Top 10 cultural shocks

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As the saying goes, “Different Strokes for Different Folks, this world is full of traditional does that appears to be “odd” to the outsiders. Here is a list of ten of those so-called “weird” cultural practices.

Whether or not you are acquainted with, many strange things happen in this world. If you are one of those people who is born and raised in a particular culture, chances are, some of the world’s customs will seem really bizarre to you. Different people from diverse cultures practice varied rituals. In this article, I will walk you through ten of those cultures which I find interestingly unusual.

  1. Monkey Buffet Festival

Thailand celebrates a festival where people set up tables covered with fruits, cakes, vegetables and candies for monkeys in front of the temples. The monkeys get attracted to all this amazing food and come hopping all over the tables. Primarily, this festival is celebrated to rejoice people’s relation with monkeys. The festival even has people dressed up as monkeys, who sing and dance to traditional music.

Monkey masks, monkey costumes and monkey sculptures are popular around the time of this festival. The monkey buffet festival is a very fun festival that attracts thousands of tourists and is celebrated on 25th November each year.

  1. The Walking Dead

This tradition is one of the world’s most daringly creepy representations of people’s nerve. When people living in Tana Toraja die, they are not buried under the ground, but are placed into the boxes which are later located in tombs craved out of rock of limestone cliffs. Every few years, the bodies are removed from the boxes, and are re-dressed and cleaned. The boxes which are damaged are either fixed or replaced. The ceremony is known as Ma Nene which translates as the ceremony of cleaning corpses. This tradition surely is spine-chilling and for me, is a weird cultural practice.

  1. El Colacho

This festival is annually celebrated in Spain since the 1620’s. El Colacho means jumping of babies. Anyone with a new born child can join this. The festival begins when all the infants are laid on the ground draped in clothes. Then, the adult males who are dressed up as devils jump over the babies. This, as told by the culture, is supposed to purify the babies from all the wrong doings and the evils. This festival is mostly fun, if not a bit scary to watch.

  1. Bride Kidnapping

This, for me, is the most interesting tradition, even though it sounds absolutely illegal and downright depressing. In Romania, brides are kidnapped by the groom’s friend at midnight of the wedding party. The ransom is usually a few bottles of whiskey or possibly something romantic. The negotiation is done over the phone and the bridge is set free after the payment is made. This is a harmless tradition celebrated for fun and to develop a friendship with the bridge.

  1. Kanamara Matsuri

Kanamara Matsuri- The festival of penisJapan always has some kind of bombshell that keeps everyone stunned. Kanamara Matsuri, as known as “The penis festival” is celebrated every year in Japan to celebrate the life creating male sex organ. Legend has it that back in 1600’s there was a razor sharp toothed demon who fell in love with a woman. The demon upon approaching the woman was rejected, which made him mad.  When the woman married another man, the jealous demon inhabited the woman’s vagina before the night of their wedding.

When the couple attempted to consummate their wedding, the demon cut off the groom’s penis with his sharp teeth. The woman remarried and even the second wedding ended when the demon bit off the groom’s penis. Worried, villagers came up with an idea to trick the demon. They told a local blacksmith to make a steel penis and when the demon tried to bite off the penis again, his teeth broke and he left the woman for good. Hence, Kanamara Matsuri is celebrated to celebrate the victory of the steel penis.

This festival, as you would expect is full of penis goodies, be it candies, key rings or candles. Sex workers celebrate this festival to pray to save themselves from STDs. All in all, Kanamara Matsuri is a very interesting festival that the Japanese celebrate.

  1. Coffins Hanging

Coffins Hanging is a peculiarly unique Chinese funerary tradition that began in the 8th century. Coffins Hanging, as the name suggests, is a custom in which the dead bodies are placed in a wooden coffin and those coffins are hanged on the cliffs. If you ever visit China, you’ll see the hanging tombs on those utterly steep cliffs beside Yangtze River. From the bottom of the cliff, you’ll see the coffins hung about 33 to 164 feet high or some even high up to 328 feet. This practice is also followed by a minority of people living in Philippines and Indonesia.

  1. Carrying Pregnant Women Over Coal

One more from China! Chinese people follow a tradition where a husband carries his pregnant wife over the burning coal. When the pregnancy is confirmed, the husband has to perform this task before entering the home where the baby is to come. This custom is mainly celebrated for the wife to have no complications during the delivery of the baby.

  1. Baby Tossing

Sounds risky, doesn’t it? Baby tossing is a custom practiced by people living in the southern part of India. In this festival, toddlers are tossed from the balcony which is about 30ft high from the ground. Terrified, children scream and cry when being shaken by men dressed in robes who are ready to throw them down. On the ground, several men hold a large sheet of cloth so that the toddlers land safely on it. This festival is celebrated to give children the strength and luck needed for a good and healthy life. Although, it is hard to watch, baby tossing is celebrated to bring out the positivity in the kids.

  1. Mourning of Muharram

This might be the strangest festival of all time. Mourning of Muharram is a festival celebrated by Muslim communities. This festival takes place on the death anniversary of Husayn Ibn Ali, hence the name “Mourning of Muharram”. In this festival Shia Muslims go out carrying whips which is attached to blades and knives. Then, they start beating themselves up continuously. Some even cut off their heads with the blades. This festival might look like unkindest of all, but is still celebrated and followed by people of those communities from generations.

  1. Cheese Rolling

weird UK cultureCheese rolling is a festival celebrated by people living in the U.K. Cheese rolling is simple. An eleven pound cheese is rolled down muddy Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire. People race down the hill and whoever wins, gets the cheese and some other rewards. It is one of the most popular events that attracts tons of crazy cheese chasers.