Traditions and customs from around the world are very much of interest here at Swick and we thought we would share some of the strangest customs that you probably have not heard about!
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Russia and giving flowers
Giving flowers in Russia can be tricky business. The act of giving yellow flowers can signify distrust or deceit, while red carnations are given only for commemorating the dead. Avoid these types and you should be ok!
Pointing with your thumbs
In Indonesia, it is considered rude to point with your forefinger, so they point with their thumbs. You may find this custom also in some parts of Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Japanese children cover their belly buttons when they hear thunder
In Japan, from a young age children are told “Cover your bellybuttons! He’s gonna get your bellybutton! O-heso kakushitoki na! Torarechau kara ne!”. This story originated in folklore, when it was said that thunder storms were the fault of Raijin and Raiju, the gods that were said to beat their drums which caused the epic roar of a storm. Raijin was the more ferocious beast that made the noise, whereas Raiju was the more timid creature who liked to hide within the belly buttons of children. When Raijin makes noise it is meant to rouse Raiju from his safe resting place! Even now, you will find grown adults turning over onto their bellies when they hear thunder!
Be late in Venezuela
In Venezuela it is considered rude to be early for a meal or gathering, as you are seen to be too greedy or keen! One for the lazy among us!
Throwing a child’s tooth on the roof!
Throwing a child’s tooth onto the roof of a house seems to be a tradition in many countries. It is said to be good luck in Greece, India (where it is covered in cow dung first), Philippines and Pakistan among other places.
Don’t give knives as presents in the Netherlands
Gift giving in the Netherlands is supposed to be a good, positive experience. That is why you should not give sharp objects like knives as a gift. it is considered to be unlucky.
Throwing babies off a temple!
In certain parts of India, it is the custom to throw your newborn off the side of a temple, in order to bring it good luck and intellect.
Old Greek men spitting at your baby
Believe it or not, if an old Greek man starts spitting at your baby (typically three times), do not be too shocked! It is meant to ward off beasts and evil spirits and bring the baby luck in the future.