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28 Weird Cultures and Traditions From Around the World

Farrah Young is a research analyst and carries out in-depth research on topics.

Weird Cultures and Traditions from a Few Select Countries in the World...

They say a nation's culture resides in the heart and soul of its people (Mahatma Gandhi). Culture defines us and guides our interactions and relationships with others.

There are some cultures that are so lovable, you find yourself wanting to spend a little more time observing it. On the other hand, there are a few others that are so weird, they are almost off-putting.

Almost every nation of the world has that weird culture that is so vile, they don't spend a lot if time advertising.

Twenty-Eight Weird Cultures in the World

Here are 28 of such weird cultures in the world.

Weird Cultures in India

India is a beautiful country and one of the leaders in movie production with the ever-growing Bollywood industry.

However, as beautiful as the country is, it is home to a few weird cultures and traditions that would leave you with your jaws hanging loose. Here are a few of such bizzarre cultures and traditions:

1. Baby Tossing from the (Now Extinct)

This culture would ordinary make anyone scared for the safety of the child, especially the child's mother, however, Indians perform this culture with great enthusiasm, as they believe it brings prosperity to the family.

The culture which has been in practice for over 700 years and mostly practiced by Muslims and Hindus, sees a child been dropped by as high as 7 feet.

A small consolation though, there are usually men waiting with a sheet at the bottom to catch the baby as he falls.

2. Thaipoosam, Tamil Nadu or Flesh Piercing

Yet another tradition not for the faint hearted is the Thaipoosam, Tamil Nadu or flesh piercing.

This culture is practiced in Southern India and usually begins with a 48-day-fast, at the end of which the piecing begins.

Partakers in this festival pierce their bodies, including their faces with hooks and skewers. Sometimes, a hook is passed into one cheek and comes out of the other, an act done to impede speech at the time.

Weird Cultures in Japan

Japan, home to one of the world's most loved food, sushi, also has some cultures that will leave you amazed. Here are a few of these:

3. Napping on the Job is Permitted, Encouraged Even

While a lot of employers around the world would be upset if they caught an employee napping on the job, the reverse is the case in Japan.

In Japan, it is believed that only a hardworking employee would want to take a nap. Napping is also seen as a way of 'recharging your batteries', a clear sign of commitment that is clearly valued.

4. Unparalleled Suicide Rates

Japan is known to have one of the highest suicide rates the world over and the most preferred method of dying is jumping in front of a moving train.


This post was edited on 24/06/2020 to reflect the true state of cultures presently.

Weird Cultures in China

China, home to the cute giant panda and the infamous kungfu, also has a few shocking cultures that will leave you speechless.

Here are a few of them:

5. Ghost Marriage

While the wedding day is known to be one of the happiest days in a woman's life, this is not so for a few women or men in China.

These women engage in what is called a ghost marriage where they are married off to a dead man. After the wedding, they are expected to move in with the family of the dead man and remain celibate until their death.

Ghost marriage could also involve two dead people if both families want to still become integrated.

This weird culture is done for a number of reasons, some of which include:

- Ensuring the younger brother doesn't get married before the elder (a case of the deceased being older)

- Still going ahead to tie a couple together if one passes away after an engagement has been done.

- Integrating an unmarried daughter into a family.

6. Long Nails as an Unorthodox Sign of Wealth

While it is common to see women growing out their nails to beautify their fingers, it is quite the opposite in China as some men are grow out their nails.

In most cases though, these men grow the nail of just one finger and this act is seen as a sign of wealth.

7. Uncommon Dishes

Even people who are quite daring when it comes to trying out new dishes would balk at some of the dishes offered in China.

Some weird foods you can expect to see include dog meat, cow's stomach, chicken feet, frog lungs, fish eyes, and eggs preserved for a hundred years.

8. Rejecting a Gift or Compliment is a Sign of Politeness

While it is customary to accept a gift offered and thank the giver, doing so in China is considered rude and could even be seen as a sign of vanity.

It is expected that you reject the gift or compliment the first time it is offered before going ahead to accept it.

Weird Cultures in Nigeria

9. Marriage and Luck

In Nigeria, if a man marries a new bride and things suddenly take a downward turn for him financially, it is considered the wife is jinxed and has brought bad luck his way.

10. Widowhood Rite

In most parts of Nigeria, a woman who loses her husband is subjected to a gruesome and humiliating ordeal to prove she has no hand in her husband's death.

In most of theses cases, she's locked up in a tiny hut for three months without the option of taking a bath, has her hair shaved off and she is made to drink some of the water used to wash her husband's corpse.

Refusal to do any of these earns her the name: a witch who mostly likely killed her husband.

11. Magun (Thunderbolt)

A woman suspected of infidelity is laced with a charm, usually by her husband.

The way the charm works, if she goes ahead to meet with said lover, the lover dies after the act. On the other hand, if she doesn't, then she dies after two weeks.

12. Sharo: The Endurance Test

In Northern Nigeria, a young man has to prove he has come of age by taking part in the sharo festival.

This festival involves the man being severely whipped (by someone called a challenger) and he must show no sign of pain or he fails the test.

If "successful", he is considered a full-fledged man and can go ahead to take a bride.

13. Fattening Room

In Calabar, Nigeria, a young bride is kept in a room dubbed the fattening room where she's fed all manners of high-calloric delicacies with the intention of getting her fat.

14. Sole Heir

In some parts of Nigeria, when a man dies, his wealth isn't distributed among his children as expected, but is given to the first male child.

Every other child would hitherto look up to this heir for their upkeep and God help them if he isn't the caring type.

15. Pregnancy and Witchcraft

A pregnant woman is not expected to move about around noon for fear the baby in her womb would be exchanged with a spirit.

If she must, she has to attach a safety pin to a prominent part of her cloth, usually around the stomach region as a sort of appeasement to the spirits that wander during the day.

Weird Cultures in South Africa


16. Cattle as Bride Price

In Zulu, it is not uncommon for the father of the bride to request cattle's as the bride price for his daughter. Depending on the bride in question, the groom could be expected to provide as many as 20 cows to the father of the bride.

17. Food Prepared from Dead Bodies

The Chewa people of South Africa have a weird culture where a corpse is washed during its burial ceremony, the water is then collected and used to prepare a meal for the whole community.

Weird Cultures in Ghana

18. Deformed Children are Killed

This weird culture of killing deformed children used to be so rampant in some parts of Ghana but is fast declining.

It was believed these children were harbingers of evil and to expel the evil, they had to be killed.

19. Human Sacrifice

This is another weird culture that is fast declining

When it was practiced, healthy children would be sacrifice to the gods in the belief this act would bring prosperity and good luck their way.

Weird Cultures in USA

20. 24-Hour Restaurants

Most countries have restaurants that have a fixed number of hours they're opened for business, after which they close. However, in the US, it is customary to see restaurants that run for 24 hours and you can get a meal there anytime you walk in.

21. Refill on Drinks

Again, when you buy drinks in most countries, you get that one drink and that's that. In the US, however, it is common to keep getting refills after the first purchase made.

Weird Cultures in Mexico

22. Punctuality is Mostly a Myth

In Mexico, it is customary for a person to arrive late for a meeting; this is one practice that is seen as the norm.

23. Men and Women Have Different Public Transport

Although not the norm, men and women mostly have different transport in Mexico and it is customary to see cabs scattering to just one sex.

Weird Culture in Greece

24. Teeth Tossing for Wealth

In Greece, a child popping a tooth is jokingly celebrated and the teeth is tossed to the roof in the belief this will bring on wealth.

Weird Cultures in Spain

25. Baby Jumping

To ward off evil, a child is placed on a mattress in the streets and a well dressed man jumps over the child in the belief this wards off evil.

26. Tomato Fight

You would expect tomatoes to be used in meal preparation, but in Spain, there's a fun, although weird culture where tomatoes are used as weapons in one of the largest festivals/fights in the country.

Weird Cultures in South Korea

27. Red Ink Symbolizing Death

In South Korea, writing a person's name using red ink is strongly frowned upon as only dead people's names get written this way and it is believed doing so is inviting death to the person.

Weird Cultures in Indonesia

28. Cohabiting with the Dead

In some parts of Indonesia, it is common for the family of a deceased to dress the body up and live with until the corpse is ready to be buried

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Farrah Young

Comments

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on June 28, 2020:

You are right; quite a number of women don't have it so good culture-wise in a number of countries.

I hope this us something that changes over time too.

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on June 24, 2020:

@ Anupam Mitu

My apologies. I actually got that fact from a few websites during my research. Didn't know the culture is now extinct.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 23, 2020:

Not at all. This was abolished by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in the year 1829, about two centuries ago. And even when it existed, it was there for a purpose, so that the lonely lady should not be the prey for the cruel men around her.

I agree that the situation of lady is not so good here, but in which country is she really safe?

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 23, 2020:

Anupam, thank you. The only culture I know that is weird about India is the burning of a wife along with her husband, when the man died. Is the culture still extant? About a year ago, I commented about my country, Nigeria. And the best thing is that I am not from those parts of the country, although the fatling practice has a peculiar practice applicable to my home town, Okrika. It will be a cultural story come November-December this year, the period of it's celebration. Thank you.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 22, 2020:

Oh my God! Really strange cultures

Couldn't believe that it's happening somewhere

But dear Farrah, your first point that you have said about the Indian babies, I don't agree with that. I am an India. A Hindu. And no where I have heard about this practice. Though we all play with our kids and even throw it for a few feet, that's common. It's used by every parent just to play with the child.

Can't deny that there are so many things which are really starnge.

Like I am a Hindu Brahmin, when we are married, we don't get salt in our food for four days and this is followed for so many centuries. Scientifically it's a great thing as avoiding salt regulates the blood pressure of the newly married couple.

We do worship Banyan tree for the well being of our husbands (which can be a strange thing for people in West)

A mother who gives birth to a child, she too is not given salt for six days. And for more strange things you can search about the strange things done by devotees of Goddess Durga during Durga Pooja. Many devotees stay at one place without a single movement for ten days.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hi, there, yes, I expect changes likewise. But changing a culture is a hard task. It involves the whole communities affected nowadays.

In the old days, when the English cross the oceans and saw any evil or weird culture, they change the same with their laws. For instance, the killing of twice in Calabar and Ajegunle.

Lately, a whole community of Ibo folks meets to change the osu cast system. They agreed and it was changed and osu ends in Ibo land. How long does the change take place? About a hundred years!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hi, Farrah, not at all, please. You're always welcomed. Enjoy the week.

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 21, 2019:

Thanks for commenting, Miebakagh

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hi, Lorna, I understand it now very well. There is a similar custom like this one with the people of Isreal, the jews. The female folks married only within the family so that even a distance relation like another tribe will not take over the decease's land or estates. Many thanks.

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 21, 2019:

You are right, Lorna, I hope it changes too.

Lorna Lamon on April 21, 2019:

Hi Miebakagh, I believe that this old custom was to keep the land in the family and not have someone who married into the family take over. My Aunts actually continued running the farm - they never married and lived there until they died. Their brother moved to America and later sold the farm to his cousin (male).

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hello, Lorma, I am the first born in my family and I will not allow a woman or second son to take that right. But when the son is not interested, and a woman takes over, she is the administrator. That is what English law (including Ireland) taught. When not Bench pressed it in the courts of law? This to enforced the inalienable natural rights of a person, a woman in this issue no matter what the custom dictates.

Should your Aunts did not manage the estates, it becomes a fallow land habit by rats, snakes, and other dangerous beasts. And this is a sight to the clean neighborhood. Is that right? I think the land can be lost to the Municipality Government. Our friend Farrah remarked that the custom is unfair to the girls, and I totally agreed. Thank you.

Lorna Lamon on April 21, 2019:

Hi Farrah, It is unfair, however, many of these farms have been in the family for generations and I think that is why the son inherits. I am sure given time, this will change - I hope so.

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 21, 2019:

Lorna Lamon,

That is truly an unfair culture and I hope it can be stopped soon.

Lorna Lamon on April 21, 2019:

Hi Miebakagh, I don't have a link, however, I was raised on a farm in Ireland and the laws of inheritance still allow the eldest male to inherit the farm property. Personally, I think it's out of touch, however, Ireland is steeped in tradition and I suppose they expect the daughters to marry farmers. Both my Aunts took over the running of the farm because their brother wasn't interested, however, when their father died the brother inherited - totally unfair, however, they accepted it.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hello, Lorna, could I have a link to the "Sole Heri?" for comparison? Many thanks.

Lorna Lamon on April 21, 2019:

Fascinating article - one I do relate to is the 'Sole Heir' as in Ireland the sons of farmers still inherit all the property. Thanks for sharing.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 21, 2019:

Hi, Farrah, lol too. You are welcomed., Thanks and happy Sunday!

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 21, 2019:

Lol, I wouldn't exactly call them demonic, buy some are really gruesome.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 20, 2019:

Hi, Farrah, these wild cultures are demonic. Thanks for sharing.

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 20, 2019:

Hi, Rerirose dile,

Yea, these cultures sure are weird but funny enough they'll seem perfectly normal to the people. Lol

Thanks for commenting.

Rerirose dile on April 20, 2019:

Amazing culture even it is weird.

Farrah Young (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 19, 2019:

Hi Liz Westwood,

During my research, some of the cultures I saw listed as weird for UK didn't seem all that weird to me, which is why I left them out.

Personally, I believe a culture is weird if it leaves you shocked, but I stand corrected.

Thanks for taking the time to read and for the comment.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 19, 2019:

I was waiting to see what the weird traditions were in the UK. Maybe I should be relieved that we don't feature in the list. Although we do have some 24 hour dining places usually in transport hubs and we do have refillable drinks.

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