From the cutely comic to the astonishingly absurd, here are our top 7 weird and wonderful customs from around the globe.
1. Partner Carrying Contest in Finland
An annual event in the village of Sonkarjävi, this preposterous event involves taking part in an assortment of different challenges whilst carrying one’s wife or significant other over one’s shoulder. The rewards for this ridiculous contest, however, are well worth it; the victor is awarded their partner’s weight in beer!
2. Leaping Over Babies in Spain
This 400 year old tradition takes place in northern Spain and involves grown men dressed as devils jumping over perturbed babies who are laid out on mattresses especially for this bizarre purpose. This practice is thought to help keep Satan out, supposedly, although we're not quite sure how this logic was arrived at.
3. Yellow Flowers in Russia
Sending the gift of flowers is always a nice gesture, but you should always be mindful of any associations implied by certain colours of flower. Nowhere is this more true than in Russia where yellow flowers are thought to represent infidelity and the end of a relationship. Not ideal, unless you are sending a weird passive-aggressive gift to a Russian (ex) lover.
4. Greeting Magpies in the UK
If you live in the UK, you may have heard the expression “one for sorrow, two for mirth,” with regard to magpies. What you may not know is that it actually used to be a custom to greet a lone magpie with the phrase “Good morning Mr Magpie, and how is your lady wife today?” (presumably with a tip of the hat and an ornate bow thrown in for good measure).
5. Throwing Cinnamon at Single People in Denmark
If you are Danish and 25 years of age or older, you’d best be on guard; there is a national custom which involves throwing cinnamon at single people once they reach this age. And if you’re 30 or over, this graduates to throwing ground pepper. We have no idea what this bizarre ritual is supposed to accomplish.
6. Throwing Teeth on the Roof in Greece
Kids in Greece don’t bother with the tooth fairy. When they lose their baby teeth the custom here is to throw the tooth onto the roof instead. This unusual practice is supposed to bring good fortune and ensure that the new adult tooth is strong and healthy. It also has the benefit of saving parents a small fortune in placing change under the pillow.
7. Weird Hats for Single Women in France
To celebrate St Catherine’s Day, it is customary for the French to buy strange green and yellow hats for any unwed 25 year old women which they are then obliged to keep on their head throughout the day. We’re not sure why the age of 25 is significant here again as it was for our cinnamon dusted Danish friends. And at this point, we’re too afraid to ask.
Well, that concludes our list of the seven most baffling customs from around the planet. Do feel free to get in touch if you feel we may have missed anything out!