There are over 3,814 different cultures in the world, and each of them has its own traditions that people follow. While some have left old ways and practices behind with the rise of modernization, there are still customs, like teeth tossing, that are followed, baffling many of us.
1. Easter bonfire, Germany
The night just before Easter, people in Germany light huge bonfires in different parts of the country. This custom is very old, and with it, they welcome spring and drive away winter’s evil spirits.
In some parts, mostly in the North-Rhine Westphalia, a large wooden wheel is set on fire and then rolled down a slope to ensure a good harvest.
2. Slurping in Japan
While slurping is considered offensive for most countries, in Japan, it’s anything but. Actually, it’s rude if you don’t slurp when you eat noodles.
3. Baking money into food, Bolivia
In Bolivia, people mark the end of the year and welcome in the new one by baking coins into cakes. It’s believed that whoever finds the coin will have good luck in the upcoming year.
4. Tossing teeth in Greece
In Greece, there is no tooth fairy. Instead, when a kid’s tooth falls out, they throw it onto the roof. When they throw the tooth, they consciously wish for their adult teeth to be strong and healthy.
5. Tomato throwing, Spain
La Tomatina is a festival that is marked by throwing tomatoes at other people. This fun festival is actually not that old — it started in 1945. Now it’s held every year on the last Wednesday of August.
The kids who actually started the tradition were trying to get to a festival when they accidentally dropped some people who, in a fit of rage, started a food war. There are some rules though, such as squeezing the tomatoes before throwing them and respecting others so that everyone can have a great time.
6. Ice cream in winter, Mongolia
While we enjoy ice cream on hot summer days, in Mongolia, they prefer eating it during the coldest days of winter. There are street vendors that sell ice cream from paper boxes without the need for a freezer because the temperatures can get as low as −22ºF.
7. Choosing your own destiny, South Korea
Koreans give special meaning to the baby’s first birthday because it’s the day they will choose their destiny. It’s a ritual called “doljabi.”
In front of the child, different objects are placed, like books, money, and paintbrushes. Depending on what the baby chooses, it will foretell its future. For example, if the baby chooses the money, they’ll be wealthy; and if they pick up the book, they’ll be smart.
8. Jumping from a chair, Denmark
Almost every country in the world has one specific tradition that is followed on New Year’s Eve. Well, Denmark has one too! Just before the clock strikes midnight, people get on chairs and prepare to jump the second the new year starts. Forgetting to jump is believed to bring bad luck.
9. Cutting hair once in a lifetime, China
Huangluo Red Yao is a village in China known for women who have the longest hair in the world. They usually keep their hair wrapped under headscarves. However, during their festival, they let that hair down, wash it, and comb it. The average length of their hair is approximately 3.3 feet.
The Yao women leave their hair to grow because they believe it will bring them a long life. They cut it once in their lifetime at the age of 18, which symbolizes the rite of passage and shows that the girl is ready to get married.
Which tradition sounds the most interesting to you and why? Perhaps you’ve witnessed these things take place. Do you follow a custom that’s surprising to other people? What is it about?