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Unusual Festivals & Rituals From Around the World

Home > Everywhere > Cultural Events | Lists | Unusual Events
by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published January 2nd 2014
Do Not Try This At Home
These rituals are so unusual you might not believe them, but I swear on the life of my first-born child that I verified each ritual with at least three sources. I have to underline – do not try these at home! Read and weep … blessed multiculturalism. Your relatives are now looking more boring than normal. This is certainly a case of facts being stranger than fiction.

Beer Spas in Czech Republic

beer spa, beer bathing, tradition, ritual, celebration,


Image and Original Source: 'Czech Republic: Beer and Wine Spas'. CzechTourism

I wonder who ever suggested that beer baths rejuvenated nerves and skin. Apparently scientific discoveries have concluded that beer boosts the stamina, benefits the vascular system, helps relax the muscles, regenerates the skin and positively affects bodily functions. The scientist should have been a marketer! You couldn't sell more beer if you tried! Is this the ultimate in mental and physical relaxation?

Whilst bathing in beer, how many sips (or dips) would you be tempted to have? Unlike Australian day spas, the sweet smell afterwards would be quite distinctly different. A bit like the old man after a close Grand Final perhaps.

Baby Tossing In India

babt tossing, ritual, tradition, Muslim, HIndu, festival


Image and Original Source: 'The barbaric tradition of ritual baby tossing: Priests hurl children 30ft from temple balcony for 'good luck'. By Ian Garland. Daily Mail Online. Published 8 April 2012.

In Maharashtra, India, it is a Muslim and Hindu tradition to toss newborn babies from the top of a 15 metre temple. When the baby lands safely, the crowd cheers and passes the infant around before returning he or she to their mothers. No one mentions what happens if the baby does not land safely.

It is believed that this gives the child good luck, strengthens intelligence, good health and prosperity. I hope that is true because who knows what trauma this causes. Is continuing this ritual taking religious duty too far? I remember the media slaughtered Michael Jackson just for showing Blanket outside his hotel window!

World's Biggest Food Fight In Spain

tomato festival, food fight, Spain, festivals, celebrations, ritual, tradition


Image and Original Source: '15 Bizarre Human Activities From Around The World ' - Brainz

On the last Wednesday of August, the streets of Buñol in Spain are overtaken by the La Tomatina celebration. This is basically a gigantic food fight with more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes. Because of the popularity, this event is now limited to 20,000 lucky people.

As if that wasn't enough, the night before, participants compete in a paella cooking contest. The festival featuring music, parades, dancing, and fireworks lasts over a week. I think I'd be over tomato sauce by then.

Polygamy in South Africa and Beyond

polygamy. one big family, three wives
Just one big happy family


Image and Original Source: 'Polygamy uncovered: What's it really like for the women who have to share a husband?' by Dawn Porter. Daily Mail Online. Published 19 September 2008.

Among the Zulus, a chief is permitted to have as many wives as he can afford. Indeed, this is more common throughout the world than seems possible. I was surprised to read a case study where a man with two wives complained about how hard it was for him to deal with the emotions of more than one wife. Nevertheless he was looking for a suitable third wife!

I think someone should tell him that he wasn't forced into polygamy. He might also consider why it always seems like the man has more than one wife and not the other way around!

Wife-Fattening Farms in Mauritania

wife fattening, obesity, ritual, tradition,


Image and Original Source: 'Girls being force-fed for marriage as fattening farms revived'. by Alex Duval Smith. The Observer. Published 1 March 2009.

In the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, young girls are routinely force-fed as part of a regime to make them more appealing to prospective husbands. Obesity is revered.

Girls in Mauritania as young as five are subjected to wife-fattening farms and appetite stimulating drugs. There is no mercy for under eating or vomiting. The girls are told that being fat will bring happiness as a woman's size reflects the amount of space she occupies in her husband's heart.

Cheese Rolling in England

cheese rolling, celebration, competition, festival


Image and Original Source: Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill

In Brockworth, Gloucestershire, crowds assemble at the top of a very steep hill to chase cheese and race each other to the bottom. With speeds of up to 70 mph, competitors and spectators do this at their own peril. Only some people end up with a cheesy grin. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. It'd be much easier to go to the local deli!

Carrying the Bride Over Hot Coals in China

carrying wife across hot coal, rituals, pregnancy, labour belief


Image and Original Source: 10 Jaw Dropping Traditions From Around The World - BuzzFeed

According to Chinese customs, to ensure that your wife will have an easy, successful labour, a husband needs to carry his bride over a pan of burning coals when entering their home for the first time. I'd like to make a bet that many don't do this and therefore child bearing pain is really the husband's fault!

There are many traditions and superstitions about what to eat, the date of birth, personal relations and the even what to think during pregnancy. I reckon pregnancy is hard enough without worrying about all of those details.

Penis Festival in Japan

penis festival, traditions, celebrations, rituals, prostitutions,


Image and Original Source: 10 Jaw Dropping Traditions From Around The World - BuzzFeed

This is tradition celebrating fertility (crops and people). Imagine the cheers and jeers as the giant wooden phallic symbol is paraded through the town to the temple! The temple officials stand on the steps and thank everyone for coming (spelling correct).

To make this a full on celebration, lollies are needed. I kid you not, penis lollypops of all shapes and sizes are available. I don't think I would buy my teenage daughter an all day sucker! It just doesn't seem right. Of course there's lots of alcohol involved and god knows what else this event inspires.

Many of these taken rituals have been enjoyed across time and around the world. But Australians don't have any crazy rituals … right? I wonder if in the future our grandchildren will look back and wonder about the origin of some of our popular rituals and traditions? What might they question: streaking at the footy, cricket waves... What do you think of Aussie rituals?
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Your Comment
I 'd like to go to the beer spa with my fattened up wife
by Grant (score: 2|293) 1506 days ago
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