Have you ever been to a foreign land or heard about a custom or tradition that left you dumbfounded?
In this informative and entertaining article, I’ll be listing a number of outrageous laws and traditions that will definitely make your jaw drop!
- THE MURSI TRIBE AND THEIR LIP PLATES : The Mursi women of Ethiopia take the saying “beauty is pain” literally as most of the women carry large and round lip plates in their lower lips . When a Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is cut open by her mother or any other older woman . The cut lip is then held apart by wooden pegs heal for about three months to heal. After healing , the Mursi girl wears a plate in her lip to symbolize beauty. The lip plate also marks commitment of the Mursi woman to her husband because it is worn with great pride when serving him food. When her husband dies , the lip plates are removed because it is believed that the physical beauty of the woman fades away after her husband’s death.
- IN MILAN, THERE IS A LEGAL EXPECTATION OF EVERYONE TO SMILE AT ALL TIMES : Gloomy faces are not allowed in Milan. This weird law was prescribed by a city regulation from Austro-Hungarian times that was never repealed. Failure to adhere to this law is punishable by a fine. The law only exempts funeral goers, hospital workers and loved ones taking care of a sick person.
- IN SCOTLAND , IT IS ILLEGAL TO DENY ACCESS TO YOUR TOILET : Yesss! You read that right. Any random person can knock on your door and request to use the toilet and you are required by law to let them in. It is definitely uncomfortable and insecure to let strangers into your home but the law is the law.
- THE SPITTING OF THE MASSAI : The Massai, a tribe in Kenya and Northern Tanzania spits as a sign of respect and blessing . Tribesmen spit into each other’s palms to greet , bargain or wish each other good luck. A father will spit on his daughter on her wedding day to bless her marriage and family members will spit on a newly born baby to bless it. This is definitely not the most hygienic tradition the world has seen but it is the belief and way of life of the Massai tribe.
- SEXUAL CLEANSING: This is locally referred to as “Kusasa Fumbi,” it is a popular African tradition practiced in several African countries, such as Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, and more.A male sex worker referred to as a “hyena” is made to have sex with virgins who just had their first period , women who just had an abortion and widowed women in order to “cleanse them sexually “ . At times the hyena is the brother -in law of the widow or a selected future husband of a girl undergoing puberty. The biggest problem of this tradition is that the hyena is not meant to use any form of protection while having sex which encourages the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- WIFE STEALING: Women from the Wodaabe tribe, a subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group found in the Sahel region are nomads and are allowed to have as many husbands as they wish. In what has been dubbed as the most outstanding male beauty pageant in the world, women are free to pick mates from a group of men who do a mating dance in hopes of being picked. It doesn’t matter if the woman has been married, she is allowed to pick a new mate at the “wife stealing ceremony” and the new union will be blessed and approved by the tribe.
- SHARO FESTIVAL : This cultural festival is a major event in Fulani settlements. Young boys who have come of age are to prove that they are ready to become men and take on adulthood. “SHARO” itself means “ flogging” so the boy is flogged by someone else known as the “challenger” in a public place like a market. In order to pass this test, the boy must show no sign of pain .
- JUMPING OVER BABIES : In Castrillo de Murcia, the north of Spain, babies born the previous year are laid on a mat while men dressed up in devil attires jump over them . After the jumping , the Catholic Church leaders in the Burgos region cleanse the babies with Holy water. This tradition has its origins in pagan rituals and has been a local tradition since the 17th century. It is done to “cleanse the soul” of the babies.
Some of these traditions and customs are dangerous, unhealthy and demeaning. Most of them date back to the Stone Age and hopefully, civilization and education of ignorant people will help to stop these dangerous practices.