There are many customs or traditions in our day to day life that we rarely even think about anymore. Things that we do every day or traditions we act out during wedding ceremonies that don’t necessarily fit in anymore. In fact, there are a lot of them that we continue to do over our lifetime without ever really knowing why we do them in the first place. You can probably think of a dozen right now that have been around since your grandfather’s time and yet we do these strange customs just for the sake of it. Now that we are in the 21st century many of these customs don’t make sense at all, so why are we still doing many of them?
When you think about it, many of our traditions are from the 19th Century; it’s crazy to think we just carry on some of them for little to no reason. The funny thing is if many people knew why certain customs were around they would probably stop doing them altogether. In our politically correct society, many of those customs would be offensive to do these days. It may be time to let some of them go and maybe start new traditions for our lives and families; traditions that actually make sense for the lives we are living today. Customs that we can force on our children for the next ten decades. Just kidding. Take a look at a few of the customs still being practiced in our society today that really need to be put to sleep.
15. Sleeping with Dead People
No, this is not the start of a horror movie, but you would certainly think it was. In Indonesia, families don’t bury their dead right away which instantly makes you feel sort of icky. When someone dies in Indonesia, it’s customary for them to wrap the deceased in special garments and put them to rest. But not in a coffin and in the ground, but in a bed in their home. The deceased is kept preserved in the house until it comes time to bury them. They do this as a means of keeping the soul safe until it can be put to rest. It seems very barbaric and marginally unhealthy to do such a thing, and yet they still perform these rituals to this day. It would certainly be one hell of a conversation piece for when guests came for a visit.
14. Throwing Change into Fountains
Any time you pass a fountain, you can’t help but stop and peer into the water. Most often you will find the bottom of the fountain is full of change. The coins lay there as a reminder of all the wishes that have been made at the fountain as people stop during walks or shopping excursions. It’s an age-old tradition from ancient times that have us believing that if we throw money into the fountain that our wishes are going to come true. It’s a Greek tradition that dates way back when people thought that you could evoke the blessings from the Gods by giving them coins. People would throw money into the water, and in turn, the Gods would grant their every desire. From what I’ve read about ancient Gods, however, they were more likely to throw lightning bolts at you than blessings.
13. The Fact that Hotel’s Don’t Have a 13th Floor
We can’t even try to be mature about this one because the level of superstition with this one is borderline ridiculous. For many hotels and even some condos, there is no 13th floor; you may or may not have noticed this. It’s an old superstition that dates back hundreds of years, and many believe that it’s associated with the devil. He has always been connected to the number thirteen, and because of that, it’s considered to be an unlucky number. And who wants to stay on a floor filled with bad luck, right? “We can’t have the 13th floor because Satan lives on the 13th floor.” Instead of waving away such ridiculous assumptions, we take away an entire floor, and then we pretend it doesn’t even exist by making the 13th floor the 14th floor. It’s off the charts in creepiness, and hopefully one day we can accept the 13th floor like adults.
12. Publicly Proposing to Someone
I’m not sure when public proposals started as a trend, but I find it offensive at best. There used to be a time when women were courted, and a proposal was between two loved ones after the groom-to-be got permission from the family. Call me old fashion by I think a wedding proposal should stay between two people. Let it be personal and tell your story afterward. These days you see it on sports screens or even live video feeds. They now have a photography package that allows you to get a “surprise” photo of your proposal so you can stare at that moment for the rest of your life. It’s to the point where everyone is trying to “one up” their friend’s proposal. It has to be new and fresh and different than anyone else. Pinterest is full of new ideas to help you do so. Stop the madness and keep these moments to yourself, it’s more special that way.
11. The Garter Toss
The garter toss is something we’ve probably all seen a dozen or more times at our family weddings. It’s a bizarre tradition that goes back hundreds of years. I always thought it was a strange custom for a groom to dig up his bride’s dress in front of all their guests. Well, it just gets stranger. If you look into the custom, it originated because after the bride and groom are married they had to prove that they consummated their marriage. The couple had to prove it by allowing family and even friends to enter their room and get the garter themselves as proof that consummation occurred. I couldn’t even imagine something that bizarre. What’s worse is we’ve allowed it to carry on into our own lives. The reason why the garter is tossed afterward is because it was considered to be good luck to have some form of undergarment of the bride. People who entered the room would take her panties which disturbed the couple so much that the groom would just toss the garter outside the bedroom instead of letting people in.
10. Bachelor Parties
We get it: you want to have one last hurrah with your buddies before your wife wraps that ball and chain around your leg. Does it really need to be a drunken, mind-altering, stripper-fest though? It’s so bizarre that it’s tradition to go out and see naked women as a means of celebrating your upcoming marriage. I mean Hollywood made a movie about the craziness involved when a bunch of men get together for a bachelor party in La Vegas. We saw drunkenness, drugs, naked women and a tiger. There is a reason why women cringe when they hear their man is going to Vegas with his buddies. Not to give men a hard time either; women have proven that we can cause just as much of a ruckus as men can. But maybe it’s time to put away the drunken tradition of bachelor parties so that men aren’t arriving at their wedding hungover with new secrets to hide.
9. Tipping Waitresses
In our day and age, tipping should not even be around. Don’t get me wrong, what I mean is it shouldn’t be someone’s major source of income. Companies who hire waitresses should give them a decent source of income that allows them to survive in the real world without having to depend on tips. Getting tips should be based on the fact that you did a good job and someone wants to give you some extra cash. Tipping should be a bonus, something on top of what you make. These days, waitresses and bartenders are struggling to make ends meet because they have to depend on the kindness of strangers to pay their bills. Not everyone tips and a lot of people don’t tip well so imagine working your butt off for spare change. The custom of tipping should change to allow for a salary and keep tipping as just a bonus.
8. Hazing in Universities
It’s shocking that hazing is still prevalent in our society today. It’s just an excuse to bully someone while you are in a position of power. Nowadays most if not all universities have rules against hazing but despite that it still goes on today. It’s always been considered an acceptable part of getting into the sorority or fraternity of your choice. Even some athletic clubs have their own form of hazing. It’s a dangerous tradition that has led to serious injury and often death. The idea is to put the new members through hell for a certain period of time, and if they survive, then they will be welcomed into the family. Rules have now been put in place to regulate these rituals to minimize the abject humiliation and to prevent people from getting hurt. It’s something that should be forbidden and erased as a tradition.
7. Daylight Savings Time
Have you ever considered why we have such an unusual custom that occurs twice a year? It’s really the most bizarre tradition we have. It’s not like back before we had clocks that people worried about how early it was getting dark. Daylight Savings Time was originally put into place to save electricity. These days, however, it does the complete opposite which makes you wonder why we still have this tradition. No one really wants it to get darker earlier and how many times have you been late for work because you forgot to change the time on your clock? Not to mention the fact that it screws with our sleep patterns and makes us feel generally weird for about a week before our bodies adjust. It’s one of those traditions that no longer has a place in our lifestyle, and yet we continue to do it like robots twice a year.
6. Husbands Carrying Their Wives Over Coal
We thought we had some bad wedding traditions, but China may have us topped. We have a tradition of carrying our wives over the threshold of our home as a sign of good luck to the future marriage. But that’s nothing compared to what couples in China are doing. It’s part of Chinese culture for a husband to carry his bride over burning coals before they enter their new home. Call me crazy, but I think that’s taking things a little too far. They do it as good luck towards a future pregnancy. By the man enduring the pain of the coals, it’s supposed to ensure that the bride has an easy labor with much success. Hey, it could be a great tradition to incorporate into our culture. Maybe then men will finally understand the pain women go through during childbirth.
5. Groundhog Day
We must really be out of our minds with this one, relying on a groundhog every year to predict future weather. If aliens truly are looking down on earth in search of intelligence, I hope they aren’t doing it on Groundhog Day. A crazy tradition but we all find ourselves tuning in on February 2nd to find out if we will finally be free of the winter we have grown to hate. We desperately hope that spring is right around the corner and pray silently that the groundhog will not see its shadow. It makes you wonder if the groundhog knows the true power it holds in its very being. Whoever came up with this tradition must be laughing in heaven. It’s a European tradition that dates back centuries, and it’s puzzling that it’s still around today especially since the old guy has been wrong a few times.
4. Performing Wedding Speeches
This is a tradition that is only fun for the couple on their wedding day. For the rest of the guests, they are impatiently waiting for the bar to reopen while not trying to fall asleep as your sister tells that story about the time you pooped your pants when you were eleven. There should be a new tradition where the couple has a memory box that guests can put funny stories or great memories in and then the couple can read them, laughing their asses off while drinking champagne. It’s a win-win, they get their stories while guests stay sane. The only time it’s fun for the guests is when someone gets too drunk and tells a really inappropriate story and how often do we get those gems? So, unless you are hiring a comedian to do your wedding speech, it’s time to let this one go.
3. Blowing Out Birthday Candles
Another weird tradition that you wonder how it came about and why we are still doing it: That would be the tradition of blowing out candles in front of your friends and family while making a wish you know damn well is not going to come true. I know this because Gordon Ramsay is not making me dinner or tucking me in at night. Making birthday wishes and hoping they come true is the same as believing in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus and yet we find ourselves gasping when someone shouts out, “You told us, now it’s not going to come true!” This tradition actually comes from ancient Egypt as that is where the idea of celebrating birthdays actually came from. The tradition of blowing out candles is a German one; it started in the 18th century when children were given cakes with candles amounting to their birthday age and were asked to blow them out.
2. Touching a Pregnant Woman’s Belly
C’mon! Why hasn’t this tradition died a long time ago? It’s downright creepy. I remember when I was pregnant I felt weird being inside my normally slim body with this new belly sticking out. Women already feel different in their pregnant bodies; we don’t want to be touched by strangers. It’s weird and awkward and made even more awkward when you tell them no, they can’t touch your belly. I mean you wouldn’t even think of rubbing a woman’s belly when she isn’t pregnant so why do it just because there’s a human inside of it. A lot of people do it in the hopes that they will feel the baby kick, but that’s such a random occurrence that the mother certainly can’t make it happen the moment that someone touches her belly. Let’s say goodbye to this weird tradition and move on to better ones. Saying congratulations is more than enough for the mother-to-be.
1. A Very “Private” Festival
It’s called the Kanamara Matsuri, but when you start to see big pink penis floats going down the main street, then it’s time to call it what it is. The penis festival is all about rejuvenating the community on an annual basis. So, why such a weird tradition? It’s Japanese actually, and it’s an annual event that promotes fertility. They have a day where they celebrate and have a parade featuring many phallic-themed floats. It must be something to see when you are walking down the street. If you’re interested in attending, it happens on March 15th every year, and you will find people marching down the streets hoisting a huge penis into the air. They believe that it not only brings good luck for families who want to procreate but they do it also to promote good harvest when it comes to their crops.