Customs is an important part of the culture. Customs gives us an identity to make us people with defined common ways of doing things. Each time you mention a tribe, nation, and even continent, you shall define it by associating it by its inhabitants collectively accepted a standard way of life.
Customs are the vessel that ferries a people’s material and non-material culture from one generation to another. When you talk about Mombasa, I have a picture of a group of people who have a custom of wearing “Kanzu” like I see Russia when you mention Father Frost. Without customs, we got no identity and are therefore not any better than animals!
So, today, we shall explore some of the famous customs around the world, find what they mean to their people and people of the world in general.
What are customs?
Customs are described as the collectively accepted norms of people. This is the standard set of ways of conduct in all parts of a society’s life. Customs defines the way people dress, eat, construct, dance, sing and generally how they do everything.
What are some of the world’s famous customs?
1. Ever thought of Christmas celebrations lasting for months? Well, Philipino it is the norm!
The Filipinos are very religious and go to church every Sunday or maybe more than two times a week. For this reason, Christmas is very important for them. They shall start early to prepare for Christmas, as early as August, you see what I mean?
2. Look, now you got to take off your shoe!
Respect for religion defines India. It is, therefore, a requirement that, as a sign of respect, you have to get off your shoes when getting into a place of worship. Other than this, you are expected to keep your legs and the shoulder parts of your body closed.
3. The forehead touch & spitting among the Maasai
In the Maasai, a plain Nilotic community in Africa, people greet each other through letting the elder touch the junior’s forehead! This is regarded as respect for the elderly and a blessing to the junior.
When a Maasai elder wants to bless you, they spit on the junior’s forehead as a sign of blessing.
4. What happens when you catch the firebird in Russia
One of Russia’s customs is the tales. This is where we got the Fire Bird tale. This is a tale of a creature with a fiery plumage that pauses a great challenge to catch. If you catch this creature or its feathers then you are the day’s official hero!
5. Got late to the subway? Look out for “pushers” (Oshiya)
In Japan, there is a precaution to ensure you do not get caught up between the doors of a subway car. Some uninformed people with white gloves are employed to push people into the subway cars during rush hours to avoid them being caught up is the car doors.
6. For the Chinese, just spit right there and then.
The Chinese have a strong belief that whatever the body needs to do away with should not be barred. Therefore, it’s part of their custom to spit publicly whenever one feels the urge to do so. However, this custom is slowly diminishing in recent years.
After the celebrations are started, they last till early January!
7. Hey, Drink down the Juice!
If you visit an Egyptian family with daughters, then drink down all the juice you are offered. Why? Because the Egyptians believe that a visiting guest who does not drink all the juice makes the girls not to get married!
8. Americans value social space
For Americans, social space matters a lot. So, when speaking to someone, you have to give a little gap between the two of you. Extending your hand to suddenly touch someone is considered a bridge of that person’s personal space!
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REASONS BEHIND CUSTOMS
1. Customs are meant to control social behavior
Customs is the collectively accepted right ways of living, all the people in a community that shares the same culture shall observe their customs which dictate their behavior. It is the customs that rule out that respect should be shown to the elders among the Filipinos.
Some customs are intentionally in place to avoid weird situations. When you go to some African societies, there are strictly observed customs that create a line between the parents and their children in terms of relation. Some draw lines between blood-related people to avoid marriage among these individuals.
2. Customs is what keeps the culture alive forever
We are talking about the above customs because, they have, are and shall be practiced into the infinite future. The customs are what dictates the cultural ways of a people, they are maintained by a generation and taught to new generations and the cycle goes on and on.
3. Customs are the root of harmony and unity among communities
Customs define people. It is what makes them identify as one since they got common ways of life. Unity crops up due to shared customs among a community that is what makes one reference to “us” rather than “me”
Customs are the vessels that hold culture. People identify themselves through their customs. Each community takes pride in its customs which are a heritage meant to be transmitted and keep the society alive forever. Documented laws of a state may fail to work, however, fancy they might be if their provisions go against the customs of a people.
We need to understand and respect other people’s customs since they mean their life to them. It might look meaningless to drink down a glass of juice when visiting an Egyptian family that has daughters, but for them, your visit shall have been more of a curse than a blessing!
It’s just simple, the way I do stuff in line with customs shall proudly tell you who where I belong.