9 Weird Traditions Around The Globe

These are not your average Joe traditions that we are talking about. Some are crazy, others are weird while all of them begs the question… Why? We bring to you the ‘really’ weird traditions of our planet which will reinforce your belief about living on the saner part of the world.


Blackening the bride and the groom to ward off evil

Weird Traditions - Blackening the groom in Scotland
Weird Traditions - Blackening the bride in Scotland

Live in Scotland and are getting into a wedlock? Then expect your family and friends to startle you before your big day by pouring gooey stuff on you… the ingredients of which are sticky dark syrup, flour and feathers.

The groom and bride are subjected to the same punishment, though the misery of groom extends longer. He is further humiliated by a citywide parade on an open truck and then by getting coal rubbed on his feet.

The ritual started hundreds of years ago as a way to ward off evil spirits. But it has taken on a new meaning in modern times, as people believe that making the couple dirty before marriage will ensure that they clean themselves thoroughly.


Initiation by a thousand stings

Bullet ants are known for two reasons… one, that their sting causes the human to feel the worst pain of their life, akin to the feeling of getting shot. And two, that a tribe in Brazil has a glove made out of them, which the boys of the tribe wear for their initiation.

To create the glove of hell, they use a natural sedative to make the bullet ants unconscious, who are then stitched onto the glove… with their stinger facing inward. For the ritual to be counted, the boy has to keep his hand in the glove for at least 10 minutes.

The ordeal often leaves the boy with a paralyzed arm, and sometimes, an uncontrollable shaking of the body lasting for several days. The initiation is termed successful, when the person has gone through the torture for a total of 20 times. Because of the ensuing pain and suffering of the ritual, it usually takes months if not years to complete the entire process.


Presidential pardon of a turkey

As many as 45 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday in US and Canada. However, two are lucky enough to receive a presidential pardon in America. The tradition was kickstarted by George W. Bush in 1989 when it appeared to him that a turkey was nervous, leading to its pardon.

A pardon for the turkey means that it gets to spend the rest of its days living on a farm, which we assume makes the turkey appreciate Thanksgiving more than the rest of us.

Occasional turkey pardons have been around for a while in America, with the first ever record of it getting traced back to Ronald Reagon. However, it was only made permanent by Bush, with every US president following suit thereafter.


Forbidding newlyweds to attend to nature’s call

Weird Traditions - Denying toilet to newly weds
Not smiling, just trying to hold ‘it’ inside.

Tidong community of Indonesia ensures that newlywed couples are not allowed to use the toilet for three straight days, right after their wedding. To enforce this rule… the couples are watched over and only allowed minimal amounts of food and water throughout their ordeal.

The weird tradition supposedly brings good luck to the couple… though not so much for their intestines.


Constantly shaming ‘single’ people from the age of 25

Denmark has the bizarre tradition of publically shaming you if you are single and have crossed 25. Anyone over this age and not married is brought to a public place, where their friends proceed to throw cinnamon on them until they are covered from head to toe.

Henceforth, the shaming is repeated on every birthday… till marriage. This weird tradition is now imbibed in Danish culture, with even non-Danish peeps of the country indulging in it.

The ritual dates back to hundreds of years. It was originally practiced on spice salesmen as they remained single due to the traveling nature of their business.


Running, falling and tumbling downhill just to catch a piece of cheese

This tradition takes place near Gloucester, England and involves throwing the region’s famous double Gloucester cheese from a hill. The contestants then chase the cheese in an attempt to catch it, often tumbling, falling or just running after it like crazy.

The one who is able to catch the cheese or get to the checkpoint (200 yards) first, wins. Several ambulances are present on the scene, to attend to the many injured during this race. Regardless of the injuries, the annual festival invites hundreds of participants from around England.


Firework battle between churches

Two churches in Greece indulge in firing as many as 25,000 rockets on each other during Easter, resulting in a brilliant light show which attracts tourists from all over the world. The rival churches of Saint Mark and Panagia Erithiani spend months preparing the fireworks which are fired all at once for the dazzling performance.

The winner is decided on the total count of church bell triggers caused by the opposite church’s rockets. Though, each church will claim victory the next day, ensuring that the rivalry and the festivities continue the next year.

It is believed that the tradition originated during 1800’s and originally used real cannons for the effect. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the practice was changed to using fireworks from the start of the 19th century.


Creepy ways of expressing love

The Manchu community of China follows the craziest tradition of all. In this community, touching private parts of newborn or orally stimulating infants is considered as a sign of affection by parents and is not deemed sexual.

However, kissing the baby is strictly forbidden and is considered an extreme taboo. The practice is quite common in China as 10 million people of the country belong to this community.


Walking the dead

Indonesia doesn’t let their dead rest in peace. A tradition in some villages of Indonesia requires parading their dead across the town.

The creepy tradition occurs annually and requires each family to dig up their deceased family members, who are then taken to the location of their death but only after getting washed, groomed and dressed like the living. Once there, they are then dragged back to the family’s house / village where they rest for a while before the family puts them back in their grave.

We were quite surprised to end this article without Japan figuring out in it. But since we love the country, here are some pics which can happen only in Japan!

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