15+ Strange Behaviors That Are Normal in Other Countries
There are 195 countries in the world, and we can break our head trying to calculate all the traditions that come along with them. Among these customs are those that everyone understands, along with others that could be considered strange behavior to outsiders. Like the offensive meaning of the OK sign, crying before a wedding, and changing slippers after going to the restroom. And these examples are just a few of the behaviors from our selection.
We at Bright Side admire the diversity of our world in traditions and customs. And we can’t wait to share the most interesting behaviors with you from all over the planet.
1. Taking a seat in a taxi in Australia and the USA
If you take a taxi in Australia, then you’d better sit in the front seat. The driver may be offended if you sit in the back. And in the USA, it’s the opposite, it’s better to sit in the back seat, since personal space is important for Americans.
2. Crying before a wedding in China
While brides usually prepare for their wedding by choosing a dress, a photographer and a restaurant, Tujia people in China have a special wedding tradition. During the month before the wedding, the bride should cry every night for an hour. Her mother, grandmother, sisters, and aunts should join her over time. While crying, they use a special “Crying Marriage Song.” Also, the bride must cry at the wedding itself, otherwise she will become a laughing stock for her neighbors.
3. Throwing cinnamon at single people in Denmark
In Denmark, when a person turns 25 years old and they are still coupled u[, they are showered with cinnamon. If nothing changes and they are still single when they turn 30, then they will be showered with pepper.
4. Polterabend in Germany
This custom happens shortly before a wedding when the couple meets with their family and friends. The guests are supposed to bring something porcelain and then break it. They can throw everything except glass on the ground. After that, the couple has to clean up the shards up together. It’s believed that this teaches them to work together and to be united.
5. Lördagsgodis in Sweden
Every Saturday is a special day for eating candy in Sweden. This applies not only to children, but also to adults. On this day, people buy sweets, mix them, and enjoy.
6. Hongi in New Zealand
This is a way of greeting for the Māori people. 2 people press their noses and in some cases their foreheads touch each other. It is a tradition to share the breath of life.
7. 2 birthdays in Spain
People celebrate their birthday and their name day in Spain. Spaniards receive their names in honor of the saints, and therefore this day is very important for them. They gather with their family for a celebration. They can invite guests and sometimes gifts are given on this holiday. Many consider name day to be their second birthday.
8. Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand
This is an annual festival when monkeys are fed with fruits and vegetables. There are thousands of monkeys in the place where the feast is held. They freely jump onto tables full of food and drinks and choose whatever they want.
9. 2 pairs of slippers in Japan
Japan is known for its passion for cleanliness. So they have different types of slippers. One pair is used to walk around the house. And the other pair is for the restroom, since its floor is considered dirty. Therefore, it’s bad to wear bath slippers around the house and vice versa.
10. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake in England
This festival takes place annually at Cooper’s Hill. Participants climb up the hill and wait until a round of Double Gloucester cheese starts to roll down. People rush after the cheese and try to grab it. Whoever reaches the finish line first will get the cheese as a prize.
11. Knocking on wood in Russia
It’s customary to spit in order to drive away evil spirits and all bad things of that nature in Russia. This should be done 3 times and strictly over the left shoulder. And usually after that, people still knock 3 times on something wooden.
12. The World Gurning Championship in England
Another interesting English behavior is a championship for the ugliest facial expressions. People without teeth have better gurn capabilities and a better chance at winning the contest.
13. No clinking beer glasses in Hungary
Unlike other countries, in Hungary, it’s not customary to clink glasses with beer. Legend says that when Austrians brought down the Hungarian uprising and executed the leaders in the 19th century, they celebrated it with beer “cheers.”
14. The “OK” sign is taboo in Brazil.
It’s better not use the OK sign in Brazil. It is considered offensive and vulgar. It can also have the same meaning as the gesture of showing the middle finger.
15. Don’t ask for salt in Egypt.
If you have dinner in Egypt, it’s better to not ask for salt. Even if you want to salt your dish, this may offend and insult the host.
16. Inemuri in Japan
One more tradition from Japan is called inemuri, which means to sleep while working and studying. Also, sleeping in other public places is allowed. This is considered a sign of hard and dedicated work, which makes a person very tired. And if they don’t want to sleep, they didn’t work hard enough.
17. Sauna beating with brooms in Russia
While visiting a banya (sauna) in Russia, don’t be afraid if they offer to beat you with a broom from birch, linden, or oak branches. It won’t be a desire to hurt you, on the contrary it will benefit your body and health. This procedure improves blood circulation and heart function, opens skin pores, and relieves fatigue and tension.
18. Watch your chopsticks in China.
Don’t stick your chopsticks into your rice in China. This is a sign of bad luck. Chopsticks that stick up vertically in rice are used at funerals and therefore this is associated with death.
19. Don’t touch people’s heads and hair in Thailand.
Touching a person’s head is considered offensive in Thailand. The head is sacred for Thais and any touching is undesirable. You should actually apologize if you accidentally touch someone’s head or hair.
Which other strange traditions do you know? Or maybe you see nothing strange on our list? Share your thoughts with others in the comments.