Unusual Cultural Customs

8 Unusual Cultural Customs The World

Each religion and culture has its own identities. It could be a strange tradition or a ritual of some ethnic group. There are many truly unusual cultural customs traditions in the world. It is a unique culture, but compared to most of the rest of the world, this looks like bad customs and counterculture.

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Unusual cultural customs the world

1. Beat yourself until you bleed

Beating yourself until you bleed is part of an important ritual for Shiite Muslims, which takes place during the holy month of Muharram. On this occasion, devout Shiite Muslims used whips or other terrifying weapons to torture themselves until they bled. They do so to pay homage to Saint Imam Hussein – the grandson of Islam’s prophet Hazrat Mohammad, killed by King Yazid’s forces.

Unusual Cultural Customs

Ritual participants often beat themselves on the chest and whip themselves with chains attached to blades, to torture themselves and remember the suffering their saint endured. In many countries around the world such as Iran, Bahrain, India, Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan – places with many Shiite Muslims, the Ashura ceremony is held on a large scale, solemnly and has become a national holiday.

Beat yourself until you bleed
A devout Shiite Muslim tortured himself with a chain tied to a sharp knife at the head

2. Throw children from a height of 15m

Perhaps few people know that in India there still exists a unusual cultural customs – throwing children from a height of more than 15 meters onto a blanket below for good luck. This ritual is said to have existed for more than 500 years and takes place in the village of Harangal in the state of Maharashtra in Western India. This strange ritual takes place every year, in the first week of December, and attracts the participation of hundreds of people.

Throw children from a height of 15m

Every year, 1-year-old babies living in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have to participate in a terrifying ritual. From the roof of a temple, priests will hold the feet and arms and shake the scared baby. Then they dropped them to the ground from a height of 9 meters. Local people lined up at the bottom, with large blankets to help the babies down and return them to their mothers. Of course, babies cannot avoid panic and burst into tears. 

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According to Indian beliefs, this ritual will help keep babies healthy and bring prosperity and luck to the whole family. After being dropped onto a blanket below held by a group of about 14 people, the child was passed through the crowd and into the hands of the mother. It is believed that this ritual will bring luck and health to the babies.

3. Finger amputation

One of the unusual cultural customs in the world that needs to be mentioned is the amputation of fingers among the Dani ethnic people, in Indonesia. For them, the death of a family member is a huge loss. To ease the grief and send the dead to their resting place, the people of this tribe performed a finger amputation ceremony to express deep sadness and express love and mercy. theirs with the dead. In particular, women in families where someone has died are the ones who have to have the tips of their fingers amputated.

Unusual Cultural Customs

Before being cut, the fingers will be tied tightly with a rubber band for about 30 minutes, the purpose of which is to make the tip of the finger numb and no longer feel pain. Once cut, the fingertips will be gathered, dried and then burned into ash. These ashes will be buried in a special place. When a member of the tribe dies, the deceased’s relatives, such as a spouse, will amputate the fingers and bury them with the deceased’s body. Not only did they cut their fingers, they also smeared clay and ash on their faces to express their pity.

Finger amputation

4. Dancing with the dead in Madagascar

Dancing with the dead is a very unusual cultural customs of the Malagasy people in Madagascar. People in this island nation have a unique tradition of remembering the deceased and strengthening relationships between family members,
called Famadihana, or “custom of replacing bones”. This strange ritual usually takes place every 7 years or so, around the family grave site. During this ceremony, the remaining parts of the deceased will be dug up and carefully wrapped in a new shroud. After that, everyone in the family, from old to young, will hug these cloth bundles and dance happily. Also at the ceremony, the elderly will explain to their children and grandchildren the merits of those who died before them.

Unusual Cultural Customs

Famadihana practice is considered a day to show love and respect for relatives. This ritual is quite close to the burial custom in Vietnam. This is also an opportunity for everyone in the family to reunite and express their close bond. The Madagascar people believe that humans are not born from dust, but from the ashes of their ancestors. Therefore, the household always respects and honors the elders in the family. They also always have the belief that if the ashes have not completely decomposed, the dead have not disappeared forever, but can still communicate with the living. Therefore, until their ancestors pass away forever, they will continue to express love and respect for their relatives on Famadihana.

Dancing with the dead

5. The bride and groom are forbidden to bathe for 3 days after the wedding

The Tidong community in Indonesia has very strange customs during the wedding ceremony. The groom will not be allowed to look at the bride’s face while he sings her favorite songs. However, the most special thing about Tidong weddings is that couples are not allowed to bathe for three days and three nights after the wedding . 

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People here believe that if they do not perform the ritual properly, bad things will happen such as broken marriages, unfaithful spouses, short-lived children… After the third day ends, they allowed to shower and return to normal life. Therefore, every couple must follow this somewhat strange and difficult custom so that their children are born healthy.

Teeth sharpening

Besides, the Tidong people also have many wedding customs that are no less romantic, such as: the groom is not allowed to see his bride without singing a few songs about love to his wife. Or the couple will be separated by a veil and only when the orchestra plays will they be able to see each other on the wedding stage.

Teeth sharpening

6. Teeth sharpening

Teeth grinding is considered one of the greatest religious rituals of Hinduism. This ritual is very important in their culture. Because it marks the stage from puberty to adulthood. This is also a ritual that both men and women must complete before getting married, sometimes it is done right at the wedding ceremony.

Teeth sharpening

Or in Bali, people here consider teeth a symbol of desire, anger, jealousy and other negative emotions. So their teeth are often smoothed on their important days. This is also a ritual marking the stage when a woman has stepped from adolescence to adulthood.

Unusual Cultural Customs

7. Wife sharing in Nepal

The Nepalese custom of sharing wives still exists in remote villages in the Himalayas. This custom originates from the fact that the mountainous areas in the Himalayas have quite a small area of ​​arable land, so there is not enough land to share with children when they get married. The only solution is for sons in the same family to marry the same wife, so they will not have to share the family’s land but can live together and work together on the land the family belongs to. family has.

Unusual Cultural Customs

The Nepalese custom of sharing wives does not lead to any fights or jealousy between husbands and wives. Husbands respect their wives and perform family tasks such as cooking, washing, and taking care of children. Women will take care of and manage the family’s finances.


8. Eating the ashes of the dead

One of the customs that makes many people feel creepy just hearing about it is the cremation and then eating the ashes of the dead of the Yanomami tribe. They live in tropical forests in the mountains of Northern Brazil and Southern Venezuela. For the people of this tribe, funeral rituals for dead relatives are very important. Because they want to ensure peace for the souls of the dead.

Unusual Cultural Customs

This tribe believes in the existence of a spirit world. When a tribe member dies, they find a way to keep that person’s soul behind. There is no other way than to make the dead body blend with the living body, so when a tribe member dies, the villagers will burn the body and eat the ashes.

Above are the extremely strange and scary customs of peoples around the world that Gloloy would like to introduce to you. Perhaps just hearing it, you can’t believe that these unusual cultural customs are real in the world, but in fact, they are still present. Is that the unique culture of each culture in the world?


I am not simply a nature lover but also a creator, conveying emotions and messages through writing and photography. Each of my works is an attempt to bring understanding and respect to the world around us.

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