Have you ever heard about the largest tomato fight in the world? How about the blackening of the bride? Europe is filled with countries with rich cultures and weird customs. Some of them might seem fun and others completely bizarre, but that is the beauty of different cultures. If you are interested to know more about different traditions, take a look at these 7 unbelievable European customs.
1. Spain – The Tomatina Festival
Food fights always look so fun in movies but nobody wants to make a huge mess in real life, right? Well, if you always wanted to participate in a food fight, Buñol, Spain is the place for you. There is an annual Tomatina Festival where you can join in the biggest food fight in the world. The weapons of choice are tomatoes and make sure you come prepared to be covered in it from head to toe.
2. The Danube Cross Swimming
There are several countries where you can experience the Danube cross swimming, such as Romania, Serbia, or Bulgaria. It is an Orthodox custom of searching for the cross in freezing water in the middle of winter. Of course, it is also a huge party and drinking is a big part of the event. Whoever finds the cross will be extremely lucky and prosperous throughout all their life.
3. Finland – Wife-carrying Championship
The name of this event is pretty straightforward, but still very unusual – men race while carrying their wives. There are rules on how exactly you are allowed to carry your wife and there are even different tactics on which way is the best if you want to win. And if you thought that this wasn’t a serious race, there is even an annual World Championship in wife-carrying which takes place in Finland.
4. Scotland – Blackening of the bride
If you have ever been present at a wedding, seen pictures from a wedding, or even seen it happen on television, you know that the bride usually wears a white dress, right? She puts all this time and energy into the preparation and into finding the perfect hairstyle, makeup, and dress for her special day. However, in Scotland, the bride is covered in different dreadful things such as sauces, mud, or milk. Even though this is completely unbelievable for most of us, it has a beautiful message behind it – it is believed that the married couple will be able to get past any issue in life if they can stand this humiliation.
5. Catalonia – Caga Tió
Christmas time is a whole new world of different customs around Europe and you’d be surprised how many of them you have never even heard of. Catalonia has one of the most unusual ones, although we won’t complain if we try it out someday. At the beginning of December, wooden logs called Caga Tió are decorated with faces and hats and then cared for until Christmas. Children bring food and drink to the logs in the hope of getting good gifts in return. At the end of this period, children bet the logs and candy falls out of them.