We all practice different traditions, some common and universal, while others are strange and unusual. Check out this selection of strange traditions from around the world.
No1. Chinese hat hair
A Chinese tradition which sees women wear headdresses made from the hair of their dead ancestors appears to be going strong in this part of the country.
Instead of throwing away their hair when they comb it, women who are part of China’s Long-horn Miao minority instead save the strands and add them to their collection of hair that allows them to create spectacular headdresses.
The hairpieces are brought out for special occasions and carefully woven around horn-shaped headdresses fitted to the heads of the young women and girls.
No2. Cheese-rolling in Gloucester, England
This particular oddity has been held for the last 200 years. On the last Monday in May, contestants stand at the top of Coopers Hill and wait for an enormous wheel of Double Gloucester cheese to be rolled. The idea is to race the cheese to the bottom of the hill. Weirdly, the cheese almost always wins, sometimes reaching speeds of over 100 km/h.
No3. Burial in the Amazon
The Yanomami tribe doesn’t believe in digging holes for their dead – or in wasting anything. When a Yanomami dies, their body is burned and the ashes & bone fragments are ground into powder. Then the family members eat the remains.
No4. Bouncing babies in India
In Solapur, a yearly non-religious festival is held in which babies are thrown from a 15-meter tower. They don´t really bounce – waiting catchers hold a sheet below for the babies to land in. Nobody really knows how this tradition came about, but luckily they haven´t lost one yet.
No5. Spitting in Greece for luck
Don´t be too offended if an old-timer in Greece spits at your baby, three times. This is a traditional way to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.
No6. Sifudu in parts of Africa
Sifudu is an important custom practised in different African tribes. On the third day of birth of the child, relatives gather at the hut, picking leaves from the Sifudu tree. A small fire is made at the centre of the hut and the Sifudu leaves are burnt to produce a thin pall of smoke. The leaves have an extremely pungent aroma that irritates mouth, nose and eyes. Then the baby is carried by a woman with his head downward in the smoke and is passed several times through the smoke and is then handed back to the mother who quickly passes the child under her leg.
It is believed that the ritual ensures that the child is never subjected to fright, timidness or shyness.
No7. Suttee or self cremation in India
Suttee or self cremation involves widows who voluntarily lie by her dead husband’s side on his funeral pyre to be burnt alive with the corpse.
Suttee is a very old Hindu custom practised in India for many centuries until it was banned by the British in 1829.
The widow is considered a bad omen in the Hindu society. She is not allowed to attend social gatherings and everything from her touch to her presence is considered extremely impure. Although the core idea behind this strange custom is to reunite the couple in afterlife, most of the outsiders and even many Indians see this as just inhumanity.
No8. Blackening of the bride in Scotland
Marriage is one of the most joyous occasions in all cultures and countries. An occasion filled with laughter, joy and happiness. But it can become an occasion of craziness in Scotland. The Scottish people are not like any other European. Their men wear skirts and they can make music out of a bag. But even more bizarre is what they do with their newly wed bride. Instead of throwing rice, the Scots welcome their bride with eggs and sauces on her face. They dub this strange ritual as the “blackening of bride”.
No9. Jhator in Tibet
In Tibet, Buddhists practice a strange sacred ritual called Jhator, or sky burial. Buddhists believe in a cycle of rebirth, which means that there is no need to preserve a body after death, since the soul has moved on to another realm. The bodies of the dead are therefore taken to open grounds—usually at very high altitudes—and then left as alms for scavengers such as vultures. In order to dispose of the body as quickly as possible, a specialist cuts the corpse into pieces, and spreads it around to be devoured.