We’ve all been through culture shock at some point in our lives. When visiting Egypt, we may be perplexed to learn that a bride is pinched by her friends before her wedding to bring good luck. Regardless, every tradition has something to teach us about the country and its culture.
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. After marriage, Indonesians are not allowed to use the bathroom.
A married couple in the Indonesian hamlet of Tidong is not permitted to use the restroom for three days following their wedding. It is considered bad luck for their marriage if they do so. Family members keep an eye on the newlyweds to make sure they don’t break the tradition, and they’re provided modest amounts of food and drink.
3. Spit on others to greet them, Maasai
While spitting is considered impolite in many cultures, it is the traditional means of greeting and showing respect among the Kenyan Maasai tribe. Members of the tribe will spit into their hands before shaking them, and they will do so to newborn newborns or even brides to bless 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. Germany, smashing plates before a wedding
A tradition known as Polterabend takes place a few weeks before a German wedding. Guests deliver the pottery to the couple, which is broken at their house. Following that, the bride and groom must clean up the mess, which is thought to bring good luck and encourage teamwork in their forthcoming 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
Attending an event, a meeting, or a party in Venezuela, it’s not uncommon for people to come later than expected. When it comes to business, Venezuelans prefer to take things slowly, and coming late for a large social function just means making a big appearance.
8. Getting bitten by bullet ants, Brazil
When a male reaches the age of majority in the Sateré-Mawé tribe in Brazil, he must perform a ceremonial dance while wearing bullet ant gloves. This is a particularly difficult ritual because a bullet ant bite is one of the most excruciating bug bites on the planet.
9. Vanuatu’s Bungee Jumping for a Good Harvest
A rite conducted by men on Vanuatu’s Pentecost Island is thought to ensure a successful harvest. They think that a good land dive can improve a man’s physical condition and bring good luck during the yam harvest season by jumping off towering wooden structures with nothing but vines wrapped around their ankles.
10. Wearing funny hats when single, France
Sainte Catherine, the young patron saint of unmarried ladies, is honored on November 25th in France. Women over the age of 25 wear green and yellow hats to symbolize knowledge and trust on this day. While some “Catherinettes” commemorate the day with the hopes of marrying soon, others accept their single status with pride.
11. South Africa, you’re throwing your furniture out the window.
They took the phrase “out with the old” literally! In some parts of South Africa they throw old furniture out the window. #NewYear #Traditions #SouthAfrica #2018 pic.twitter.com/dSuS548rLs— Sold Right Away Team (@soldrightaway) January 4, 2018
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.
12. 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.
13. Crying before your wedding, China
In many cultures, a wedding is a joyful occasion, but in China, a traditional wedding begins with the bride crying a month before the wedding. After a few days, her mother and other family members join her to express their delight in her upcoming marriage.
14. Don’t use your left hand, Middle East
In several Middle Eastern cultures, welcoming someone with one’s left hand or eating with one’s left hand is considered impolite and unhygienic. Because the left hand is used to clean oneself after going to the restroom, it is considered the filthy hand and is never used to welcome guests at the dinner table.
Which of these customs took you by surprise the most? Which traditions are unique to your country? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!