Remember the first time you met other cultures and traditions, they can be strange sometimes. Here are some interesting traditions and habits…
1. No toilet paper, India
Many visitors would be startled to learn that toilet paper is not readily available in Indian toilets. In reality, to clean up afterward, water from a tiny pail situated next to the toilet is used. Using toilet paper is generally not a good idea because it can clog pipes and generate additional waste.
2. No using the bathroom after marriage, Indonesia
In the community of Tidong in Indonesia, a married couple is not allowed to go to the bathroom for 3 days after being wed. If they do, it’s considered bad luck for their marriage. The newlyweds are watched over by their family members who ensure they don’t break this tradition, while given small amounts of food and water.
3. Spit on others to greet them, Maasai
While spitting is considered rude in many cultures, in the Kenyan Maasai tribe it is the customary way of greeting and showing respect. Members of the tribe will spit into their hands before shaking them, and they also do this to newborn babies or even a bride to bless them and bring them good luck.
4. Don’t gift a yellow rose, Mexico
Roses are a wonderful way to express emotion almost anywhere in the world. However, certain cultures associate specific roses with specific meanings when choosing a hue. In Mexico, a traditional red rose is preferred over a yellow rose, which is associated with death in Mexican culture.
5. Smashing plates before a wedding, Germany
— Christian Conrad (@RA_Conrad) May 9, 2018
A few weeks before a German wedding, a tradition known as Polterabend takes place. The couple’s guests bring pottery which is smashed at the couple’s home. Afterward the bride and groom have to clean up the mess, an act which is believed to bring good luck and encourage teamwork for their upcoming marriage.
6. Denmark has a tradition of sprinkling cinnamon on solitary people.
A historic Danish tradition from the 16th century is still practiced today. Friends will sprinkle a person with cinnamon if they are single on their birthday. The custom is a nod to the Danish spice merchants who, due to their extensive travels across the continent, typically had little time for marriage.
7. Arrive late, Venezuela
Whether you’re attending an event, a meeting, or a party in Venezuela, it’s common for people to arrive later than originally planned. Venezuelans enjoy a relaxed pace when it comes to business, and for big social events arriving late simply means making a big entrance.
8. Wearing funny hats when single, France
— LInternaute.com (@LInternauteInfo) October 10, 2017
In France, the 25th of November celebrates Sainte Catherine, the young patron saint of unmarried women. On this day, women who have reached 25 years of age wear green and yellow hats which signify wisdom and faith. While some “Catherinettes” celebrate the day in hopes of being married soon, others proudly embrace their single life.
9. South Africa, you’re throwing your furniture out the window.
Many countries light fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but in South Africa, a distinct kind of tradition has lasted since apartheid ended. People toss their furniture out the window and into the streets below to ring in the new year. Police officers keep an eye on this practice to ensure that no one is wounded.
10. Don’t use your left hand, Middle East
In a number of Middle Eastern countries, greeting someone or eating with one’s left hand can be considered rude and unsanitary. Since the left hand is used to clean oneself after going to the bathroom, it’s seen as the dirty hand is never used at the dinner table or to greet friends.
11. Business meetings in a sauna, Finland
Saunas are an important element of Finnish society, acting as a location to talk business and even politics as well as a historical place to give birth. In fact, it’s a normal corporate custom for coworkers or business partners to visit the sauna together and converse in a more relaxed setting.
Which of these traditions surprised you the most? Which unique traditions exist in your country? Share your stories in the comments!
Sources: brightside.me, theemergingindia.com