painless labor. And some believe that walking over burning coals prevents natural disasters.

Some choose to do this as the husband and wife take their first step into their new home and some choose to do it when they know that the wife is pregnant.

The husband usually does this barefoot with his wife on his back. Ouch, this tradition seems pretty painful!

Carrying the wife over burning coals, China

The baby jumping festival, Spain

Baby jumping festival, Spain

In a yearly festival locally called El Colacho in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, men dressed as yellow devils run and jump over babies.

During this festival babies born in the previous year are placed in arranged rows of pillows spaced out down a public street. Then men dressed in bright yellow costumes, and weird masks begin to run down the street jumping over the rows of children like Olympic hurdlers.

This tradition started in the early 1600s; the villagers believe that it keeps the devil away from these children. The babies are sprinkled with rose petals after the run.

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The baby jumping festival, Spain

Breaking porcelain for good luck, Germany

Breaking porcelain for good luck, Germany

The German custom is called Polterabend. It is an informal party where the family and friends of soon to be wed couples gather to break porcelain items such as dinner wares and flower vases.

The couples should then clear up the broken things. This tradition is believed to bring good luck to the new marriage. Or at least to show the couple the significance of hard work and unity, which are an integral part of any marriage.

Breaking porcelain for good luck, Germany

Cinnamon birthday party, Denmark

Cinnamon birthday party, Denmark

If you are single in Denmark, it is customary for your friends and family to throw you a birthday celebration by covering you in cinnamon when you reach 25.

Many believe that the tradition dates back to when spice salesmen would travel around and remain bachelors. These salesmen never settled in one place long enough to meet a suitable spouse.

However, the Danish people probably kept the tradition because it provides them with a fun way to celebrate a significant birthday.

Well, it’s all fun and games until you reach 30, then they exchange cinnamon with peppers. That doesn’t sound like fun!

Cinnamon birthday party, Denmark

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Bullet ant initiation, Brazil

Bullet ant initiation, Brazil

According to the Satere-Mawe Tribe from the Amazon rain forest, Brazil, a boy does not become a man unless he can withstand being stung by a swarm of Bullet Ants.

This ant has the most painful sting among all insects; some even say the sting is just as excruciating as being shot by a bullet.

The initiation ritual includes the boys sticking their hands in a glove full of bullet ants while they dance.

Moreover, this tradition is not a one-time thing; the boy must go through this routine as many times as it takes for him not to cry during the process. The day he can endure this torture without shedding a single tear, is the day he becomes a real man.

Bullet ant initiation, Brazil - strange traditions

Saluting a magpie, England

Saluting a magpie, England - strange traditions

In England, seeing a solo magpie is thought to bring bad luck, however, the English people have come up with the perfect antidote for this prevailing bad luck: Salute the magpie!

So if you come across someone walking alone and saying: “Good morning Mr. Magpie. How is your lady wife today?” don’t worry, they are not crazy or anything, just warding off sorrow and bad luck

.Saluting a magpie, England - strange traditions

Spreading a feast for monkeys, Thailand

Spreading a feast for monkeys, Thailand - strange traditions

In honor and celebration of the huge numbers of macaques living in Lopburi, Thailand, a luxurious banquet is held every year. This annual buffet is to thank the monkeys for all the good luck they bring the area and the people living there.

The Monkey Buffet Festival is enjoyed by many people, in fact, tourists flock to the town around the last Sunday of November to witness this spectacular event.

The annual festival starts with an opening ceremony including elaborate performances by dancers wearing monkey costumes.

When the guests of honor, aka the monkeys, arrive, the sheets covering the banquet tables are removed to reveal decorative spreads of fruits and vegetables.

Watching the macaques jump across the tables and climb the huge pyramids of vegetables and fruits, around two tons of offerings every year, is certainly fun. Nonetheless, spreading a feast for monkeys is definitely one of the top strange traditions around the world.

Spreading a feast for monkeys, Thailand - strange traditions


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Customs of the tribes of the Thai north

One of the traditions of the women in the brother’s tribe is to wear skirts decorated with ribbons and medals and to put a cap on their heads made of silver balls decorated with a group of coins and beads of various colors, and one of their other traditions is not to use this tribe to write, as they explain that from one of the ancient myths that say Their texts were written on the skins of bulls, and in one war the invaders ate these skins.

Tomato War

The tomato war is one of the traditions spread in the city of Valencia, one of the cities of Spain. The participants all come together to eat.

Empty plate

There are also some strange peoples’ eating habits, such as finishing your plate in India and Japan and not leaving food in it is one of the customs and traditions of the people there, which indicates that you have enjoyed your meal, but in China, it indicates that you did not feel full, and it is considered unacceptable behavior.

Lotus foot or golden foot

Foot folding was a popular custom in the tenth century in China, which was at that time a condition for female marriage, as the small foot was a symbol of beauty at the time, and mothers used to tie their daughters ’feet with bandages from the ages of four and five, forcing them to endure pain for several years.

The strangest traditions in the Arab world 

Handshake by kissing the nose

There are many ways to shake hands when meeting people. But one of the strangest ways to shake hands in Saudi Arabia is to shake hands by kissing the nose. Kissing takes place in more than one way, usually in the form of striking each other’s noses with one, two or three blows. Or when two people meet, they may shake hands and then start touching the tip of the other’s nose.

It is also possible for the first person to place his right hand on the left shoulder of the other person, and the second person does the same, touching each other’s nose once, twice, or three times in succession, quickly, and without speaking, after which the peace and greetings begin and the question about conditions. This handshake occurs as a result of their belief that the nose is a symbol of pride and elevation among the Arabs.

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Yowlah dance

Every country has a dance that is a symbol of it and distinguishes it from other countries. The yowlah dance is the most famous dance in the UAE. This dance is performed by lining up, holding hands, holding a stick, and reciting poetry.

The steps of this dance are represented by a battle scene from confronting the enemy to celebrating victory. It is one of the basic dances when celebrating the National Day.

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Hya Bya

It is usually associated with children in Bahrain on Eid al-Adha. Where the children make a small mat out of palm fronds and it is planted with grains such as barley and wheat.

Then they hang it in their homes until it grows up and throw it into the sea on the day of Arafat as a small sacrifice for them.

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For more about interesting cultures and strange traditions see also:

Tribal lifestyle: the life of the Tuareg

Peculiar cultures: Weird tribes around the world

Extreme tourist destinations: The Edge of The World