When it comes to a marriage the wedding is something we understand very well. It's something normal to see white wedding gowns, cakes and well-thought decor, tuxedoes, limousines, great food, guests in great outfits and exchanging of vows before a registered officiant. No matter the additions and extras brought in to make the marriage ceremony one of a kind, it's basically something most people in North America, Europe and most of the civilized world today knows about. Mexico: Las Arras There are many elements to a Mexican marriage.

One is the ceremony where the highlight would be the giving of 13 gold coins to the bride by the groom, known as arrassymbolizing Jesus and his 12 disciples.

After the vows a flower band, rope or rosary known as a lazo would be wrapped around the neck of the couple to symbolize the eternity of their marriage. Traditionally, the Mexican wedding was characterized by tortillas, beans and spicy rice with the wedding cake made using dried fruit and nuts, rum soaked, as a mariachi band provided music.

Some of the highlights included the bride's head crowned with myrtle leaves representing virginity. To ensure she never went hungry or lacked, a gold coin given by her father would put inside her right shoe and a silver coin inside her left shoe from the mother.

The groom would also provide three gold coins to the soon-to-be bride: one for accepting the engagement, another for marrying him and the third for carrying his baby. This is not the case everywhere. In Fiji you must go for something unusual and present it to the father-in-law before you can ask for her hand.

In fact, to ask for the hand of a girl a Fiji young man has no choice but present the father-in-law with the tooth of a whale.

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Back in the day there was an old lore that crying during the wedding day leads to the happiest of marriages. As a result parents had no problem consenting to the wedding of a girl who had been kidnapped because she'll be crying, which is a great thing for the wedding. Nonetheless, this practice was legally stopped in In the process a favorable date for the wedding would be found that was calculated from the birth dates of the groom and bride.

On the wedding day, the journey to the bride's home would start with the bridesmaids giving him the hardest time of his life. He had to negotiate his way through them by giving money. If the offering was satisfactory he would be allowed to proceed and enter the home.

The bride would then serve the groom and her parents with tea as a ritual of their parting. After the feast had died down at night the family and friends taunt the couple as they make their way into their chambers. The guests try to remain inside the room where the couple is to retire as long as possible - until the groom and his bride kick each of the the guests out.

Among the Tujia segment of the Chinese, mandatory weeping is a part of the wedding equation. The soon-to-be-bride must weep at least an hour everyday for a month prior to the wedding. Additionally the family of the bride is encouraged to support her by weeping along.

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Rarely does a chicken appear anywhere else in a wedding except on the menu, but in the Daur area of China, a couple intending to marry are required to find a chicken and dissect it.A big part of travelling is turning your head. To observe strange customs, to admire people in traditional outfits, to gasp at breathtaking sights or to try to understand why the hell people do what they do. But some strange customs are stranger than others. Guest post by: Lily Evans. Several wonderful places in the world have long been known for their strange practices and traditions.

Those who are merely passing through these places might consider these customs to be taboo or inhumane. But those who care to look for the meaning behind these beliefs usually appreciate them, despite their strangeness. I have gathered 25 seemingly strange, crazy or mad traditions from around the world.

Please let me know if you know of others that belong here. Men dressed as the devil run between and jump over infants, who are laid on mattresses along the streets. Initiation custom in Brazil: It is strange how young boys prove their bravery and strength. In the Satare Mawe tribe they showcase the courage by placing hands in a basket filled with angry bullet ants. The bites are real pain. The Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand: Some people might be surprised to be looking at some monkeys atop a buffet table, feasting on sumptuous dishes.

In this annual festivity, over kgs of fruits and vegetables are fed to several monkeys that dwell in Lopburi, Bangkok. Tomato craze in Spain: La Tomatina is the biggest tomato fight that exists. It is a strange culture among the Valencians in Bunol where tomatoes are used as weapons. Snowball fights are so last year. Single men are also encouraged, on this day, to leave tokens of freshly cut branches on the doorstep of the women of the affections. It was once believed that the evil powers on this evening, which falls in between the ancient feast days of St.

Jacob and St. Phillip, were far stronger than normal and that for this evening only they ruled over the good.

Flocks of witches riding broomsticks were said to soar the skies, and the Czechs believed that the bonfires would bring them down in flames. Nowadays the celebration is far more light-hearted, and the biggest bonfire in the country takes place in the center of the Czech capital. Tooth filling in Indonesia: In Bali, a rather peculiar ritual is performed by both genders before marriage.

They fill two teeth. It is done to keep any evil forces or characteristics such as greed, lust, anger, stupidity, confusion, jealousy and intoxication away from the couple. None of the above? Sounds bloody boring to me. Gentlemen then try to get a hold of the goose as they jump from their boat. This competition is a test of their strength, endurance, and agility, which would make them eligible to wed the woman they adore. However, the custom is no longer practiced using a live goose, because of animal rights concerns.

Foot binding in China: Young girls were compelled to go through the painful process of foot binding. For almost a thousand years, the Chinese thought that small feet were marks of beauty and desirability among girls.But when traveling abroad, they will not only out you as a tourist, but could get you in hot water in other countries.

Inspired by this Quora thread, we've rounded up some of the most common American customs that are seen as offensive elsewhere.

A contentious issue even here, both over- and under-tipping can quickly make you the least popular person at the table. But in Japan and South Korea tipping is seen as an insult. In those countries, workers feel they are getting paid to do their job, and take pride in doing it well; they don't need an added incentive. While it's customary for Americans to hop into the back of a cab, in Australia, New Zealand, parts of Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands, it's considered rude not to ride shotgun.

Whereas cabbies in the US will sigh and reluctantly move their newspapers and lunches from the front seat, in other countries it's a matter of egality.

In a lot of countries, especially in the Middle East, Latin America, Western Africa, Russia and Greece, a thumbs up basically has the same meaning as holding up a middle finger does for Americans. In Japan, laughter that exposes your pearly whites is considered horse-like and impolite - sort of like noisy, open-mouthed eating is considered rude to Americans. Americans often make appointments for "around x" or "x-ish. On the other hand, many South and Latin American cultures, notably Argentina, would consider it bad form if you showed up to a dinner party right on time, akin to someone arriving an hour early in America.

Not all cultures have or use toilet paper, and tend to use their left hand in lieu of it. Accepting gifts, eating or doing pretty much anything with your left hand in much of Africa, India, Sri Lanka and the Middle East is like a disgusting slap in the face.

It looks greedy. Wearing sweatpants, flip flops, wrinkly clothing, or baseball caps in public. Sure "athleisure" stylish sportswear worn outside of the gym is a hot new trend stateside, but in most countries, notably Japan and most of Europe, this sort of sloppy appearance is considered disrespectful.

In foodie cultures like France, Italy, Spain and Japan, asking for ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce or salt to alter your meal may raise some eyebrows. Before you ask for a condiment, see if there are any on the tables - if not, you should probably refrain. In many Arab, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist countries, showing the soles of your feet is a sign of disrespect, as they're considered the lowest, and dirtiest part of the body, since they touch the dirty ground.

Men should cross their legs with caution. While you probably think you're doing the world a favor by keeping your socks under wraps, in most Asian and Caribbean cultures it is expected that you take your shoes off when entering someone's home. In the US, on the other hand, bringing a six pack of beer to a BBQ allows you access to anything else at the event. In Rwanda and Japan, it is considered rude to eat anywhere that isn't a restaurant, bar or hotel.

Eating a banana on the bus? Ice cream outside? All no-nos. While you think you're being a host extraordinaire, graciously opening up your home to someone and essentially telling them to feel right at home, in some cultures like in Asia this hands-off approach is uncomfortable.

To them, hosting guests is a little more involved. Americans are notoriously friendly, but hugging and touching others, even if only on the arm, is offensive in places like China, Thailand, Korea, and the Middle East. Respect that personal space varies from country to country. Asking "what do you do" is a common American icebreaker, but is often considered insulting, especially in socialist countries like the Netherlands, where people feel that it's a way of pigeonholing them, and of being classist.

You might as well just ask someone you just met what their salary is. Americans often refuse food to make it easier for their hosts, but in most Arab countries, like Lebanon, it is considered incredibly rude to reject anything offered, especially food. Americans are quick to accept gifts, favors, and invitations, and often without offering something in return. However, many cultures like in Japan expect you to decline things a few times before ultimately accepting them. In China, you're even expected to refuse a gift three times before accepting it.The world is filled with unique and vibrant cultures.

These traditions and customs have spread throughout local communities and abroad. Some are delightful, but some may be shocking and unorthodox. Taarof is the Iranian practice of performing a gesture of respect and deference, although it is generally understood that such a gesture should be refused.

For example, in some establishments, it is considered polite for the shopkeeper to refuse payment from a customer of a higher social rank. The customer understands, however, that the proper response is to insist upon paying.

The shopkeeper may refuse payment several times before allowing the customer to convince him to accept. This practice can be very confusing to hapless foreign shoppers. Taarof may also extend to social invitations. Should the invitee accept, they may inadvertently put their host who may not have wanted them in their house at all in a very awkward position.

The practice is predominantly found in the Philippines and some parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. It is said to have been borrowed from the Chinese centuries ago, when Filipinos began to acclimate to the culture of travelers and merchants. It is quite common at family gatherings to instruct children to ask for a blessing in this manner from their elder relatives. Another unique aspect of Filipino culture is bayanihanthe practice of literally moving an entire home to a new location.

The villagers gather to lift up the structures, carrying them over quite a distance. Bayanihan occurs mostly in rural provinces, since the abodes found in these areas are made of lighter materials like bamboo and nipa palm wood. While it does take place in urban areas, it is limited to moving items such as hardware, playground contraptions like swings and seesaws, and basketball courts. Islamic weddings are steeped in centuries-old traditions and rituals.

For one thing, it is generally believed that the best day for the ceremony to take place is on Thursday, since Friday is the holy day among Muslims. Two nights before the wedding, the bride is surrounded by women from her side of the family, who paint designs on her hands, arms, and feet. Some symbols are also meant to provide luck and fertility for the woman. Feathers, soot, rotten eggs, curry, shoe polish, and mud are just a few of the horrors in which the couple can expect to be covered.

This fun-filled tradition is believed to ward off evil spirits, and it also provides a bonding moment for the couple that symbolizes the hardships they are to endure and conquer together. Mudras are seals, marks, or gestures unique to Hinduism and Buddhist cultures, most notably India.

No fewer than different meanings can be expressed by the way a person moves their hands and fingers. These movements are believed to allow the individual to control the flow of pranaor life energy, and focus their attention toward a certain goal.

They can be seen in statues, paintings, dances, plays, yoga, and meditative techniques. The gyana mudrawherein the thumb and index fingers touch while the other fingers extend away from the palm, is said to promote mental clarity and calmness, making it the most popular mudra to use for meditative purposes.

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The agni mudra the thumb touching the middle finger while the rest extend away from the palm symbolizes fire and is said to aid the digestive process. In Chile, if the host says that dinner will be served at PM, guests are expected to arrive around or even as late as Even parts of the United States have adopted these traditions, because they have attracted large populations of immigrants from these countries who brought their customs with them.While gestures of the hand are often subject to customary variation across cultures, few can claim this phenomenon extends to contortions of the mouth.

In Nicaraguait is common to point with the lips instead of the thumb or index finger like the majority of the world. Wondering just how exactly a person points with their lips? It all starts by puckering up. The lip point is typically used in conversation to indicate something that is happening nearby. Pretty much every culture has specific rituals for greeting. Latin American cultures and the Romance cultures share the common custom of kissing both close loved ones and new acquaintances on the cheek as a form of salutation.

Yet, the French seem to take this to a whole new level with the number of nuances involved in their kissing rituals.

10 Unique Customs You’ll Only Find In Specific Cultures

For one, the rules vary for men and women. Secondly, the number of kisses required to complete the greeting changes from region to region. This is only a brief overview of the customary kissing practices in France.

Spitting in Greek cultures is a kind of good luck charm that is supposed to help ward off the devil. Spitting can even be done as a superstitious measure to ward off evil during regular conversation.

11 Surprising Customs from Around the World

Cultures typically approach sex, marriage and reproduction in unique ways. Russia may take the cake on this in terms of institutionalized acceptance, though. This is because the declining birth rates of the country coupled with the unequal proportion of women to men and the alarmingly short lifespans of Russian men pose as serious concerns for the society.

Therefore, the government has instated a public holiday created solely to give couples time off from work in order to have sex in the hopes that doing so will result in pregnancy. Parents whose babies are born exactly nine months later can even win prizes for helping to keep the Russian bloodline going. Many countries have rather strange holidays that commemorate their distinct histories. While the United States is a rather new nation, it has been around long enough to develop one odd holiday known as Groundhog Day.

Sinceon February 2, the nation waits patiently to see if the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow. If he does, it means there will be six more weeks of winter. Another odd custom associated with the United States is its intricate tipping culture. In fact, it is expected that patrons leave between percent of the bill in tips. Wait staff rely on this gratuity for a living because legal wages for waiters are low. Further, there are rules for tipping bartenders, delivery people and other service personnel.

While cemeteries are the sites of spooky lore in many countries, this is not so much the case in the ever so secular Denmark. Many people might prefer to hang out in parks, but the Danes find it becoming to convert their cemeteries into areas for socializing, a rather pragmatic use of space we might add. These cemeteries are well manicured and teeming with locals when the weather finally begins to warm up.

Some countries find the act of pointing with the index finger to be abrasive and rude. Instead, it is customary to gesture towards things with the thumb as this is seen as a more polite option. In many countries in Africa, pointing is reserved for inanimate objects only, not people.

Most societies around the world have rules about table etiquette. For western cultures, noisily consuming food is considered rude. In Japan, however, making slurping sounds while eating has an entirely different meaning. This might have something to do with the fact that in western countries, noodles are properly consumed by twirling them on a spoon before putting them in the mouth.

Meanwhile, the Japanese simply slurp up their noodles without contorting them first, an act that is naturally noisier than the former. For members of the Yoruba people, an ethnic group that largely resides in Nigeria, greeting rituals are taken quite seriously.Tiny little shops in the middle of the Swiss Alps share the idealism of this society in the form of honesty shops.

These are little shops that allow you to buy your fresh cheese, milk, bread, honey, and butter without anyone there to watch you indulge in the delicious dairy products of the area. In fact, most of the day, no one watches these shops because they are owned by farmers who are out taking care of the animals, so all you do is leave your money behind in a little basket. No importa. Photo: Esther Lee.

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The idea of hitchhiking made me nervous but with my only ticket out of Istanbul, km away, and no working forms of currency, I stuck out my thumb. I was overwhelmed by Turkish hospitality, I was always welcomed to the homes of those who gave me rides, be it to share giant meals of kebab or be given a place to stay; and I could never part ways without sharing the richest Turkish coffee.

If we happened to end up at a restaurant, my hosts always picked up the tab. Maybe it was the luck of arrival during Ramadan, but Turkish hospitality needs to be adopted worldwide. For someone who was raised in the United States and has worked in the food service industry throughout university, tipping is in my blood.

I want to tip everyone as a way of showing my gratitude for their service, and solidarity with them in their work. But no sooner did I attempt to display my gratitude in a charming cafe in Seoul, then my tip was snatched quickly by my host with a sharp glare.

In South Korea along with many other countries, employees in the food service industry are given fair wages and take pride in their work, and it is insulting to attempt to tip them. A habit and concept maybe the world would do well to consider. You simply stop at one of the hundreds of carts of tinto being wheeled around, or at stands in the street for ten minutes to enjoy your sweet-caffeinated pick-me-up, catch up on the local gossip, and chat with friends.

Photo: Cathy Stanley-Erickson. After a long train ride, we were starving and were drawn to a ramen restaurant by its alluring aroma and the promise of warmth.

But as soon as we entered, we were hit by the sound of slurping. For such a polite Asian culture, this seemed out of place and rude. Clearly, this was a custom I had yet to understand, but as soon as my host explained it, I was excited to partake. The slurping makes the food more enjoyable, the meal more comical and tells your host you loved it. The world would enjoy meals more if we allowed ourselves the polite Chinese custom of slurping and the childlike delight of noisy, interactive eating.

We could go on and on about the efficiency of Germany — from the buses and the trains that run perfectly on time to the incredible timeliness of every citizen — but one of the best German organizational habits that should be adopted worldwide, is pedestrians waiting for streetlights.

If the whole world was to adopt the organized and predictable street of Germany, the world would be a safer place. We obsess over the eternal question of Christmas gifts; do we spend tons of money on new technology for our loved ones or just stick with the always-safe gift card? Iceland has solved this problem with the Christmas Eve tradition of giving a book.

After everyone unwraps the books, they spend the evening reading together.The world is a funny place, and before you get us wrong that is a grand thing! Just step out of your own back yard, and you are in a different realm; but step out into another country, and the sudden culture shock could leave your head spinning and slack jaw dragging the ground for days!

The great thing about the thousands of peoples around the globe, all with their own lives, religion, history, geography and languages, is that all this combined has created such an amazing array of colorful cultures and unique traditions that will keep the happy-go-lucky backpacker forever able to pick from the metaphysical box of chocolates and never get the same sample twice.

But with all these differences, it does lead to a lot of confusion, faux pas, misunderstandings and the occasional all out war! So, without further adieu, we present you with a few of the more common blunders made by travelers in the hope that you never have to see an angry mob running after you. Personal Space 3. Personal Hygiene 4. Gestures 5. How to Dress 6. Punctuality 7.

different customs in different countries

Eating 8. Communication 9.

West and East, Cultural Differences

Gender Differences Final tips before you go. Americans might greet with a handshake; however, there are other greetings out there of which you should be aware. For example, in Japan, people bow, and in Italy and some Slavic countries, people kiss cheeks … and then if you are a member of the Freemasons, well, that gets too complex for us to go into in this guide.

In parts of Northern Europe, a quick, firm handshake is the norm, but in parts of Southern Europe, Central and South America, a handshake is longer and warmer. Beware that in Turkey, a firm handshake is considered rude and aggressive, and in certain African countries, a limp handshake is normal.

different customs in different countries

In Islamic countries, men should generally never shake the hands of women. In the Czech Republic and parts of Germany, it is considered a lack of respect to not look each other in the eye when toasting with an alcoholic beverage … and not just the first toast, but EVERY single time you clink those glasses together!

In the United States and Canada, intermittent eye contact is extremely important in conveying interest and attention.

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In many Middle Eastern cultures, intense eye contact between the same genders is often a symbol of trust and sincerity; however, between opposite genders, especially in Muslim cultures, anything more than BRIEF eye contact is considered inappropriate. The Japanese tend to consider even brief eye contact uncomfortable. And, in some cultures, a woman should look down when talking to a man. Where you may enjoy that bit of breathing room and having people at a distance, be aware that in countries like China, India and other locations or cities with larger populations, people will crowd you, touch you, grab you, etc.

On the opposite side of the coin, coming in too close to people in Scandinavia or even the UK will make them uncomfortable and may be taken as I sign of aggression. Did you know that in some sects of Judaism, the only woman that a man will touch in his lifetime is the woman he is married to? In Japan, Scandinavia and England, touching is less frequent.

different customs in different countries

In Latino cultures, touching is encouraged. This can be religiously offensive, as the head is considered the most sacred part of the body.


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