Thanksgiving Customs in Other Cultures - Thanksgiving Customs Around the World | HowStuffWorks
Halloween is one of the world's oldest holidays, dating back to pagan times. But it is celebrated today by more people in more countries than ever before. there's. chinese wedding doioutsidethebox via Flickr It's one of the most universal traditions in the world. But, it's celebrated differently by everyone. 11 weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the world you're sure to have your own selection of rituals or customs that make the It's a tradition that dates back centuries to when people believed that witches.
Even today, many young adults continue to live with their parents after marriage, partly because of a housing shortage in the cities. The estate generally passes to the oldest son, although, especially in the case of wealthy and powerful men, most of their personal possession traditionally were buried with them.
The remaining property went to the oldest son. Since the communists came to power inwomen have been able to inherit property.
Extended family is extremely important, and the wealthy and well educated often hire genealogists to research their family trees. Family members, even distant relations, are valued above outsiders. The passing on of the family name is of great importance. If the oldest son in a family has no son of his own, he often is expected to adopt the son of his next youngest brother. If no sons are born in the clan, a sister's son may be adopted to carry on the name.
Traditionally, male babies were valued much more highly than female offspring.
Girls were looked at as a liability and in times of economic hardship often were sold into lives of servitude or prostitution. While this has changed somewhat, those attitudes have again become prevalent with the government's one-child policy.
When families are allowed to have only one child, they want to ensure that it is a boy; for this reason, rates of female infanticide and abandonment have risen.
While babies are highly valued, it is considered bad luck to praise them aloud. It is common to offer backward compliments, remarking on a child's ugliness. A baby usually is not washed for the first three days after birth. On the third day, he or she is bathed, and friends and relatives come to view the new addition to the family.
When a male child turns one month old, the parents throw a First Moon party. The boy's head is shaved, and the hair is wrapped in a red cloth, which, after a hundred days, is thrown in the river. This is thought to protect the child. Women usually are granted maternity leave between two months and one year, but rural women tend to go back to work earlier.
Child Rearing and Education. From a very young age, children are assigned responsibilities in both the family and the community. In the countryside, this means farm chores; in the city, it consists of housework or even sweeping the street. Schoolchildren are responsible for keeping the classroom clean and orderly. Under communism, when women were encouraged to take jobs outside the home, child care facilities became prevalent. Grandparents also play a significant role in raising children, especially when the mother works outside the home.
Education is mandatory for nine years. Ninety-six percent of children attend kindergarten and elementary school, and about two-thirds continue on to secondary school, which lasts for three years. In high school, students pursue either technical training or a general education. Those who receive a general education can take the extremely difficult qualifying exams to enter a university. The educational system stresses obedience and rote learning over creativity. Both traditional Confucians and the Communist Party view education as a method for inculcating values in the young.
Under Mao, the educational system suffered from propaganda and the devaluation of intellectual pursuits. Because of the size of the population, classrooms and teachers are in short supply.
The country has made great progress in increasing the literacy of the general population.
Halloween Traditions and Celebrations Around the World
When the communists came to power, only 15 percent of the population could read and write. Today, thanks to mandatory schooling for children and adult education programs, the rate is over 75 percent. Higher education is not accessible to many. Admission to the universities is extremely competitive; only 2 percent of the population attends college.
In addition to the rigorous entrance examination, students are required to demonstrate their loyalty to the Communist Party. During the summers, university students perform manual labor. The curriculum emphasizes science A mother and her children in a farming commune in Canton. Only ethnic minority families are allowed to have more than one child.
It is considered a great honor to undertake advanced study, and a university degree virtually guarantees a comfortable position after graduation. The most prestigious universities are in Beijing and Qinghua, but there are more than a hundred others scattered throughout the country. There are technical and vocational schools that train students in agriculture, medicine, mining, and education.
Etiquette Deference and obedience to elders is considered extremely important. There is a hierarchy that places older people above younger and men above women; this is reflected in social interaction.
Chinese people are nonconfrontational. Saving face is of primary importance; appearing to be in the right or attempting to please someone is more important than honesty.
It is considered rude to refuse a request even if one is unable to fulfill it.
The fear of losing face is a concern that governs social interactions both large and insignificant; failure to perform a duty brings shame not just on the individual, but on the family and community as well. Individuality is often subsumed in the group identity. There is little privacy in the home or family, and housing shortages and cramped living quarters often exaggerate this situation.
People touch often, and same-sex hand holding is common. However, physical contact between men and women in public is limited. Smiling is not necessarily a sign of happiness; it can be a display of worry or embarrassment. Visiting is an important part of social life. Guests often drop in unannounced and are invited to join the family for a meal. It is customary to bring a small gift when visiting. As a communist state, the country is officially atheist. Fifty-nine percent of the population has no religious affiliation.
Twenty percent of the people practice traditional religions Taoism and Confucianism12 percent consider themselves atheists, 6 percent are Buddhist, 2 percent are Muslim, and 1 percent are Christian. The teachings of Confucius are laid out in The Analects. It is a philosophy that stresses responsibility to community and obedience and deference to elders.
Taoism, founded by Lao Tse Tsu, is more mystical and less pragmatic than Confucianism. The tao, which translates as "the way," focuses on ideals of balance and order and often uses nature as a metaphor.
It also includes elements of animism. Taoism, unlike Confucianism, rejects rank and class. Taoists shun aggression, competition, and ambition. Buddhism, which came to the country from India, is similar to Taoism in its rejection of striving and material goods.
The goal of Buddhism is nirvana, a transcendence of the confines of mind and body. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are not mutually exclusive, and many people practice elements of all three in addition to worshiping various gods and goddesses, each of which is responsible for a different profession or other aspect of life. Luck is of supreme importance in popular belief, and there are many ways of bringing good fortune and avoiding badluck.
A type of geomancy called fengshui involves manipulating one's surroundings in a propitious way. These techniques are used to determine everything from the placement of furniture in a room to the construction of skyscrapers. Many of the minority groups have their own religions. Some, such as the Dais in Yunnan and the Zhuangs in the southwest, practice animism. The Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Huis are Muslim. Tibetans follow their own unique form of Buddhism, called Tantric or Lamaistic Buddhism, which incorporates many traditions of the indigenous religion called bon, including prayer flags and prayer wheels and a mystical element.
Despite the numerous Catholic and Protestant missionaries who arrived in the country beginning in the nineteenth century, Christianity has managed to gain few converts. Christians are mostly concentrated in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Confucianism and Taoism do not have central religious figures. In Buddhism, there are monks who devote their lives to prayer and meditation.
Worship is usually not communal; the only group services are performed at funerals. Today the position has political as well as religious significance. The current Dalai Lama lives in exile in India and pursues the cause of Tibetan independence.
Rituals and Holy Places. Taoist temples are dominated by the roof, usually yellow or green, which is adorned with images of gods and dragons. The interior usually consists of a courtyard, a main hall with an altar where offerings are placed, and sometimes small shrines to various deities. Buddhist temples incorporate pagodas, a design which came from India around the first century C. These temples also display statues of the Buddha, sometimes enormous sculptures in gold, jade, or stone. Worship generally takes the form of individual prayer or meditation.
One form of spiritual practice that is very popular is physical exercise. There are three main traditions. Wushu, a self-defense technique known in the West as gong fu or kung fucombines aspects of boxing and weapon fighting.
Shadow boxing, called taijiquan or tai chi chuanis a series of slow, graceful gestures combined with deep breathing. The exercises imitate the movements of animals, including the tiger, panther, snake, and crane. Qidong is a breathing technique that is intended to strengthen the body by controlling the qi, or life energy. These exercises are practiced by people of all ages and walks of life; large groups often gather in parks or other public spaces to perform the exercises together.
Buddhist and Taoist temples hold special prayer gatherings to mark the full moon and the new moon. The largest festival of the year is the celebration of the new year or Spring Festival, whose date varies, falling between mid-January and mid-February. People clean their houses thoroughly to symbolize a new start, and children are given money in red envelopes for good luck.
Activities include fireworks and parades with dancers dressed as lions and dragons. It is a time to honor one's ancestors. The birthday of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, falls between late March and late April and is observed by visiting Taoist temples. The birthday of Mazu, the goddess of the sea also known as Tianhouis celebrated similarly. It falls in May or June.
Amazing Cultural Facts and Traditions Around the World | Sprachcaffe
It involves symbolic bathing and water splashing that are supposed to wash away bad luck. The Zhuangs mark the end of the plowing season in the spring with a cattle-soul festival, which includes a sacrificial ceremony and offerings of food to the cattle. Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, in September or October is celebrated with fireworks, paper lanterns, and moon gazing. The birthday of Confucius 28 September is a time to make pilgrimages to his birthplace in Shandong Province.
A group of people practice tai chi along the main thoroughfare in Shanghai. The popular form of exercise emphasizes slow, graceful movements. Death and the Afterlife. Funerals are traditionally large and elaborate. The higher the social standing of the deceased, the more possessions and people were buried with him or her to ensure entry into the next world.
Traditionally, this included horses, carriages, wives, and slaves. Chinese mourners dress in white and wrap their heads in white cloths. Ancestor worship is an important part of the religion, and it is common Buddhist practice to have a small altar in the house dedicated to deceased family members.
Tomb-Sweeping Day, or Qingming, on 5 April, is dedicated to visiting the burial place of one's ancestors and paying one's respects. Food is often placed on graves as an offering.
Ghost Month late August to late September is a time when the spirits of the dead are thought to return to earth. It is not a propitious time for new beginnings, and anyone who dies during this period is not buried until the next month.
Medicine and Health Care Traditional medicine is still widely practiced. It is an ancient, intricate system that places an emphasis on the whole body rather than specific ailments. All natural elements, including human beings, are thought to be made up of yin the female force and yang the male force. These opposing forces are part of the body's qi.
Health problems are considered a manifestation of an imbalance of yin and yang, that disrupts a person's qi. Remedies to right the imbalance include snake gallbladder, powdered deer antlers, and rhinoceros horn, as well as hundreds of different combinations of herbs.
Another method of treatment is acupuncture, which involves the insertion of thin needles into the body to regulate and redirect the flow of qi. Massage techniques are also used, and doctors avoid cutting into the body. Western medical facilities are much more accessible in the cities than in the countryside.
Even those who have access to Western medicine often use a combination of the two systems, but the government, which runs all the major health facilities, places a priority on Western medical practices. Health conditions have improved significantly since Life expectancy has risen, and many diseases, including plague, smallpox, cholera, and typhus, have been eliminated.
Smoking is a growing health concern, particularly since American cigarette companies have begun large-scale marketing campaigns. It is exacerbated by prostitution, a rise in intravenous drug use, and lack of education. The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts. The government censors the output of all artists; it is forbidden to produce work that criticizes the Communist Party or its ideals.
There is a long tradition of imperial patronage of the arts that continues today in the form of state-funded literary guilds that pay writers for their work. While providing support to writers, this system also suppresses their creative freedom.
As the economy has become more open, however, the government has decreased its support, and artists are becoming more dependent on selling their work. Chinese poetry is not just a linguistic feat but a visual one. Classical poems express balance through both rhyme and tone as well as through the physical layout of the characters on the page. The oldest known anthology of poetry, The Book of Songs, was put together in B.
One of the first individual poets, whose work is still read today, is Qu Yuan, best known for his piece called Li Sao, or The Lament.
A more popular and less elitist literary tradition developed during the Ming Dynasty with the dissemination of prose epics. Western influence in the nineteenth century led to a literature based more on the vernacular. The first writer to emerge in this new movement was Lu Xun, whose best known work is The Rickshaw Boy, which details the life of rickshaw drivers in Beijing.
During the communist revolution, literature was seen as a tool for promoting state-sponsored ideology. While the years after the Cultural Revolution saw some opening in terms of what was permissible, freedom of expression is still curtailed.
Contemporary writers include Zhang Xianliang, whose work is known for its controversially sexual subject matter, and Lao Gui, whose Blood Red Dusk examines the events of the Cultural Revolution.
Painters are best known for their depictions of nature. Landscapes strive to achieve a balance between yin, the passive female force, represented by water, and yang, the male element, represented by rocks and mountains. These paintings often have writing on them, sometimes by the artist and sometimes by a scholar from a later era. The inscription can be a poem, a dedication, or a commentary on the work. Communist politicians also took to this practice, and many paintings bear the writing of Chairman Mao.
Writing is considered the highest art form, and calligraphy is said to be the deepest expression of a person's character. China has been known for sculpture and pottery since before the earliest dynasties. The art of pottery reached its pinnacle during the Song Dynasty, when porcelain was developed.
Bronze vessels have been used for thousands of years as religious artifacts. They were engraved with inscriptions, and often buried with the dead.
Jade was believed to have magical powers that could ward off evil spirits. Sculptures made of that material were placed in tombs, and sometimes corpses were buried in suits made of jade. Embroidery is practiced by women who decorate clothes, shoes, and bed linens with colorful, elaborate designs of animals and flowers.
Unlike the Western scale, which has eight tones, the Chinese has five. There is no harmony in traditional music; all the singers or instruments follow the melodic line. Traditional instruments include a two-stringed fiddle erhua three-stringed flute sanxuana vertical flute dongxiaoa horizontal flute diziand ceremonial gongs daluo.
Opera is a popular traditional art form. There are at least three hundred different forms of opera from different geographic areas. The performances are elaborate and highly stylized, involving acrobatic movements and intricate makeup and costumes. Actors play one of four types of roles: The subject matter is usually historical, and the language is archaic.
Opera is not an entertainment only for the Bicycles are one of the most common modes of transportation in China's crowded cities. There is a lively rock music scene. The most famous performers are Cui Jian and Lui Huan. Chinese film gained international acclaim in the s and s. The films of the director Zhang Yimou deal with social issues, including women's lives in the precommunist period and the ramifications of the Cultural Revolution.
His films, which include Raise the Red Lantern and To Live, have often been subject to disapproval or censorship from the government. The State of the Physical and Social Sciences The Chinese have long been known for their scientific accomplishments; many discoveries and inventions credited to Western scientists were first made in China. Among those inventions are the seismoscope an instrument used to detect earthquakesfirst created in C. A Chinese alchemist discovered gunpowder by accident in the eleventh century.
25 Strange Customs and Traditions Around the World | The Garfors Globe
Antzar Eguna in Spain: Gentlemen then try to get a hold of the goose as they jump from their boat. This competition is a test of their strength, endurance, and agility, which would make them eligible to wed the woman they adore. However, the custom is no longer practiced using a live goose, because of animal rights concerns. Foot binding in China: Young girls were compelled to go through the painful process of foot binding. For almost a thousand years, the Chinese thought that small feet were marks of beauty and desirability among girls.
The Nag Panchami festival in India: This festival is all about worshipping snakes that are specially gathered for the occasion. It is celebrated in the rural areas Maharashtra and in certain temples.
During Nag Panchami, people dance to the music carrying snakes in pots which are placed on their head and join the procession towards the temple. After chants and prayers, the snakes are sprinkled with a mixture of turmeric and red powder and offered a mix of honey and milk, after which they are released into the temple courtyard. Even though some of the most venomous snakes, including cobras, are used in the ritual, people suffering from snake bites is almost unheard of.
Perhaps they know what they are doing. Burial Ritual in Brazil and Venezuela: When a person of the Tanomani tribe dies, his or her body is burnt. The bone and ash powder is mixed into a plantain soup that the people attending will drink. They believe that this pleases the dead soul as it finds a resting place in their bodies. Krampuslauf in Austria, Bavaria, and Switzerland: Krampuslauf is the scary, devil-like creatures called Krampus that carries cow bells, clank chains and rides through the streets of the Alpine regions scaring children and adults.
The Krampuslauf typically occurs in the first two weeks of December, although December 5 is the most favored date. In rural areas the Krampuslauf traditions sometimes include giving those unfortunate enough to be caught by the Krampus a light birching. The Krampus monsters are often linked to legends of succubus and incubus, the nocturnal, sexually predatory demons. Many believe Krampuslauf to be a pre-Christian festival, drawing on pagan influences which have survived due to the isolated nature of the Alpine region.
It is strange how Hindus show their devotion to the Lord through piercing their body parts including the tongue. This custom ritual, the Hindu Thaipusam Piercings, is bloody but colorful. And looks painful as hell. A rather gruesome tradition. Burning witches in the Czech Republic: Some of us celebrate the end of winter with a spring clean, while others take to the streets in elaborate carnival outfits for Mardi Gras.
People here celebrate the temperate season in an entirely different way, by burning a hag on a bonfire. On the last night of April, many Czechs gather around hillside bonfires to celebrate Paleni Carodejnic, the annual burning of witches.
To keep the hags at bay, the locals burn their broomsticks and huge effigies of witches and hags, which are similar in appearance to the Guy Fawkes burnt in England on Bonfire Night. Sardine burial in Tenerife: A custom tradition among Spaniards is actually burying a sardine, with a funeral procession of mourners in black.
It mostly occurs at the highly spirited moments in the Christian calendar such as lent and the advent period. Mudras among Hindus and Buddhists: Seals, gestures or marks are put on people, in the belief that they will help the individuals control the flow of life.
They think that the energy prana will improve focus to achieve specific goals. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints' Day.
However, in recent years, the American "trick or treating" custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular pastime among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults particularly the older generations have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers.
Effigies are burned and fireworks are set off. Although it falls around the same time and has some similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with Halloween or the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
The English, for the most part, stopped celebrating Halloween as Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation began to spread. It ended in the formation of the Protestant Church, which didn't believe in saints. So they had no reason to celebrate the eve of All Saints' Day.
However, a new autumn ritual did emerge. Guy Fawkes Day festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes. Without Saints, there would be no All Hallow's eve, no Halloween and no partying, so in Britain, when a a conspiracy to blow up the English Parliament and King James I in was foiled for the whole story, click here!
The celebrations that people were accustomed to just moved to November 5 and became Guy Fawkes Day. So, although technically, the celebration was to commemorate the failure of the plot, nonetheless, it was Halloween.
Bonfires were lit across the country. People made lanterns from carved out turnips and children went begging for "a penny for the guy" and they were to use the pennies to buy more wood for the bonfire upon which Guy Fawkes was to be burned alive. I knew you'd like that. It is regarded as an "American" holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around A combination of the French love of parties, fete's and costume events, and some simple crass commercialism has led to the rapid rise of the holiday in France.
The French had been hearing about Halloween from foreign residents and tourists and in their English classes for years before the holiday ever showed its masked face in France. At first it had to explain the holiday to each customer, but since aboutFrench customers have tended to be more and more familiar with Halloween. Inthe village of Saint Germain-en-Laye held a Halloween party on 24 October in the middle of the day, to give locals an idea of what it was all about.
This simultaneously increased French people's knowledge about Halloween and made it seem like another imposition of American culture. How is Halloween celebrated in France?
Halloween in France is usually celebrated by costumed people of all ages going to parties at friends' homes, restaurants, bars, or clubs. The costumes themselves tend to be traditionally "scary" - mummies, ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires - rather than the cute costumes like princesses, superheroes, and the cartoon character of the day which are popular in the US. Trick-or-treating is extremely rare; when it does exist, it is not from house-to-house, but from store-to-store.
Stores, malls, restaurants, offices, and homes decorate their windows; pastry and candy shops make up special desserts and candies; and many different kinds of companies use Halloween in their ads. Supermarkets sell pumpkins for jack-o'-lanterns and candy companies are now marketing candy in the traditional Halloween format: Traditionally, pumpkins are not a popular food in France, so the high demand for jack-o'-lanterns during Halloween has been a boon for pumpkin growers.
There is even a pumpkin patch at a farm outside of Paris where people can pick their own.
Amazing Cultural Facts and Traditions Around the World
Halloween in France is rather controversial, due to the perception of corporate and cultural influence, as well as the fact that it is not a typical French holiday and some people still don't understand what is being celebrated. Because Halloween is seen as an American celebration, some French people refuse to enjoy it, having decided to include it in their anti-American boycott.
It's too early to tell whether Halloween will develop into a long-term tradition; once the novelty wears off, it may turn out to be just a fad.
Germany In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm to or from the returning spirits.
Hong Kong The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as "Yue Lan" Festival of the Hungry Ghosts and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours.
Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.
Fires are lit and food and gifts are offered to placate potentially angry ghosts who might be looking for revenge.
While most people here know a little about Halloween in the United States, with the costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating; very few know exactly when or how it's celebrated. The Japanese celebrate the "Obon Festival" also known as "Matsuri" or "Urabon" and pronounced, "oh bone.