Traditions are rituals and beliefs that form a part of our culture. They are practiced to remind us of our history, and passed down from generation to generation. Some traditions are widespread and adopted by one and all, like celebrating Christmas and birthdays, and then there are some that are quite strange or interesting, and practiced only by a niche group of people. Here are some interesting traditions from all over the world that are informative and amusing at the same time. Some, in fact, determine the travel dates for the curious wanderers.
1. Cimburijada festival of scrambled eggs in Zenica, Bosnia
Satisfy your egg cravings in Bosnia every March or during spring. Hundreds of eggs are cooked in huge pots and given out for free. This is to celebrate the start of a new season. Visitors flock to Zenica, Bosnia, every year for this tradition. But not because they want a taste of the scrambled eggs, but because it’s fun, interesting, and a sight to behold. In fact, a lot of people support this tradition.
2. La Tomatina or tomato craze in Bunol, Spain
If Bosnia cooks hundreds of scrambled eggs, Spain uses tomatoes for a fun fight. Every last Wednesday of August sees Bunol engage in the world’s biggest tomato fight. And there is no sombre reason behind this. The Spaniards do it simply for entertainment. Sounds like fun? You might want to add that to your itinerary next time you’re Spain-bound.
3. The Polterabend custom in Germany
Family members and friends of future married couples meet at dinner, and break a lot of porcelain (except glasses). The couple is then asked to clean up the entire mess. This is supposedly to teach them the importance of unity and hard work, and bring good luck. Germans think this tradition is essential in making marriages last a lifetime.
4. Kanamara Matsuri in Japan
Do you know in Japan, giant penises are paraded through the town? Every first Sunday of April, thousands of people visit Kawasaki to witness the Kanamara Matsuri or penis festival. During this festival, you’ll get to see lots of penises in varying colors and sizes, and even eat penis-shaped sweets. It used to be known as the Shinto fertility tradition, and was later changed to a sex-positive ritual. The organizers of this ritual are priests of the Kanayama that worships Shinto religion.
Legend has it that a demon possessing a vagina ate penises. The demon was defeated when a girl asked a blacksmith to create a penis made of steel, which broke the demon’s teeth. It’s kind of amusing, yet the people in Japan consider it a serious religious practice.
5. Famadihana: dancing with the dead in Madagascar
Also called the turning of the bones, this festival honors the dead and celebrates family ties. Every seven years or so, families who can afford lavish dinners for guests and new clothes for the living families and the dead ancestors, celebrate the Famadihana festival. The living families dance with their dead ancestors to show them respect. They even give out gifts for the dead. Crying is discouraged during the celebration. Families in Madagascar have been practicing this for many years, and intend to continue the strange tradition in future, as well.
6. Throwing cinnamon to those still single at 25 in Denmark
In Denmark, they have an interesting yet strange tradition of throwing cinnamon to people who are still single at 25. The individual is doused with lots of cinnamon sticks on his/her birthday, mostly by friends and well-wishers. It’s interesting because it motivates you to look for a partner before you turn 25. If you like cinnamon though, then this shouldn’t bother you.
7. Burns Night in Scotland
Burns Night is celebrated for the celebrated poet Robert Burns and his contribution to the Scottish culture. On the 25th of every January, the people of Scotland hold supper and poetry recitations written by the poet. They prepare a dish called Haggis, a sausage made from sheep’s belly. The ritual is to read the poetry on that dish written by Burns before proceeding to eat. Formal traditional dinners are held every year at Burns Club as well as hosted by the Freemasons.
8. Hanging coffins in Sagada, Philippines
There is an old tradition in Sagada where people hang their coffins in limestone caves. It was carried out by the Igorot tribe of Mountain Province, which became a common belief among the people in northern Philippines. They believe that this ritual prevents monsters and beasts from taking the dead bodies, and also purifies or blesses the departed soul.
9. Sharpening of teeth in Indonesia
Teeth sharpening or chiseling is a strange beauty ritual practiced by women in Indonesian rural communities. It involves sawing of the teeth, and women who undergo teeth chiseling are considered extremely beautiful. Thankfully though, this isn’t a mandatory requirement for all women.
Some traditions may sound bizarre or strange, yet people hold them close to their hearts and still practice the age-old rituals to this day. Because it’s part of their culture and history, it shapes and defines them. In fact, this is what sets one community of humans apart from the other. It is due to their deep-rooted beliefs that these unique customs and rituals are still alive, and tie us to the unseen world of the past. To witness these amazing rituals, make sure you plan your visits accordingly and see at least one of them with your own eyes.
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