Strange cultural traditions from around the world
One of the main definitions of culture is as follows; the ideas, customs, and social behaviours of the people within a society. Every culture varies just slightly, from public etiquette from the way that we raise our children. Not only that but culture changes along with the times, ever-growing and developing as we change. However, some cultures have aspects that carry on for years, decades even, which is where tradition stems from. Some traditions are out of the left field and strange to anyone who looks upon them from outside their culture.
One of these traditions is one that can be found in the north of Spain in Castrillo de Murcia. It is a tradition that spans back to the 17th century and is commonly referred to as ‘Baby Jumping’ or El Colacho. A man, dressed as the devil will leap over the babies, holding a whip and over-sized castanets. Each of the babies is less than a year old, as part of the tradition, and the ceremony is to cleanse the souls of the infant children. The leaders of the catholic church in the region will then douse the babies in holy water. This is held once a year in mid-June, on the Sunday after the feast of Corpus Christi and is a mix of both Catholic and Pagan traditions.
Another tradition that seems abnormal from the outside is the monkey buffet festival held in Lopburi in Thailand, in the ruins of the Phra Prang Sam Yot. To celebrate the abundance of macaques that live in Lopburi, people build a giant tower of vibrant fresh fruits of vegetables for the monkeys to feast upon. It is thought to bring good luck to the people of the area. At the start of the ceremony, the gargantuan tower is covered while people dressed as monkeys dance around. The covering is then removed and the monkeys clamber on to the nearly 2 tonnes of produce, devouring it. Monkeys have long been respected in the area for over 2000 years, since the legend of the Monkey King who saved the Divine Prince’s wife from the clutches of a demon lord. Ever since, monkeys have been considered a sign of good luck and prosperity by the local people.
Baba Umer Dargah is a temple in Solapur, India, best know for its baby throwing ritual, where babies are dropped around 15 meters, to be caught by Muslim and Hindu men holding out a cloth for them to land on bellow. This started somewhere between five and seven-hundred years ago, when a man told parents of sick infants to drop their children in a show of faith to the divine. It is said that the babies would land on a cloth that would appear out of nowhere and that they would miraculously be cure of all their ailments. They believe it brings the children good luck and intelligence.
So while we all see our cultures and tradition as normal, others may not see them as so. If you take a step back and think about the things we do everyday from a switched up perspective, it all becomes a little bit strange, because in the end that is what we are, all a little bit strange.