16 Strange Traditions From Other Countries That Americans Just Can't Handle
Each country has its own set of laws, traditions, rules, and specific features that might seem rather odd or shocking to other cultures, but are perfectly normal. Our world is full of unusual and unique ways of living, and that's why we've decided to put this article together for you to help you further understand the world we live in and what some cultures believe in. So, without further ado, let us dive straight into it!
16. Some women in India can marry trees
Yes, you read correctly. The reason for this is due to a strange tradition in Vedic astrology, where it is believed that people who are under the strong influence of the planet Mars, were not born for happy marriages. These people are called maglik, and have special sections on matchmaking sites where their kind can mingle with each other. They are also able to neutralize the influence of one another.
However, the situation is apparently more difficult for manglik women because people in India believe that a wife with the dangerous Mars influence in her horoscope can cause the husband's health to deteriorate. So, in order to prevent this, the women are instructed to first "marry" a tree so that the Mars energies can pass through the tree.
The tree is then burned, and the women are allowed to marry a man. It sounds like there are going to be a lot of burning trees in India. Strangely enough, the manglik men don’t need to go through any form of ritual because Indians believe that it is only the wives who can affect their husbands’ health and destiny, or they simply care less about the well-being of the wife in the family.
15. Sundanese people in Indonesia use banana leaves as plates
This tradition can be seen in other hot countries, and it's really not so bad when it comes to cleaning those dirty dishes. In some parts of Indonesia, a banana leaf serves as a plate for several people at once. This type of gathering is called botram, which literally means "eating together". It's an excellent way to bring the family together, don't you agree?
Perhaps not the leafy part, but the concept behind it all. People from completely different social positions can sometimes eat from one leaf such as a taxi driver, a governor, an unemployed person, a teacher, the mayor of the city, and so on. It is believed that botram unites all people regardless of their origin.
14. The living cult of the Kumari goddesses in Nepal
The people in Nepal believe that the Hindu goddess Taleju has an earthly incarnation in little girls whose bodies she sometimes possesses. There is a process of looking for Kumari, which is the living goddess, that seems like the process of searching for the Dalai Lama’s new manifestations. The way it is done is by astrologists and monks as they seek for the Kumari among the Shakya caste in the Newari community.
There are several Kumari in the country, but the most prominent one is the Royal Kumari that lives in Kathmandu. The selection process consists of several stringent rituals, after which the chosen one locates to a palace where she receives visitors with gifts who hope that the living goddess will send them blessings for good health, as well as resolutions to all their predicaments.
13. Israeli people build temporary dwellings called sukkahs
In Israel, it is customary to construct temporary shelters called sukkahs in yards or on balconies. These are built in remembrance of the wanderings of the Jews in the Sinai Desert before the celebrations of the Sukkot feast starts. It is considered a divine duty. One should spend as much time as possible in a sukkah during the week of festivities.
They are required to eat there, rest there, and pray there. If living there is not an option, having meals in a sukkah twice a day is obligatory. Would you be able to live this way? The temperature over there is extremely harsh, and they sure have many obstacles when building these dwellings, let alone staying in them for the full duration.
12. Newborn babies in South Korea are considered to be one year old
When a newborn in South Korea enters this world, they are considered a year old. That would make sense if you're counting their pregnancy. Some other countries also view this as part of the aging process. Additionally, it’s believed that a person becomes one year older not on their birthday, though they also celebrate it, but on the first day of the Lunar New Year.
So, if a kid was born on the 29th day of the 12th month according to the Lunar calendar, it means he will turn two years old on the first day of the Lunar New Year when, in fact, he is just several days old. Modern Gregorian calendars, as well as the simultaneous measurement of age, are used in Korea too. These define when the kids start school or get legally married.
11. A metro passes through a block of apartments in China
There is an extraordinary architectural resolution that you can see in the Chinese city of Chongqing, which is the Liziba monorail train station. If you take a good look at the image, you'll see that It is located inside a residential building. The trains pass through it on the level of the 6th floor, and it has amassed numerous reactions, from admiration to resentment.
Though it may seem that this solution has been used in Japan as well, residents in China may not be too fond of this idea. The building in Japan is not residential, but a commercial office building and it’s a highway, not a metro, that passes through it. This looks terribly dangerous though. Would you travel on this train?
10. Fast food restaurants in the Philippines sell enormous portions.
No, they are not gluttons, in case you were wondering why they have these giant size portions. Many Filipinos enjoy having lunch in the company of friends. There is even a particular word for these get-togethers, and it's called barkada. So, don’t get surprised if you see a portion of French fries for six people on the McDonald’s menu in the Philippines.
On a similar note, there is a related situation in Saudi Arabia where fast food restaurants are set up for prominent families. That's actually a great idea! For example, you can easily see a basket of chicken wings that will be enough for 10-15 people on the menu at the local KFC. Wonderful for getting the family together and enjoying quality time while enjoying your favorite meal.
9. A whole family can fit on one motorcycle in Pakistan
This looks fun, but his situation is neither safe nor comfortable. It can be seen pretty often in Pakistan and many other countries. We usually find these images amusing on the internet, but they are actually something we should think seriously about. Sometimes poverty-stricken countries give people no other choice than to do strange and often dangerous things.
8. Egyptians have a completely different concept of traffic rules
This is chaos indeed! In Egypt, you can drive whichever way you want because it's highly unlikely that your driver's license will be revoked. Of course, this type of driving produces traffic jams, accidents, and many dangers for commuters that are on bikes or walking. Formally, the traffic rules in Egypt are the same as they are all over the world, but the sad fact is that police officer there don’t bother to pay much attention to these violations.
7. The battle of the oranges in Italy
Every year in February, or at the beginning of March, the Carnevale d’Ivrea is held which involves the traditional battle of oranges. People throw oranges at each other like snowballs. We are sure they will be left with plenty of bruises! According to some historians, this battle is the symbol of a popular uprising against the despotism of lords.
But there is a more compelling version about a girl named Violetta, who shielded herself from the local tyrant ruler who intending on using his right of the first night. Guards tried to arrest Violetta, but the citizens saved her by throwing stones at the guards. Today, oranges symbolize those stones. Certainly sounds and look dangerous!
6. Great Britain used to require a separate TV license for each set at home
Just imagine if we had to do this still? The BBC is public television and is funded by licensing fees paid by citizens who have TVs and other devices where they can watch live broadcasts like computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even gaming consoles. This license costs £150.50 per year, and residents either have to buy it or to reject it with a written application.
Like most countries, the letter must explain their reason for not watching TV. Otherwise, they could be slapped with an enormous penalty. It is impossible to reject the service and watch TV programs illegally, So, to enforce this law, there is a unique service called the Enforcement Division, which even had a retro car as seen in the photo below, that will come to your home without warning and check.
5. Germany has a church tax
Kirchensteuer is a church tax that is forced on the parishioners of some religious communities in Germany. Roman Catholic churches, Evangelical churches, a unitary religious society of free Protestants, and Jewish communities are among them. The scope of the tax is set at 8-9% of the amount of their income tax.
For example, if a parishioner pays 10,000 euros in income tax per year, they will have to pay 800 euros to the mission. Additionally, this tax can be employed to dividends and to the money made from selling a property. A taxpayer has the right to desert the church and decline to pay the tax, for which they will need to fill out a special notice.
Those who refuse to pay the tax can be excommunicated. Also, they can be blacklisted from working in some church organizations, like schools or hospitals. These laws are stringent! Did you know that there are such churches and organizations in the world? If you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to abide by these laws, you can count your lucky stars.
4. If you don't vote in Australia, you get a fine
Wow, that's certainly one way of securing a vote! While some people in the world whine about the results of an election and declare that they won’t take part in the process anymore, others are apparently not allowed decline. Australia is one country where people are expected to pay a fine for not partaking in the election. The punishment is not substantial, but still, it’s a penalty. For example, in 2010, 6,000 people didn’t show up at the election in Tasmania, and each of them was fined $26.
3. In Canada, milk is sold in transparent plastic bags
Many countries sell milk in plastic bags. So, it’s challenging to astonish the residents of some countries with milk in synthetic packets. But for many residents of our planet, this milk appears strange because it’s usually sold in plastic bottles or cartons. It turns out that this packaging can be pretty comfortable if you place it into a jar as Canadian people do.
2. Female wrestlers in Bolivia with their colorful outfits
The idea of hiring a number of simple Bolivian women to participate in wrestling competitions belonged to Juan Mamani, the manager of a team called the Titans of the Ring. Juan was baffled by the fact that ticket sales drastically dropped in 2001. Mamani placed an advertisement in the local press about an opening in his club and he was just about to hand in the towel when he got a huge surprise.
There appeared to be many local beauties willing to earn capital with the help of their fists. Unlike male wrestlers who fight in comfortable, sporty clothes, these women have to compete in their national outfits, which are lush skirts, bright blouses, shoes, and bowler hats. Also, there are no professional athletes among the cholitas; very often, they have to combine fighting in the ring with taking care of their home and other responsibilities.
1. There is a particular ’instrument of education’ that Spanish speaking countries use
As a rule, la chancla is a slipper or a sandal that Latin American mothers and grandmothers use when correcting naughty children and teens. Nowadays, most Western countries regard this method of raising children brutally and we by no means trying to justify it. It seems that la chancla remains a potent weapon in Mexico and other regions with a similar mentality.
For example, the old lady in the photo below found out that her granddaughter has a boyfriend, and the first thing she did was to take off her slipper. By the way, kids ’raised’ with the help of a chancla continue to banter about this topic and it seems that they don’t think that their childhood was traumatized. We can certainly remember the times we had a right smack or two with a slipper for being naughty, and it did the trick.
Do you know any of these traditions? Have you ever had them incorporated into your family or use them? Do you have friends who implement them? Let us know if the comments section below. Share this with your friends and family and remember to keep up-to-date with us for more interesting facts about the amazing world around us.
Source used: Bright Side
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