10 strange traditions (1)

What is strange often depends from which perspective you look at certain matter. Different societies have many different traditions. In this article I tried to describe 10 strange traditions.

1) Cooper's Hill is a place near Gloucester, the city in the southwest of England. The fascinating event held at the hill is actually organized by people of village Brockworth. The full name of the event is Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. It is held on the Spring Bank Holiday, which is on the last Monday in May. The event is more than 200 years old.

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake
Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

The event starts when from the top of the hill huge piece of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled. At the moment cheese for the event is supplied by local cheese maker Diana Smart. Competitors then run down the hill trying to catch it. Well, that's only a theory because the rolling cheese can reach speeds of up to 112 km/h.

Sheep race on the island of Sark (photo by Pepitoe)
Sheep race on the island of Sark

2) For the next event let's move to the island of Sark. It is a small island in the southwestern English Channel. The island belongs to the Channel Islands. Each July local people organize rather unusual race. The race includes sheep running down the track. Each sheep has a jockey riding it. Jockeys are actually animal toys like rabbits, bears. The last Sark Sheep Racing event was held from the 20th to 22nd of July, 2012.

3) The Hoche people live in Raohe and Fuyuan Counties in Heilongjiang Province which is located in the far northeast of China. The Hoche are known for their fishing skills. The fish is not only their main food. They also use fish to build houses, boats, make clothes of fish skin. The Hoche use different fish for different clothes. For example, skin of fish like pikes is the most suitable for fish skin threads and pants.

Vegetarian festival in Phuket (photo by Electrostatico)
Vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand

4) The Vegetarian festival is organized on the island of Phuket in the south of Thailand. The festival is held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. In the Gregorian calendar it is between the 18th and 26th October. During the festival members of local Chinese community are on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. They believe that by observing the diet they clean themselves spiritually.

At the processions organized devotees walk barefoot over hot coal, slash themselves with swords, pierce their cheeks with sharp objects etc.

Yanomami people
Yanomami people

5) People of the Yanomami (Chiriana, Yanonámi, Yanoama) tribe live in parts of the Amazon rainforest belonging to Venezuela and Brazil. They do not keep any part of the deceased. The body of the deceased is burned. Bones are crushed and mixed with the ashes. Everything is then given to the family which eats it! The Yanomami believe that when someone dies it is because shaman or member of another tribe sent evil on the person.

Bullet ant (Paraponera clavata)
Bullet ant (Paraponera clavata)

6) Let's stay in the Amazon region. It is a home of the Satere-Mawe people. Their initiation ritual for boys is rather unique. To reach manhood the boy has to put his hand into woven glove full of Bullet ants (Paraponera clavata). These ants are known to have extremely painful stings. The gloves must be worn for 10 minutes. That is not all. The ritual has to be repeated 20 times during several months period.

7) Many people in Greece believe that by spitting you can fight the devil and turn the bad luck away. The Greeks spit three times and say “ftou, ftou, ftou” when someone in their company is speaking of bad things like accidents, death etc.

There is another situation where spitting ritual is performed. When someone in Greece is making compliment to baby or some other person he or she spits three times towards the person being complimented.

8) Little detail from the world of camels. A Tülu Camel, or as it is sometimes called F1 Hybrid Camel, is a breed of camel created by mating a male Bactrian camel with a female Dromedary. Such camel is very popular in Turkey. It is involved in so called camel wrestling.

camel wrestling in Turkey
Camel wrestling in Turkey

What is it all about? A female camel is led in front of two male ones. Being attracted by the lovely “lady” two “guys” start a fight. The match is won by making the other camel retreat, scream or fall. If the owner of camel thinks that his camel is in danger he throws a rope into the field and stops the fight.

9) Solapur is a city and municipality in Indian Maharashtra state. Once a year local people throw their babies off the 15 meters high tower. People who hold the sheet under the tower catch the baby. Local Muslims, but also some Hindus, participate in the event. The authorities allow the event despite the fact that Indian government opposes it.

10) The final, tenth, strange tradition in this article also includes babies. It is called El Salto del Colacho (the devil's jump) or just El Colacho. It is held in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near Spanish city of Burgos. The event is organized on the Sunday after Corpus Christi. In 2013 it will be on the 2nd of June.

El Colacho
El Colacho

During the event a man wears the Devil costume. He is known as the Colacho. He jumps over babies, laying on mattresses, who were born in the village during past 12 months. It is believed that the meaning of this act is to clean the baby of original sin and keep him or her safe from illnesses and evil spirits.