10 strange traditions (5)

(1) Rather unusual symbols can be seen on the doorways in the south of France. They are called empègues. They are not works of some local graffiti artist. These stencilled images mean that certain household gave money to some of youth organisation collecting funds for the festivities held in August.

Empègue
Empègue

(2) Let's stay in France. The French celebrate the April Fools' Day by pinning the paper poisson d'avril (in English “April fish”) on someone's back. Certainly, it should be done without being noticed. Apart from France the tradition also exists in Quebec. There are various explanations about the origin of the poisson d'avirl. There are those who claim that the symbol of fish is used due to the fact that pisces is the last winter sign of zodiac.

Poisson d'avril
Poisson d'avril

(3) Piase kokkino (in English “touch red”) is an unusual Greek expression. Imagine two people talking. If they say the same thing together there is a special procedure. They should say “piase kokkino” and touch the nearest red object. There is a belief that without touching such an object they are going to start a bitter argument or even end in a fight.

(4) In parts of the Netherlands, northwest Germany and Denmark (southwest Jutland) people often use periods of very low tide to walk to nearby islands. This form of recreation is known as mudflat hiking. In the Netherlands it is called “wadlopen”. The Germans call it Wattwandern. Despite the fact that the tides change according to regular cycles it is best to enjoy the mudflat hiking with the official guide.

(5) One of the most famous symbols of Papua New Guinea are the Asaro Mudmen. They live not far from the Goroka Village located in the Eastern Highlands Province. They are known for their spectacular masks and the dance they perform for tourists. Their bodies are covered with light coloured river mud.

Asaro Mudmen
Asaro Mudmen

(6) Ba' game is kind of medieval football game that is played in several Scottish towns like Kirkwall, Stormness, Scone, Roxburgh, Jedburgh and Duns. In Kirkwal ba game is played twice a year – on the 2nd of January and on the 26th of December. The ba game is played between two parts of the town. One team is called uppies, while the other is known as the downies (doonies). The team tries to move the ball ("ba'") into its part of town. The ball is made of leather and it is filled with cork. The moving scrum appears in every match.

(7) Georgiritt or Saint George's Parade is held on the Easter Monday. It is organized in the German Bavaria region and in some villages around Salzburg, Austria. Saint George is traditionally depicted riding a horse. That is why the locals decorate their horses participating in the parade.

The parade in Bavarian village of Traunstein is among the most spectacular. It includes about 500 horses and vehicles. The riders ride across the fields and three times around the village church. The priest blesses both riders and horses. The festivities end with a traditional sword dance.

(8) One of the most popular Italian amulets is known as the cornicello (in English “little horn”). It is believed that it protects the wearer from the evil eye. It is also a good luck charm. According to people of Calabria it was modelled after chilli pepper. Cornicello amulets are made of silver, gold, animal bone or red coral.

Cornicello
Cornicello

(9) The biggest hot air balloon festival in the World is the one in the town of Chambley located in the region of Lorraine in the northeast of France. It was first organized in 1989. Over 300 balloons participate in this fascinating event held from the 22nd to 31st of July.

Chambley hot air balloon festival
Chambley hot air balloon festival

(10) Even aliens have their own festival. The most famous gathering of people interested in everything about aliens and other extraterrestrial stuff is the UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico.

Rosswell UFO festival
Rosswell UFO festival

The site of the festival was chosen on purpose. Some people believe that on the 8th of July, 1947 the UFO crashed about 75 miles from Roswell. The UFO Festival is held from 1st to 5th of July. The visitors can enjoy in numerous interesting activities like lectures, music shows, alien BBQ, costume contests, the big festival parade etc.