As much as we like to emphasize why we should overlook our cultural differences and unite as the human race. Those differences do exist, and we can really use them to tighten our relationship as human beings. Because there is strength in diversity.
So, we going to expose ten cultural differences around the world that will surprise you and they will come in handy when you travel out of your homeland. Read on:
1. Greece – spitting at weddings
As funny as it sounds, this is an important practice in Greek culture which is believed to ward off evil spirits. To make it even more shocking, this spitting is focused on the bride. It is seen as a good luck charm which will bless the couple and keep the devil far from their union.
Things have been modified in some parts of Greece these days. Now, wedding guests just face the bride and make sounds and impressions that show they are spitting on her—without actually spitting. So before you empty your salivary gland on a Greek bride, observe what the locals are doing and imitate.
2. Denmark – socializing in cemeteries
You read that right…cemeteries! While other parts of the world like to keep off cemeteries and let the dead have their rest in silence, the people of Denmark will have nothing of that.
They love to hang around cemeteries and socialize there. When the weather is warm, it is even more crowded with bubbling Danes of all ages as the cemeteries are structured to accommodate acts of socialization. Now that you know these cultural differences, if you ever visit Denmark and get invited to a get together at the cemetery, don’t be so shocked, it is their way of life.
3. Thailand – never touch the head or point the feet
Everybody knows the Thai people are so friendly, but their culture demands that you never point your feet at anyone of any statue, especially that of the Buddha. In addition, they also consider the head to be more important than other parts of the body. This is why it is disrespectful to touch another person’s head in Thailand. Statues are not left out, don’t touch the head. If you see the Buddha statue, avoid touching it as well.
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4. India – men holding hands
This cultural difference comes fourth in your list. The first thing that came to your mind was a romantic relationship between both men, right? However, that’s very far from the truth. It is normal to see two Indian men holding hands, but this simply means they are on good terms or that they are friends. To further emphasize this, Indian couples don’t ever display romance in public. However, this trend now changing in youth.
5. Spain – baby jumping
In Spain, keeping the devil away from babies is serious business, this is why most of them participate in baby jumping. It is the practice of laying babies on different mattresses on the street, while men are wearing costumes that give their best impression of the devil, jump over and run between these children. I wonder what will happen to a man who mistakenly falls on a baby during ‘baby jumping.’
6. China – crying brides
Chinese have many cultural differences with western culture. One of them is part of the wedding preparation when chinese brides cry for about one month to their wedding day. The tears are not out of pain, on the contrary, it is a way of thanking their parents and entire family for all they have done.
There are different stages of this “happy crying”. First, the bride to enter the hall towards night time and cries there for one hour. After ten days, her mother joins her there to cry, as they both accompany the tears with marriage songs. That’s not all, the bride’s grandmother, aunt, sisters and other females in the family join the bride to cry in succession. What a way to usher joy and hope into the marriage!
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7. Russia – always accept their meals
Russians are very hospitable people who don’t joke with their stomach or those of their guests. Food is serious business, and in their culture, lunch is the most important and heaviest meal.
If you get invited by your Russian friend for a meal, don’t ever refuse it, they find it offensive. You might want to skip your own meals to leave space in your stomach for the food you will eat in Russian gatherings.
8. Nigeria – flogging young men to show they are ready to marry
In the northern parts of Nigeria in Africa, this is done at a festival called the Sharo. Before a young man can take a wife, he has to go through Sharo, where a challenger will continuously whip him in public.
The man undergoing Sharo must show no signs of pain while being whipped, this will thrill the crowd and increase his chances of taking home his bride. His ability to ensure pain shows he is ready to face the challenges of life as a married man.
9. Venezuela – showing up on time
Yes, you think it’s about keeping to time, but you’re wrong. But, with Venezuela, we have cultural differences regarding punctuality. Venezuelan culture frowns at people who are prompt, why would someone just show up at the scheduled time? It’s considered greedy and shows the person is too eager for the meeting to happen!
As a good guest to a Venezuelan host, be nice and make sure you are at least 15 minutes late for the appointment, this is what they consider to be polite.
10. Turkey – camel fight
When its mating season, camels have the tendency to fight off other males in heat. So the people of Turkey use this energy for their entertainment. Occasionally, there is an event specially organized for camel wrestling where two male camels are to fight each other. A winner emerges when one camel runs from the fight or backs away from it.
Since there is limited knowledge about cultures outside your own, you won’t be able to really flow with a foreigner as well as you would have done if you knew their culture. Now, you know lots about the cultural differences around the world, so we hope it will make your life easier.