50 Strange Customs and Traditions From Around the World

26Der Sternewirth

There is a time-honored tradition of allowing brewery employees all the free beer they wish while working: It's called Der Sternewirth.


27. There was an ancient Persian custom to debate “affairs of weight” while drunk and sober. The same conclusion had to be reached when drunk and sober to be acted upon.


28. The tradition of "women and children first" protocol is a legacy from the Birkenhead, a ship that ran into a dangerous reef, and whose soldiers famously stood firm allowing the women and children to board the boats safely as there were not enough serviceable lifeboats for all the passengers.


29. Spartan marriage involved a custom of capturing a woman, shaving her head, and dressing her in a man's clothing. Then the groom/capturer would secretly visit her and finally, sleep with her. All Spartans were required to marry at the age of 30.


30. The Karen tribe of Thailand follows a bizarre tradition of wearing rings on their neck to get a large neck. They believe that the large neck is a symbol of beauty and elegance.


31Carrying pregnant wife

In some parts of China there is a bizarre belief that if a husband carries his pregnant wife over burning coals bare feet, the wife will have easy and successful labor.


32. For centuries, Hindus in India practiced Sati, where widows were obliged to commit suicide upon their husband's death, often by self-immolation on their funeral pyre. The British banned it in the 19th century.


33. It is an old Jewish tradition for a mom to slap her daughter across the face when she gets her first period.


34. It is a wedding custom for Turkish brides to spike the groom's coffee with salt before the wedding; if he drinks it without complaint, he's a keeper.


35. There are still street merchants in Baltimore, called Arabbers, who carry on a 150-year-old tradition of traveling around the city selling fruits and vegetables out of a horse-drawn cart.


36Dani tribe

The Dani tribe of Africa follows a weird tradition. Women on the tribe must cut off a part of their fingers when a member of the family dies.


37. By tradition, a portrait of Franklin Roosevelt hangs over the mantel of the Roosevelt Room during the administration of a president from the Democratic Party and a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt is hung up and during the administration of a Republican president.


38. Aboriginal custom throughout Australia forbids husband from talking to their mother-in-law or even seeing her. "Avoidance relationships are a mark of respect. The relationship is one of respect, but avoidance."


39. The tradition for standing during the Hallelujah chorus of Handel's Messiah started because King George II stood during it at the first performance in England, and then everyone else had to stand up, and no one knows why George stood up.


40. There exists a 3000-year old Chinese tradition called Ghost Marriages, in which two people who have died single are married to each other. In some cases, the parents of unmarried men buy female corpses so that their sons could have a wife in the afterlife.


41Twelve Grapes

The Spanish have a tradition called Twelve Grapes in which they eat a grape with each bell strike at the midnight of December 31.


42. Fāl-gūsh is the Persian custom of eavesdropping on the conversations of random passersby in order to divine the future.


43. The Ainu are the “lost” indigenous people of Japan. One of their customs was having the women tattoo over their lips, exaggerating the length to show maturity.


44. If monsoons are delayed, in some parts of India Hindu priests sit inside barrels containing water as they perform special prayers in order to appease Varun Dev, the Hindu God of sky and water.


45. For mother's day in Serbia, Children sneak into their mother’s room in the morning to tie her feet with ribbons so that she wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.


46State Opening of Parliament

The first act of the United Kingdom's State Opening of Parliament is to check the cellars to ensure that it doesn’t have any bombs in it. This is a tradition that has been carried out without fail after the original failed gunpowder plot of 1605.


47. British Acts of Parliament are still printed on goatskin. A proposal to end the tradition in 1999 was thrown out, partly because it would "mean the death of the industry in Britain."


48. Ships are often built with coins inside them, a tradition started by the Romans.


49. Jewelry made from the hair of dead people was popularized in the Victorian era as part of their mourning customs.


50. Followers of the Jain religion in India have some of the strictest dietary customs which can include not eating roots and even straining water to avoid accidentally swallowing tiny living things.

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