Weird Celebrations of Love Around the Globe
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, an article about how love is celebrated around the world seems fitting. While most westerners buy flowers, chocolates and bring their dates to dinner, there are some cultures that express their love in different ways. Here’s a list of some of the strangest celebrations on planet Earth.
1. Ghost Weddings
China is one of few countries that has a variety of odd wedding customs, one of which has been practiced for thousands of years. Ghost wedding is a marriage ceremony between two recently deceased people who were both single at the time of their departure. Typically, the bride’s family requests a price and dowry which sometimes includes jewels, houses, and the likes. Once accepted, the ceremony takes place at the cemetery and concludes with the bride being moved to her new husband’s tomb. Although still practiced today, living people are now allowed to be betrothed to departed singles.
2. No-Valentine for You
Valentine’s Day has become one of the most celebrated observances in the world, but you should be careful where you celebrate it. In countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Valentine’s Day was banned because leaders feared that citizens, influenced by the Western celebration, would be led astray. In 2012, 5 men who decided to break that law, each received a 39-year prison sentence and 4,500 lashes for publicly drinking and dancing with women. Belgorod, a city in Russia also put rules in place for such celebrations as they believed that the holiday promoted an ungodly atmosphere.
3. Marry the Tree, then Cut it Down
Marriage is a serious commitment, and some cultures take it very seriously. So seriously that if a woman is born under the wrong star, it is believed that they are cursed and will be the end of their husbands. In India, Manglik women born under the wrong astrological stars are required to marry a peepal or banana tree in a ceremony called Kumbh Vivah or Tree Vivah. After the ceremony, the woman must chop down the tree before marrying her human fiancé in order to break her curse.
4. Shoot Your Bride
Most grooms tend to want to keep their brides safe, but the Yugur tribe in western China has a different idea. The grooms are encouraged to shoot their fiancés with a bow and arrows, but the arrowheads must be cut off, of course. Once that has been done, the grooms shoot their brides with the blunt arrows then break it in order to certify that their love will last a lifetime. The following ceremony lasts two days, one at the bride’s home and the other at the groom’s.
5. Burn It
Many believe that there is a random element to love but the French took the belief a little further when trying to match people up on Valentine’s Day. The custom called “La loterie d’amour” or “Lotter of love” required singles to go to their houses (which all faced each other during that time) and call out until they were paired. If a man was not pleased, he was allowed to abandon her and hope for better luck in the next lottery. The women who were abandoned would build a bonfire and burn the images of their men, all the while saying nasty things to them. The practice was later banned as many feared that it would result in disorder.
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