Humans have a long history of creating unique customs and rituals, some of which may seem strange or even bizarre to outsiders. These customs are often deeply ingrained in cultural and religious beliefs and have been passed down through generations.
12 Curious Customs Practiced By Different Cultures Around The World
The Bull Jumping Ceremony of the Hamar People
The Hamar people of Ethiopia have a tradition where young men must jump over a line of bulls four times, without falling, to prove their manhood. The ceremony involves the entire community, with the women of the tribe whipping the men to show their support.
The Baby-Tossing Festival in India
In the Indian state of Maharashtra, the annual Baby-Tossing Festival is held to bring good luck and prosperity to infants. Babies are tossed off a temple roof and caught in a sheet held by a group of men waiting below.
The Day of the Dead in Mexico
Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, the Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that honors the deceased. Families set up altars with offerings of food and drink to welcome their loved ones back to the world of the living.
The Tana Toraja Funeral Ritual in Indonesia
In the Tana Toraja region of Indonesia, funerals are elaborate events that can last for days or even weeks. The deceased are buried in graves carved into the sides of cliffs, and their bodies are often exhumed years later for a second funeral.
The Kanamara Matsuri Penis Festival in Japan
The Kanamara Matsuri, or Penis Festival, is a celebration of fertility and reproductive health held every spring in Kawasaki, Japan. The festival features giant phallic-shaped floats and a parade of participants dressed in penis costumes.
The Holi Festival of Colors in India
The Holi Festival of Colors is a Hindu holiday celebrated in India and other countries with large Hindu populations. The festival involves throwing colored powder and water on friends and strangers to celebrate the arrival of spring.
The Tomatina Festival in Spain
The Tomatina Festival in the town of Buñol, Spain, involves throwing ripe tomatoes at each other for an hour. The festival began in the 1940s as a food fight between friends and has since grown into an international event.
The Walking on Fire Ritual in Fiji
The Walking on Fire ritual is a traditional ceremony in Fiji, where participants walk barefoot across a bed of hot coals. The ceremony is meant to cleanse the body and mind and is often performed during important events, such as weddings or funerals.
The Thaipusam Festival in Malaysia
The Thaipusam Festival is a Hindu holiday celebrated in Malaysia, where devotees pierce their skin with hooks and skewers as a sign of devotion to the deity Murugan. The festival also involves carrying elaborate Kavadi structures on the shoulders of participants.
The Finger Cutting Ritual of the Dani Tribe
The Dani tribe in Papua, Indonesia, practices a finger-cutting ritual as a sign of grief when a loved one dies. Family members of the deceased cut off a portion of their fingers to show their mourning.
The Baby-Crying Festival in Japan
In the Japanese town of Nakizumo, a Baby-Crying Festival is held every year to bless infants and ward off evil spirits. Two sumo wrestlers compete to make babies cry by making funny faces and noises.
The Wife-Carrying Championship in Finland
The Wife-Carrying Championship is an annual event held in Sonkajärvi, Finland, where men race through an obstacle course while carrying their wives on their backs. The rules of the Wife-Carrying Championship state that the wife must weigh at least 49 kilograms, and if she falls off during the race, the couple must go back to the starting line and try again. The winning couple receives the wife’s weight in beer as a prize.
These are just a few examples of the fascinating customs and rituals practiced by different cultures around the world. While some of these practices may seem strange or even shocking to outsiders, they are often deeply meaningful to the communities that uphold them. Understanding and respecting these customs can help promote cultural appreciation and diversity.