Things that appear normal and commonplace to some people may seem very strange to others. This is the beauty of cultural differences. Many of these unusual things have become the basis for tourist attractions. Here are some of the world’s most peculiar traditions. starting with Mexico.
Nothing to do with the film of the same name, the Day of the Dead takes place on November 2 in Mexico, where family members come together at cemeteries for grave site reunions. Though this sounds slightly bleak and sombre, it’s actually an occasion marked by high festivity. Celebrators bring food and bottles of alcohol to toast their dearly departed, and it’s not uncommon to hear mariachi bands play to larger gatherings.
At the end of the remembrance service, everybody sits down for a picnic, a feast, made up of the food that their loved ones enjoyed. Many stories and anecdotes are told-in Mexican culture during this period. People share genealogical information through poignant and amusing tales and very little emphasis is put on diagrammatic family trees.
Starting with ‘the breaking of the pomegranate’, a couple of unusual traditions happen in Greece. Many Greek people on islands such as Rhodes and Crete, hang pomegranates outside their front doors at the beginning of autumn, due to its symbolism of prosperity, fertility and wealth. Here it stays until midnight on New Year’s Eve, when they are removed and broken into pieces.
Taking place at Christmas in numerous regions of the country, the next Greek tradition is ‘the marrying of fire’. This is a ceremonious act where a branch is taken from a feminine tree like a cherry tree (kerasia is a feminine word in Greek) – and a branch from a masculine tree, such as a plane. These are lit before the head of the household proclaims “I marry thee fire for the sake of the housewife”.