National traditions that can shock a foreigner
Here you can find out about most extraordinary traditions of different nations, that can utterly shock any stranger.
Many nations, many traditions. In fact, sometimes these traditions can be more than a little strange, silly, or even frightening. But whatever they are, they are venerated and passed on from generation to generation.
On the last week of August in Bunol, Spain a festival called La Tomatina takes place. Fireworks, music, dancing and treat are part of it. However, the main event that gathers tens of thousands of participants in a battle where the only weapon is tomato.
At 11:00 AM they fire a petard off a city hall's roof, which is the signal to start the battle. After that several tomato loaded trucks enter the street. Participants grab these tomatoes and throw at each other. This is a Spanish way to say goodbye to summer.
This unusual tradition in Bali is regarded as one of the most important. Upon reaching the age of 18 every young person is to go through a ritual of their sharp teeth filing down.
Balinese believe that sharp teeth are associated with evil spirits and if not filed down, they won't let a person go to heaven after death. This is why the ceremony takes place in a temple, where a priest files teeth off with a regular riffler. The tooth dust is solemnly buried in a family temple.
Every April men from Vanuatu islands build a 100 meters high tower to put young lads to a test. Boys aged from 5, tied by their legs with a grape vine rope, jumped down the tower. It's believed that the higher a man started and the closer he reached the land, the more the blessing. Of course, accident ratio is way too big, nevertheless such a ritual has been taking place for more than 15 centuries.
Many of us have heard of the "Groundhog day" movie, but few may know what it is and where it comes from. On February 2, citizens of USA and Canada gather and watch a groundhog, getting out of his squat. If the day is dull the animal doesn't see its shadow and leaves the squat - this means the winter will soon end. If the day is sunny, the groundhog sees its shadow and gets frightened by it - then the winter will last for more 6 weeks.
On the same day in several US and Canada cities festivals related to groundhogs-forecasters take place.
In France they celebrate Catherinettes' Day on November 25. This day is about unmarried French young women (aged 17-25) wearing pretty quaint hats of green and yellow colours. They wear them all day and smile at passers-by.
The purpose of such outfits is attracting potential fiances. In fact, the age of 20-25 had been long regarded as the beginning of an old maid's "career".
As a matter of fact, there are a lot of unusual traditions in Indonesia, especially as far as weddings are concerned. For example, a fiance is not allowed to see the bride's face until he sings several romantic songs. Another ritual requires that newlyweds don't wash themselves, or eat, or drink 3 days after their wedding.
Another unusual tradition in Germany is for those who, being 25 years old, hasn't met his/her best half. In this case your friends will put up a garland of socks around your place of living or place of birth. And if you want to take them off, for every few sock you'll have to take an alcohol shot. As a rule, they try to put up as many socks, as possible.
The tribe of Masai is one of the most ancient ones in Kenya. It is famous because of its odd ritual called "Adam welcome dance". This dance is about men of tribe gathering in a circle, jumping high and dancing. The higher a warrior jumps the more courageous and manly he is.
In Indian state Tamil-Nadu festival Aadi takes places, when clergymen are to crash coconuts off the heads of their pupils. That's a way local people thank their gods, asking for luck and health.
Speaking about health, there are doctors standing by the ceremony and giving medical help to those who need it after the ritual.
In Great Britain they believe meeting a magpie is a foreboding. To ward off bad luck you tip your hat and say, "Good morning Mr. Magpie. how's your wife and kids?"
Do you find these traditions strange or quite ordinary? Your commentary is necessary! Do you have any more interesting traditions to share?
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