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Weird Things That People Do – Odd Modern Traditions

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odd modern traditions

Not all traditions have ancient roots. In fact, some modern traditions worldwide can be traced to modern society. These traditions represent various cultures and may even be a product of technology and modern lifestyles.

Many people confuse customs with traditions. A custom is considered a behavior that is practiced consistently on a regular basis by a group of people. This can be a religious, political or cultural group of people. For example, the Chinese practiced the now outlawed custom of foot binding.

While a tradition is also a behavior practiced by a group of people, its practice is only during specific events or occasions. These traditions can be as simple as a handshake or bow when introduced to someone or as elaborate as a Thanksgiving celebration with special foods for a grand meal. While these particular traditions aren’t odd, there are many such observances that are quite bizarre.

Strange New Year Celebrations

If you’re from Denmark, it’s very commonplace to witness your neighbors darting about the hood tossing dishes and glassware at each other’s front door. Once the celebration is over, it’s time to examine which house has the most broken dinnerware. The winner is deemed to expect the most luck in the coming year. (1)

In Mexico, the New Year is the ideal time to communicate with dead relatives. There are many ways this can be done. Some use a spirit board or Ouija board or a medium. (1)

Cubans celebrate New Year’s Eve by allowing the children to build an Año Viejo (scarecrow). This is constructed out of old clothes stuffed with newspapers. The Año Viejo is set on the front porch until midnight when it’s carried out into the street and set on fire. Fireworks are then set off. An adult runs from the house with a bucket of water, signifying dirty water from the past year and dumps it onto the street. Now, fresh clean water can fill the new year. (2)

If you visit the Philippines during this time of year, be prepared for some very unique traditions to ring in the new year. Families display 12 round fruits, one for each month in the upcoming year. Each fruit is different such as an orange, grape, melon and so on. The round shape signifies coins. Coins are placed all over the home and, at midnight, all of the doors are opened, including closet and cabinet doors, so good luck can enter. (3)

odd modern traditions

Weird Thanksgiving Traditions

Probably one of the oddest American traditions is that of Punkin Chunkin. It began in 1986 when three friends read an article about a physics class throwing pumpkins. From there it evolved into the World Championship Punkin Chunkin (WCPC) that’s an annual punkin’ chunkin’ contest.

The competition is held the “first full weekend after Halloween in Sussex County, Delaware”. Contestants must use only mechanical devices for throwing the pumpkins. Some devices used include catapults, trebuchets, pneumatic cannons, centrifugals and even slingshots. In 2004, a European championship was inspired and is held in Belgium. (4)

The Thanksgiving Turkey pardon by the President of the United States is a weird tradition that some claim originated with Lincoln at the request of his young son. Others point to John F. Kennedy in 1963. Whenever the practice began, the turkey presented to the president is always pardoned and sent back to the National Turkey Federation (founded in 1947 as official turkey supplier). (5)

odd modern traditions

Strange Religious Traditions

Baptism for the dead is found in the Mormon religion. The baptism of a dead person is allowed via proxy and must be conducted in a Mormon temple. (6)

In India, Jainism is a religion that’s divided into two sects, the Digambars and the Shwetambars. The Digambar sect is considered orthodox and its monks reject comfort and property and live in nudity as a symbol of their dedication to these earthly rejections. (7)

The religious sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses mandates that its members do not consume blood and point to the Bible governing this law. As such, members do not eat anything with blood and are not allowed to have blood transfusions under any circumstances. (8)

odd traditions

Odd Holiday Traditions

Christmas Day

In Japan, the Christmas meal isn’t a turkey, but a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFG) complete with a holiday decorated bucket. (9)

In Caracas, Venezuela, the city closes the streets to traffic so the citizens can use the streets to roller skate to morning mass. Another tradition is for children to tie strings to a toe and then hang the strings from a window so skaters can tug them awake in time for mass. (10)

Easter Oddities

In Finland, Easter almost resembles an American Halloween. Children, dressed as witches, call on neighbors the Thursday before Easter (Maundy Thursday). The children wish their neighbors good health and much wealth and carry a decorated willow twig. Those called upon in their homes reward the children with candy and coins. (11)

In Haux, France, a giant omelet is prepared in the town square with over 4,500 eggs in the tradition started by Napoleon and his army. The omelet typically feeds 1,000 or more people. (12)

In Russia, butter carved into the shape of a lamb is the Easter table centerpiece.

In Poland, men are forbidden to make bread or any other food on this holiest of days for fear their mustaches will turn gray. (13)

Many traditions are national or confined to a specific region or city. Some people start their own family traditions that are carried on from one generation to another. Often this is as simple as a family recipe served on various holidays or attending The Nutcracker Ballet. Many family traditions revolve around a religion or culture.

References & Image Credits:
(1) Smashing Lists
(2) Cuban Christmas
(3) Tagalong Lang
(4) Punkin Chunkin
(5) White House
(6) LDS Church Temples
(7) Jain Study
(8) The Jehovah Witnesses
(9) SF Gate
(10) List 25
(11) Skandland
(12) Woman’s Day
(13) Stuff
(14) Tuuur via photopin cc
(15) Chicago Parent
(16) haven’t the slightest via photopin cc

Originally published on

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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