Cultural beliefs and practices have throughout history defined different communities and the unique ways of livelihoods. These consistently observed traditions have been generationally passed down to ensure their symbolic purposes do not die down and fade away into obscurity. Some cultural traditions, however, are remarkably extraordinary and would excite anyone’s intrigued instincts while fulfilling a generational practice held in the highest of regards and believed to be of unparalleled importance to the communities that practice them. Here are some world’s craziest cultural traditions:
1. The Walking Dead – Toraja people of Indonesia
Sounds eerily like the famous Hollywood series, “The Walking Dead,” right? Well, there is an Indonesian community, the Toraja people, who don’t mind intimately interacting with the actual dead! As crazy as it sounds, corpses of dead loved ones of the Toraja people are exhumed by their living loved ones, and special care is taken of the bodies, including grooming and cleaning their coffins before being publicly paraded to the whole village.
While most people would probably be traumatically scarred for life if they were to encounter an exhumed corpse being merrily walked down the street, the Toraja people culturally prefer keeping in close physical and intimate contact with their loved ones even after they are gone.
2. Certified Cleaner At 30 – German Birthday Chores
As is the joyous expectation when you hit that 30-year-old mark milestone, most people would probably throw a huge party or venture into an awesome adventurous trip with a few friends and family. Not in Germany, though. There is an entirely different experience for people in Germany, turning 30 and are unmarried. For unmarried, they have the odious task of cleaning their friends’ doorknobs as their 30th birthday activity. In contrast, for the unmarried men, they have even more daunting task of embarrassingly cleaning the very public stairs of the town hall or any other public institution for their 30th birthday not-so-fun activity.
How’s cleaning doorknobs and sweeping up the stairs of a public building for your 30th birthday? In Germany, this is the cultural fate that awaits unmarried men and women once they turn 30. A kiss from a counterpart from the opposite gender is, however, said to be the only unbinding gesture capable of freeing the probably embarrassed unmarried people required to spend their 30-year birthday celebrations cleaning.
3. La Tomatina – Spain’s Ultimate Food Fight
Throwing food at someone, especially where eventful congregations are concerned, has been a form of expressional behavior that mainly aimed at reflecting some level of displeasure in the events going on. Considered having been a tradition dating back to the 1940s, La Tomatina in Spain elevates the food fighting concept culturally redefining its magnitude.
Welcoming virtually everyone who cares to engage in this fun activity, a town in Valencia called Bunol annually hosts the famously recognized and glamorous La Tomatina event in August where anyone walks in, grabs a tomato and throws it at the mammoth crowds with everyone doing the same. It is profoundly the biggest tomato fight in the world. While there is no actual damage caused, the mess that results and the unforgettable experience highlights the essence of La Tomatina.
4. Baby Tossing – India
There would understandably be very few people around the world who would even remotely consider going through with this cultural endeavor other than the culturally bound Solapur people native to a particular village in the Maharashtra state in India. It is associated cultural nature of this practice that involves tossing a toddler 50-feet down a tower. There is a group of people at the foot of the tower who are readily prepared to receive the plummeting toddlers safely.
This cultural practice is believed to bring good health, good luck, and enhanced intelligence to the future of the toddlers. It is, therefore, a worthwhile tradition that the Solapur people in India have proudly maintained through the years. As remarkably dangerous and risky the 50-foot drop may sound, they seem to get more of the benefits of the practice than the risks.
5. Hot Coal Walking – Chinese Ultimate Endurance Test
You might have heard of or already experienced painfully challenging endurance tests or activities aimed at strengthening your willpower and commitment. Very few, however, compare to the intensity and challenge that this cultural practice brings with it. There is a cultural belief in China that requires the male partner of a newly wedded couple to carry his partner on his back over some smoldering hot coals as a supportive gesture that is said to ease and enhance her expected labor process.
Walking on hot burning coal by yourself is bad enough, but doing it with someone else doubling your weight is not within any prospective activities any couple would have in mind, especially for the man. Luckily, or is it? The cultural practice is done only once when the newly wedded couple first enters their home for the first time as a culturally legitimate husband and wife.
6. Buffets For Monkeys – Thailand
In a kind and adorable gesture of kind appreciation for their primate neighbors, communities in the Lopburi province in Thailand generously set up an annual feast featuring some sumptuous meals including cakes and fruits and complemented by some beautifully laid out flowers completing a buffet-style set up for the adoring monkeys. Tourists are unsurprisingly attracted to this annual monkey feast and are intrigued by the spectacle of the whole moment.
People living in the Lopburi Province of Thailand have some special bond that connects them with the monkeys they coexist with. Going to the lengths of making this practice a cultural practice admired by millions of tourists visiting this place on every 25th day of November every year.