The World's Strangest Traditions

Country you go, bizarre tradition what you find! Each country, each city, each community is deeply tied to its own culture and customs, e the beauty of traveling is definitely the discovery: not only of places we do not know, but also of cultures and traditions very far from ours, sometimes incredible, or sometimes simply very strange in our eyes.

Most of these customs they are linked to religious events, or to particular moments in people's lives, such as marriage, birth or death. In this article, we present some of the strangest traditions in the world:


  1. Dongsangnye, South Korea
  2. El Colacho, Spain
  3. Setsubun, Japan
  4. Transport of the wife, Finland
  5. Tomatina, Spain
  6. Cheese Rolling, Brockworth
  7. Kanamara Matsuri, Japan
  8. Krampusnacht, Austria
  9. Kidnapping of the bride, Romania
  10. Suspended coffins, Philippines
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Dongsangnye, South Korea

One of the most bizarre marriage traditions comes from South Korea. On the evening of wedding in fact, the groom's friends cannot leave the reception if they do not first dedicate themselves to this custom. Tradition requires that the groom takes off his shoes and socks, that his ankles are tied together with a rope and that the guests then get to beat his feet. Tradition would dictate that the whipping be given with a fish, the corvina. The meaning behind this ritual would be that the fish must give the new husband intelligence and strength, which will be useful to him in marriage, and the whipping would be a kind of encouragement to fulfill his marital duties on the wedding night.

2 - El Colacho, Spain

El Colacho is probably one of the most original Spanish holidays, known as the newborn jump. It is a festival linked to the Catholic anniversary of Corpus Domini which has been celebrated every year since 1620 in the small town of Castrillo de Murcia, in the province of Burgos.
The party lasts 4 days but the most anticipated event, precisely the Colacho jump, takes place on Corpus Christi Sunday. According to tradition, of the men dressed as devils must jump over with a jump children born in the last year, which are placed on mattresses placed along the path of the procession, in order to protect them from evil spirits. After the jump, tradition has it that rose petals are thrown on babies as a blessing.
The origins of this custom are not known, but it is commonly believed that it serves the purification of original sin, as well as to ward off evil spirits.

3 - Setsubun, Japan

Always in order to ward off evil spirits, in Japan setsubun is celebrated every year on February 3, which is part of the celebrations linked to spring and can be considered as a sort of last of the year, according to the ancient lunar calendar, and which is accompanied by various rites aimed at purifying oneself from the evil of previous year and to chase away evil spirits. On this day, families and temples follow the rite of mamemaki, which consists of having someone, usually the father of the family, wear one demon mask and in throw the beans at him shouting "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" translatable as "Outside the demons! Inside the luck!". At the end of the ritual everyone, to ensure good luck in the coming year, must eat as many soy beans as his age, plus one for the coming year.

4 - Transport of the wife, Finland

Every year since 1992 in the city of Sonkajärvi, in Finland, a world Championship very particular: theeukonkanto, That is, the transportation of the wife, is a "sporting" competition that sees mixed couples competing on a 253,5 meter course along which the competitors must run carrying their wives on their shoulders, overcoming various obstacles, including pools of water and barriers.
In the event that the spouse falls, there is a penalty of 15 seconds. Whoever comes in first wins an amount of beer equal to the weight of his wife. According to tradition, this "discipline" was in vogue as early as the nineteenth century, when a rascal of the period, such Ronkainen, had the habit, at the end of the evening, of carrying a girl on his shoulders and taking her away.

5 - Tomatina, Spain

La Tomatina is one of the best known Iberian festivals and is held every year in August in the town of Buñol, about 40 km from Valencia. On this occasion, the streets of the city are filled with people, music and tomatoes! It is in fact one battle to the sound of tomatoes, in which the approximately 40 thousand participants challenge each other by throwing the red vegetable. The tomatoes are thrown from five trucks that parade through the streets of the city, then they are reused as weapons for the battle among the thousands of people participating in the event.
The origin of this festival is linked to a fight, born in 1945 between groups of young people who started throwing tomatoes at each other, until the police intervention that dispersed the group of brawlers. However, the following year the event repeated itself, with groups of young people who brought tomatoes from home to "pick up" the conversation where they had left off. Throughout the 50s the party was opposed by the authorities, until in 1957 the party was authorized and became official.

6 - Cheese Rolling, Brockworth

Every year, on the hill Cooper Hill's, near BrockworthIl, takes place what we could call one very special cross-country race. In fact, the Cheese Rolling a real "cheese rolling" sports competition.
The race, in fact, foresees that the participants compete in a race on a long steep slope, chasing a cheese that rolls.
The aim, of course, is to be the first to reach and grab the rolling cheese wheel, an 8-kilo Double Gloucester wheel that rolls down 200 meters. Not an easy thing, since the shape is capable of exceed the speed of 100 km / h. The origins of this competition are unknown, but it is thought that it was also practiced in Roman times, probably as a form of pagan rite.

7 - Kanamara Matsuri, Japan

Il Kanamara Matsuri ("festival of the iron penis") is a very special festival that takes place every year on the first Sunday of April in the city of Kawasaki.
It is a Shinto ritual linked to fertility which has very ancient origins, in fact dates back to 1600, when prostitutes used to go to the temple to pray for an increase in their earnings and to prevent venereal diseases.
The origins of the rite date back to a legend according to which there was one in the city of Kawasaki young man possessed by a demon, which it was slipped into her vagina e he bit the penis of all men who tried to possess it, castrating them. One day, a blacksmith, to solve the problem, built a big phallus of steel, with which he penetrated the young woman, thus managing to defeat the evil spirit. To commemorate the feat, a Shinto shrine was built, the Wakamiya Hachimangu where the metal phallus was worshiped. The feast today is an occasion of prayer for the conception of a child and an easy birth, moreover the feast has become a starting point for AIDS prevention and fundraising campaigns.

8 - Krampusnacht, Austria

The Advent season in Austria is definitely terrifying. In fact, on the night between 5 and 6 December, it takes place the terrible Krampusnacht, the night that the demons with horns and chains (Krampus) they make their descent to earth.
The origin of the festival is lost in time, according to legend it would seem that during times of famine, young people dressed up as devils to scare people from neighboring villages and steal their supplies, but the real devil was also hiding among them , recognizable only by goat hooves instead of hands. In order to chase away evil, he was then called San Nicola (or Nicolò) who succeeded in defeating the devil.
Thus, since then, in the run-up to Christmas, the krampus parade through the streets of the cities, to scare and punish the naughty children, who will not receive the St. Nicholas candy.

9 - Kidnapping of the bride, Romania

Let's go back to the bizarre "scenes from a wedding" with one Romanian tradition rather consolidated and widespread, that of kidnapping of the bride, considered the highlight of the wedding reception. This tradition is very old, it even goes back to the Rape of the Sabines, when, after the foundation of Rome, Romulus turned to the Sabine populations to get their women with whom to populate the new city. When the neighbors refused, he decided to organize a show to distract the inhabitants of the region, thus kidnapping their women. The meaning of the rapture at the wedding is that the groom must keep an eye on his wife: if he is not careful the bride is kidnapped, and therefore he has to redeem her in a symbolic way. The ransom is usually paid with bottles of whiskey or champagne, or with a declaration of love made in public. According to tradition, if the bride was kidnapped by midnight, it is the godfather who has to pay the ransom, while if she was stolen after midnight, the groom must take care of it.

10 - Coffins suspended, Philippines

In the Sagada region of the Philippines, there is a bizarre tradition of construction of coffins placed vertically to bury their dead. It is an ancient tradition of the Igorot population who for 2000 years have created suspended wooden coffins which are then placed on a cliff overlooking the sea. This practice allowed to protect the deceased from floods and animals, moreover, according to a belief of the Igorot population, the higher the body is placed, the easier its passage to the afterlife will be.

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