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Culture and Customs around the Globe: Getting Started

Depending on where you are these traditions from around the world may appear a little strange, but to others they are part of their history and heritage,

TOOTH THROWING.

In Greece, a child’s tooth is thrown onto the roof for good luck.

POINTING THE THUMB.

In Indonesia, a person points with their thumb as it’s considered very rude to point with a forefinger.

WEALTHY START.

In Brazil, New Year’s Day is celebrated with a bowl of lentil soup as the lentil is considered a symbol of wealth

TOUCHING IN THAILAND.

It’s considered very rude pointing the bottom of one’s foot at another person, as is touching the top of another person’s head.

TOOTH FAIRY.

In many Western cultures, children leave teeth under their pillow for the tooth fairy to collect – usually in return for some money!

SILVER PROTECTION.

A Norwegian bride traditionally wears a silver crown with dangling charms to ward off evil spirits.

DON’T MUDDY THE CARPET.

Shoes must always be removed before entering a Japanese home. This also holds true for Indian households too.

 

Silly Holiday Traditions: Groundhog day

USA: listening to a weather-forecasting rodent.

Flickr: pointshoot / Creative Commons

 

On 2 February, the people of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvania gather to observe a groundhog called Phil emerge from his burrow. If Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, you can expect an early spring. Groundhog Daydates back to 1886.

Welcome to Fiji, Drink this!

Welcome to the strange world of traditions aimed at arriving guests. In the Pacific Ocean paradise of Fiji, where palm trees crown islands ringed with white sands, islanders ply newcomers with kava.

Made by squeezing the juices from a local root, the concoction tastes as muddy as it looks. Served in a bucket or wooden bowl, kava is eagerly lapped up by locals as well as many visitors who get a taste for the strange earthy cocktail.

It will numb your tongue (perhaps even your face), make your gums feel fuzzy and probably send you off to sleep. It’s also rude to refuse it.

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Monkeying around in Thailand

Proving that customs don’t need to be as old as the hills to be accepted, Thailand’s Monkey Buffet Festival has grown year on year since its inception in 1989 when a local hotelier came up with the idea to boost tourism.

The temples of Lopburi (two hours by road north of Bangkok) are festooned with mountains of fruit and vegetables – even cakes – and the local population of macaques is allowed to feast. People dress like monkeys, while monkey art decorates the streets.

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Nancy Green
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