Weird and Wonderful Family Practices from Around the World That Are Worth Adopting

Ever feel like your family gatherings could use a little more zest? How about borrowing some unique traditions from across the globe that might just transform how you bond, celebrate, and connect?

1. Japan: Oosouji (Big Cleaning)

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In Japan, families undertake a big year-end cleaning called Oosouji to clear out the old and welcome the new year afresh. It’s a beautiful tradition that can teach us the value of cleanliness and renewal.

2. Norway: Night Before Christmas Books

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Norwegian families have a charming tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. It’s a cozy, intellectual tradition that could enhance any holiday season.

3. Argentina: Sweet Tooth Sundays

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Every Sunday in Argentina, families gather to enjoy ‘merienda,’ a late afternoon snack that often includes hot chocolate and pastries. It’s a sweet tradition, literally, that unites families weekly.

4. Italy: Sunday Dinner

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No matter what’s happening during the week, many Italian families make it a point to gather for a large, leisurely Sunday dinner. It’s a delicious way to stay connected and share stories.

5. India: Raksha Bandhan

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This festival celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Siblings honor their relationship by exchanging gifts and the sister tying a rakhi (a decorative bracelet) around her brother’s wrist, symbolizing her love and prayers for his well-being and his lifelong vow to protect her.

6. South Korea: Soup for Age

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On their birthday, Koreans traditionally eat seaweed soup which is believed to bring good health. This simple yet meaningful tradition emphasizes the importance of well-being on your special day.

7. Scotland: First-Footing

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After the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, the Scots practice ‘first-footing,’ where the first person to enter a home is supposed to bring good luck for the year, especially if they carry symbolic gifts like coal, salt, shortbread, or whisky.

8. Germany: Schultüte for School Kids

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When children in Germany start their first day of school, they receive a ‘Schultüte’—a large cone filled with toys, chocolates, and school supplies. It’s a festive way to sweeten the educational journey.

9. Nigeria: Naming Ceremonies

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In Nigeria, new babies are celebrated with a big party and official naming ceremony about a week after birth, welcoming them into the community with joy and festivity.

10. Spain: La Tomatina

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While not a family tradition in the traditional sense, this famous tomato-throwing festival in Buñol is a fun, albeit messy, way families can engage in playful combat and revelry together.

11. The Netherlands: Sinterklaas Avond

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On December 5th, Dutch families celebrate Sinterklaas Avond, where children receive gifts from Sinterklaas. It’s a magical evening filled with excitement and family joy.

12. Ethiopia: Coffee Ceremony

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Coffee, or ‘buna’, is an integral part of Ethiopian culture. Families often gather for the traditional coffee ceremony, which involves roasting beans, brewing in a pot called a ‘jebena’, and sharing cups of coffee, promoting a sense of community and togetherness.

13. Iceland: Book Flood Christmas

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Like the Norwegians, Icelanders have a strong bookish tradition where they gift books on Christmas Eve and then spend the evening reading. It’s known as ‘Jolabokaflod’, or the Christmas Book Flood.

14. Guatemala: Devil Burning Day

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On December 7th, Guatemalan families gather to burn effigies of the devil, a tradition known as ‘La Quema del Diablo’, symbolizing the removal of evil spirits and negativity from their homes.

15. Russia: Maslenitsa Week

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Maslenitsa is a Russian folk holiday celebrated during the last week before Lent. Families make pancakes and blini to symbolize the sun and the coming of spring, engaging in games and singing.

16. France: Galette des Rois

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Celebrated in January, this tradition involves baking a cake with a small charm hidden inside. Whoever finds the charm in their slice is named king or queen for the day.

17. Mongolia: Naadam Festival

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During this festival, Mongolian families watch or participate in traditional games like wrestling, horse racing, and archery. It’s a celebration of strength, skill, and national pride.

18. New Zealand: Hangi Feast

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A traditional Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. It’s a communal activity that brings families together to enjoy a meal prepared with love and labor.

19. Finland: Saturday Sauna

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In Finland, taking a sauna is a weekly family ritual, usually on Saturdays. It’s a time for relaxation, rejuvenation, and heartfelt conversations, stripped of all distractions.

20. Brazil: June Festivals (Festa Junina)

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In June, Brazilian families celebrate rural life with traditional clothing, food, and dance. It’s a festive, community-oriented event that honors saints and the spirit of togetherness.

Take It from Around the Globe

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Who says your family traditions can’t have a global twist? Integrating some of these unique customs could not only spice up your family life but also foster appreciation for world cultures. Ready to pick a new tradition for your next family gathering?

The post Weird and Wonderful Family Practices from Around the World That Are Worth Adopting first appeared on Mama Say What?!

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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