Weird Traditions Around The World You Never Knew Existed

From getting your face shoved into a cake, to air guitar official championships, this big world has its fair share of weird, interesting, and funny traditions. While some will make you want to try them out, others might make you want to run the other way.

Denmark: Throwing Cinnamon At Single People

25th birthday
Photo Credit: @sparkleandbash / Instagram
Photo Credit: @sparkleandbash / Instagram

If you’re turning 25 and are still single in Denmark, your friends are likely on their way to shower you with cinnamon all day long. You might want to find a significant other fast after that because if you’re still single at 30, you’re getting pepper instead.

Thailand: Monkeys Get Served A Five-Star Buffet

GettyImages-1184511149
Photo Credit: Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

On the last Sunday of November, the monkeys of Thailand rejoice in a full buffet that chefs spend hours preparing. Locals also contribute by offering snacks, sweets, and drinks for the monkeys.

Joining in this ritual is meant to bring good luck. Many even dress up and dance like monkeys as part of the activities surrounding the event.

England: Silliest Face Championship

tongue
Photo Credit: Kiana Bosman / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kiana Bosman / Unsplash

This hilarious English tradition has been celebrated since 1267. It’s known as the “World Gurning Championship” and basically has participants make the silliest faces possible. People take it very seriously. In fact, four-time world gurning champion Peter Jackman got his teeth removed to make his expressions better!

Venezuela: Arrive Late Unless You Want To Be Rude

time
Photo Credit: Lukas Blazek / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Lukas Blazek / Unsplash

You don’t want to seem too eager, do you? In Venezuela, you are expected to arrive 10 to 15 minutes later than the time you were invited at, especially if it’s someone’s home. If you arrive early or on time, you might get judged for being rude or even greedy.

Greece: Throwing Your Tooth Off The Roof

teeth
Photo Credit: Jelleke Vanooteghem / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Jelleke Vanooteghem / Unsplash

There is no tooth fairy in Greece. Instead, children are taught to throw their lost baby teeth off the balcony. This act is a symbol that is meant to bring good luck and is like asking for a healthy replacement tooth.

Sri Lanka: Using Your Left Hand Is Insulting

hand
Photo Credit: Chinh le Duc / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Chinh le Duc / Unsplash

In some places, including the Middle East and India, using your left hand to shake someone else’s, eat, or do activities in public is just rude. This is because they believe the left hand should be reserved for cleaning oneself in the bathroom and is therefore dirty. The right hand is the only hand to be used to handle merchandise or exchange money, too.

Spain: The World’s Biggest Tomato Fight

tomato
Photo Credit: @sevenseastraveler / Instagram
Photo Credit: @sevenseastraveler / Instagram

On the last Wednesday of August, the people of Bunol in Spain use tomatoes for the biggest friendly tomato fight in the world. We’re not really sure what the reason is, but it seems like they just do it for pure entertainment.

United States: A Psychic Groundhog Predicts The End Of Winter

GettyImages-1203790101
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona/Newsday via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Randee Daddona/Newsday via Getty Images

When did we start trusting groundhogs’ psychic abilities? Since 1887, on February 2, or Groundhog Day, the whole nation impatiently awaits to see if the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, sees his shadow. If he does, it means there will be six more weeks of winter.

Latvia: Break Up With Them By Giving Them Shoes

shoes
Photo Credit: Andrew Tanglao / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Andrew Tanglao / Unsplash

In Latvia, there is a special significance to shoes and socks that will make you never want to receive them as a present. It’s believed the person you give them to will then just walk out of your life (in every sense of the word).

New Zealand: Throw A Tantrum Until You Scare Them Away

GettyImages-1204125710
Photo Credit: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The Haka tradition is a way of spectating that’s basically like throwing a tantrum or pretending to be Tarzan. It involves grunting, menacing facial expressions, loud chanting, stomping, howling, tongue wagging, and chest-thumping. It’s meant to strike fear and awe into the hearts of your opponents.

Moldova: Kidnap Your Bride

bride
Photo Credit: Marius Muresan / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Marius Muresan / Unsplash

Apparently, bride kidnapping is a tradition practiced in the Caucasus and some parts of Africa. It is now illegal, but the laws are relaxed about it in places like Kyrgyzstan, Chechnya, and Moldova. The practice is to kidnap the girl you wish to marry, and if she stays in your captivity for 2–3 days, she becomes your wife officially.

Thailand: The Longer The Neck, The More Beautiful

GettyImages-951671056
Photo Credit: Valletta Vittorio/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Valletta Vittorio/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Women in Thailand’s Karen tribe dream of having a neck as long as a giraffe’s. They believe that a long neck adds to the beauty, elegance, and attractiveness of a girl. Since as young as the age of 5, girls wear heavy rings around their neck to stretch it and elongate their neck, adding more and more rings over time.

Finland: Annual Air Guitar Championships

GettyImages-975780120
Photo Credit: Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Chances are you’ve practiced your air guitar skills at some point, so why not take them to the next level and test them internationally at the annual Air Guitar World Championships? Every year in August in Finland, each participant is given two rounds of one minute each to show off their air guitar skills.

Their motto is, “Make air, not war.”

Bali: On The New Year, Silence Really Is A Virtue

GettyImages-1129194428
Photo Credit: SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images

In Bali, New Year’s is celebrated with a 24-hour period of silence and meditation known as “Nyepi.” Minimal talking is allowed, but all travel, work, or leisure is restricted. This is reinforced by the Pecalang, the traditional security men who make sure you follow the rules and stay inside. The next day is full of socializing and celebrations.

France: Finding The Figurine In The Cake Makes You King For A Day

galette de roi
Photo Credit: @bateelgroumet / Instagram
Photo Credit: @bateelgroumet / Instagram

Here is a tradition we’re ready to get behind! In January, the feast of the Epiphany is celebrated in France with “La galette des rois” or “Kings’ cake,” which is made with a pastry crust and a center of sweet frangipani.

They also put a little porcelain figurine inside, and the person who gets the slice of cake with it inside gets to be the king for the day, with a paper crown and everything!

Yi Peng: Lanna’s Lantern Festival Illuminates The Sky

GettyImages-457871346
Photo Credit: Atid Kiattisaksiri/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Atid Kiattisaksiri/LightRocket via Getty Images

This spectacular festival tradition occurs in Chang Mai. Thousands and thousands unite to light rice paper lanterns and unleash them into the night sky on the full moon of the 12th Thai month (usually November).

England: Cheese-Rolling Competition

GettyImages-535847812
Photo Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

All cheese lovers get together annually for a traditional cheese-rolling competition in Gloucestershire in England. Basically, they gather on top of Cooper’s Hill, where a wheel of cheese is sent rolling down the hill. The participants then race down the hill after it. Injuries are not uncommon to both participants and spectators.

Russia: The Color Of The Flowers You Give Matters

yellow flowers
Photo Credit: Huyen Nguyen / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Huyen Nguyen / Unsplash

Be careful what flowers you give to Russians, as some have special significance. For example, yellow colors symbolize break-ups or deceit, while red is taboo because it is the color of the flowers given to veterans who survived the war and the flowers put on graves.

Hungary: A Vow To Never Clink Glasses When You Cheers

cheers
Photo Credit: Quentin Dr / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Quentin Dr / Unsplash

In Hungary, although people cheers, they do not clink their glasses. This goes back to 1849 when Hungarian forces who were defeated in their war with Austria witnessed Austrian generals celebrating the occasion by drinking beer and clinking their glasses.

They then swore not to clink their glasses when having a drink for 150 years. The official vow ended in 1999, but the custom kind of remained.

Mexico: Getting Your Face Shoved In Your Birthday Cake

cake
Photo Credit: Sincerely Media / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Sincerely Media / Unsplash

In Mexico, getting your face shoved in a cake is a tradition on your birthday and even has it’s own process. They bring out the cake and present it to you, guests sing and you blow the candles. Then, when you go to take a bite, you expect someone to shove your face down into it.