1.     Polterabend

Some of the most unusual culture customs centre around weddings and marriage ceremonies. This is especially true of the German custom known as Polterabend. According to this tradition, wedding guests assemble on the night before the wedding in order to break porcelain flowerpots, dishes, tiles and other objects. This tradition is supposed to be good luck for the impending marriage, and it is also a good way to entertain guests. Usually, Polterabend occurs in front of the bride’s home, and food and drink are often provided. This practice may cause a lot of destruction and mess, but it is enthusiastically embraced even in this day and age.


2.     Monkey Buffet Festival

Unusual culture traditions often include both human and animal participants. This is definitely true of the Monkey Buffet Festival, which occurs every November in the town of Lop Buri, Thailand. Macaque monkeys run free throughout this town the entire year, often pulling on human clothing, stealing food, and so on. Instead of seeing this activity as a menace, the residents celebrate the monkeys’ activity every year during the Monkey Buffet Festival. People set up tables in the downtown area and load them up with fruit, cake and candy. Monkeys are attracted by this food, and they come and hop all over the tables, eat the food and otherwise provide quite an entertaining spectacle for onlookers. Unlike some of the other unusual culture customs on this list, the Monkey Buffet Festival is not very old. It started in 1989 due to the suggestion of one hotel owner, but with Thailand’s encouragement, it has grown to a festival that attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is a great boon to the local economy. Clearly, this festival is one of the few occasions on which monkeying around is actually encouraged!




3.     El Colacho

Since 1620, the residents of Spain have taken part in an unusual custom called El Colacho, that is, “baby jumping.” The festival was originally organized to keep the Devil away, although not everyone takes part in the festivities today to ward off demons. During El Colacho, which also marks the Roman Catholic feast of Corpus Christi, infants are laid on mattresses in the street after crowds gather to watch. Jumpers who wear costumes to look like the Devil then proceed to leap over these mattresses. Sometimes, injuries occur during this unusual cultural tradition, but there seems to be no sign that this festivity will be stopping anytime soon.





4.     Blackening of the Bride

The blackening of the bride is another one of those unusual culture customs that is related to a wedding. Many readers have probably heard of this Scottish tradition, which involves the dirtying of the bride, and sometimes the groom, just before the wedding. Friends of the bride or groom surprise their target and cover him or her with spoiled milk, fish sauces, mud, syrup, feathers and any number of other gross solids and liquids. Traditionally, it is said that this tradition prepares the couple for a long and successful marriage. If the bride and groom can endure this difficulty and humiliation, then they will have a strong marriage because every other problem that might arise between the couple will seem much lighter in comparison. After the bride or groom are covered in all the gross stuff, they are taken to a pub or temporarily tied to a tree, and the attackers make a lot of noise to announce the upcoming wedding.




5.     Feng Shui

Feng shui is the Chinese practice of arranging objects according to Qi, which is the energy of life that is traditionally believed to be a part of all things. In feng shui, objects in a room are arranged in numerical categories based on an octagon and the eight elements of life: knowledge, benefactors, children, marriage, career, fame, wealth and family. Arranging things properly according to these categories is supposed to reduce difficulty in that particular part of life. There are many different schools of thought when it comes to feng shui, and it has been adopted in various forms by numerous architects, environmental scientists, landscapers, and others. Many people tend to enjoy the balanced look that feng shui creates even if they do not necessarily agree with the spiritual aspects of it.



Ajossie McOtieno


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