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Unique customs you may never experience

Mano Po Pagmamano is a gesture symbolising respect for elders. It is akin to bowing, with the addition of taking an elder’s hand and pr...

Mano Po
Pagmamano is a gesture symbolising respect for elders. It is akin to bowing, with the addition of taking an elder’s hand and pressing it to one’s forehead. The practice is predominantly found in the Philippines and some parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. It is said to have been borrowed from the Chinese centuries ago. The procedure is quite common at family gatherings to instruct children to ask for a blessing in this manner from their elder relatives.

It is a unique aspect of Filipino culture and involves literally moving an entire home to a new location. The villagers gather to lift up the structures, carrying them over quite a distance. In some cases, it’s done to avoid damage to the home from extreme weather conditions. It occurs mostly in rural provinces, since these homes are made of lighter materials like bamboo.

The blackening
Practised in parts of Scotland, blackening involves friends of the bride and groom tying the two together in bathtubs, large crates, or behind pickup trucks before parading them through the streets to be pelted by passersby with feathers, soot, rotten eggs, or shoe polish. It is believed to ward off evil spirits – and a bonding moment for future hardships together.

Alcohol and the devil
Russia is one of the highest-ranked countries in the world in alcohol consumption. The country’s love of vodka is also its leading cause of death. Vodka is part of their culture – for instance, you can’t place a glass of alcohol back on the table after a toast—it should be bottom’s up and empty. Arriving late for dinner means that you have to drink a full glass of vodka, no questions asked, as you’ll have to catch up with the rest. Between the first and second shots, there must be no interruptions whatsoever. Never make a toast with an empty glass. If you do, you’ll have to drink the entire bottle.

The tooth fairy
There are several variations of the tale of the tooth fairy. In Denmark, the tooth fairy is called Tann Feen. In many cultures, the mythical figure is actually a mouse, known in France as La Petite Souris, in Spain as Ratoncito Perez, and in Colombia as El Raton Miguelito.

The haka
It is tradition of the Maori people of New Zealand involving menacing facial expressions, grunting, guttural howling, loud chanting, stomping, clapping, chest-thumping – and tongue-wagging intended to strike fear into the tribe’s opponents. Today, it is mostly associated with New Zealand’s national sports teams. It can also invoke poetry and art detailing the history and the lore of the tribe – communicating peace, a welcome greeting or even a show of respect.

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