Extinct Cultural Traditions (not as boring as it sounds, honestly)

This article was orginally written for an audition-type-thing, meaning it was never published so thought I would post it up on my blog to save the desktop space. Plus, it was an interesting 24 hours trawling the internet and reading about the wierd and wonderful traditions, dead or alive, from all over this (very odd) globe. So, here goes… 

It’s true, Valencia does still hold an annual ‘Tomatina’, with inhabitants partaking in a tomato fight of epic proportions. Thailand does indeed still host a Monkey Buffet (as in a buffet for monkeys, not a buffet of monkeys…) to pay tribute to their primate population every year and strippers do still dance at Taiwanese funeral possessions. However, many of the world’s weird and wonderful customs have become dead and buried.

5. The Just Plain Weird

 Admit it, we all enjoy a pampering session every now and then, men and woman alike but this ancient pedicure is one step too far. The feet of woman were mercilessly bound with strips of material to stunt their growth and manipulate them into (apparently) more attractive physical attributes. Minute feet, in Chinese tradition, were inextricable from class and status with the most dainty being most prestigious.

This infamous, Chinese tradition only became extinct in the early 20th Century, so there are still women tottering around the world suffering the repercussions of this warped custom.  I have to say, I’m usually less than impressed with my size 4s but right now they’re feeling preety precious!

Doctor, I think I need something for my ingrown toenails…


4. The Nightmare Inducing

 Now, grieving can be a tremendously difficult process and one which we will all unfortunately endure in our short lifetimes. However the ancient ritual of Sati, practiced by a multitude of Indian communities, takes mourning to a whole new level. This harrowing tradition saw the newly widowed woman throw herself into the dancing flames, which enveloped the corpse of her deceased husband. Thankfully this custom was axed in the early 19th Century, which is of great relief to our mental wellbeing and the female population of India. Nowadays it tends to be left to Eastenders to dampen our souls with melodrama and hyper emotions…

Even on his death bed the wife was still giving him a roasting!

3. The Bad

Faced with the mindboggling choice presented to us by modern technology for sources of entertainment, I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves longing for a revival of Nutting Parties, whilst wistfully reminiscing the simple things in life… or maybe not.

A popular pastime in the late 1800s, Nutting required participants to venture to the nearest tree and shake the nuts from its fertile branches. If they were feeling rebellious they would gobble the fruits of their labour there and then or savour their findings like human-sized squirrels. Nutting parties were highly sociable occasions, which inspired conversation without need for a touchscreen or international keyboard. Maybe we should take a leaf (or a nut) out of their book. ..

Plain, salted or honey roasted?

2. The Ugly

Today we have the Hollywood hierarchy violating out retinas with their pearly whites and burning a whole in the ozone layer with their lasered gnashers. However their preceding ancestry were quite the binary opposite. A dentist’s nightmare and followers of ancient tradition were these Vietnamese women who blacked out their teeth until the French declared it unsightly, causing its extinction. The resin-like secretion of an aphid-like insect was smeared over the teeth, leaving the gums swollen and debilitated but the individuals status as a woman validated. We should probably stick to lipstick and expensive perfume to declare our womanhood, girls – much more attractive and vastly softer on our dental bills.

No, a beautifully crafted, hand-dyed headdress does not detract from those terrifying tombstones.
  1. 1.    The One-we shouldn’t-find-amusing-but-kind-of-do….

 We shouldn’t laugh but that unruly tickle in the bottom of our guts simply won’t allow for political correctness. ‘Dwarf Tossing’ or ‘Smeagle Throwing’ involves Velcro-clad dwarves being launched at Velcro walls or mattresses and whichever human frisbee travels furthest reigns triumphant. The innovative, sporting tradition has been banned and it’s with no surprise after the recent incident, involving Martin Henderson, which went viral after being mentioned at the Golden Globes. Henderson (pictured below) was picked up and thrown to the floor by an alcohol fuelled, pub-goer and consequently suffered serious arm, leg and back injuries.

Martin Henderson following a traumatic pub trip. He just couldn’t reach his pint off the bar.

So that’s a wrap. But having said all this, it’s out with one and in with another. Check out these guys’ ‘Passion Gaps’…

On set of ‘The Only Way Is Cape Town’.

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