Strange Traditions in the World

The world is a full of random and quirky traditions that are intriguing to us all. While some have been around for generations and have a clear symbolic meaning, others are much more recent and seem to be rather meaningless but nonetheless entertaining. Here are a few unique traditions from around the world.

    Cortney Paxton - Wikimedia

Finland, known for their saunas, skiing, and great education system, is becoming famous for their annual Competitive Wife-Carrying Competition. Men must carry their wives on their backs while navigating difficult terrain. There are a series of qualifying rounds that all lead to the finals where the top 3 couples face-off against each other. There are a number of different tales as to how this tradition started, but they all stem from a famous 1800's robber, Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, who raided small villages with his gang of thieves.

One account says the robbers stole women and food from the villages and ran away with them on their backs. If you are interested in participating, women need to be over 17 years old and weigh at least 49 kilos, if not, you will have to carry some extra weight in a rucksack to even out the playing field. The entry fee is €50 and there is plenty of categories as you can choose to enter a Senior Series as well as a Team Competition.

Blackening of the Bride is a seemingly unpleasant Scottish wedding tradition that happens the day before the wedding. Friends and family of the bride fill buckets with disgusting items such as tar, feathers, mud, dead fish, flour and anything else they can find. They then get the bride rather intoxicated, "capture" her and dump the contents of the buckets over her while she is sitting in the back of a truck being driven around town. Some say the reason for the tradition is done to ward off evil spirits, while others claim that it shows that if you can handle it then you can handle anything, even marriage! This tradition is commonly done in Aberdeen where both the bride and groom are "blackened" as well as Fife and Angus.

In the Amazonian region of Brazil there is an initiation rite for boys coming into adulthood where Bullet Ant Gloves need to be worn. Parponera clavata, also known as "bullet ants", leave a sting 30 times worse than a bee sting. Their venom can cause paralysis in the hands where the victim will be in immense pain until toxins deposited by the ants leave their body 24 hours later. The ants are caught, drugged and then placed in a woven mitten. The boy then needs to place his hands in the gloves for more than 10 minutes at a time and do this 20 times!

One last odd tradition happens near Gloucester, England, The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. Every spring bank holiday thousands of people gather together on this hill and watch a 9lb round Double Gloucester cheese being rolled down hill followed by a mass of people chasing after it. Usually the participants fall near the top and roll or are flung the rest of the way down. This 200-year old tradition was officially stopped in 2009 but still continues in an unofficial manner and is going strong.

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