What is normal, anyway? Just think about it: in some countries, women are supposed to cover themselves from head to toe. In others, bikinis are pretty sufficient. And baskets? People carry them in their arms or on the head. Very rarely is there one right way to do anything. It’s all relative.
Recently, we at Bored Panda stumbled upon two posts on Reddit by u/ojlol2 and u/monitonik that essentially ask the same thing: what’s typical and common in your country but is considered weird in others?
To say they went viral would be an understatement. As of this article, the two questions have received a combined total of 53,000 comments, including plenty of eye-opening answers that are bound to expand your understanding of the world. Here are the ones that interested us the most.
Everyone rags on the US for using imperial, but can we talk for a second about how weird we are here in the UK for using both inconsistently?
You buy a pint of milk or beer, but a litre of coke and 25ml of whiskey
People know how many miles to the gallon their cars get, but you buy fuel at pence per litre.
You watch the weather forecast and the temperature is in Celsius but the wind speed is in miles per hour
Most people can tell you their weight in kilograms, and their height in feet, and if they can’t give you kilograms they can probably give you stone instead, which is even older than pounds, which nobody uses as a unit of measurement, probably because of the confusion between lbs and £…
It’s a glorious mess.
One of the people who kick-started this discussion, u/monitonik, got interested in the topic when they were simply sitting in their room, browsing YouTube. “I was looking for something to watch and ended up scrolling through YouTube shorts, finding myself in a r/AskReddit wormhole, listening to different questions and answers,” they told Bored Panda.
“Eventually, I got inspiration from other Redditors’ questions and the question I posted popped into my head randomly. My brain generated it in an instant and I didn’t think it would get as much attention as it did. So I’m very happy with everyone’s input!”
After going through the answers, u/monitonik learned that people from all over the world people have so many different traditions, they often don’t even realize how unique their cultures are. “It was all really interesting. I think that countries in Asia and in Oceania have the most unique customs, such as going to the shops barefoot!”
Eating with our hands.
In 1969 (the same year the man landed on the moon), Miss Gloria Diaz coveted the Philippines’ first Miss Universe Crown. During the preliminary Q&A, she was asked “Is it true that you Filipinos use your hand when you eat?” To which she replied “Why? Do you use your feet?” and went her way to winning the crown.
We have matrimonial ads in newspapers and sites to find grooms and brides which I think don’t happen in western countries and they find it strange. The ads are mostly published by parents. It’s like tinder supervised by parents.
However, there are concerns that the efficiency and appeal of wireless communications, electronic commerce, popular culture, and international travel — globalization — have been making the human experience essentially the same wherever you look at it. But although homogenizing influences do exist, this is probably an overstatement and we’re far, far away from creating anything akin to a single world culture.
What we do see is the emergence of global subcultures. Arguments have been put forth that a rudimentary version of world culture is taking shape among certain individuals who share similar values, aspirations, or lifestyles. The result, according to these comments, is a collection of elite groups whose unifying ideals transcend geographical limitations.
According to The Clash of Civilizations (1998) by political scientist Samuel Huntington, the “Davos” culture is a perfect example of this phenomenon. It comprises an elite group of highly educated people who operate in the rarefied domains of international finance, media, and diplomacy, and these insiders share common beliefs about individualism, democracy, and market economics. They are said to follow a recognizable lifestyle, are instantly identifiable anywhere in the world, and feel more comfortable in each other’s presence than they do among their less sophisticated compatriots.
A short while ago they stopped selling alcohol after 10pm. At some stores you couldn’t even get non-alcoholic beer. What’s weird tho is that wine is not considered alcoholic drink so you can buy it anytime. Welcome to Moldova
The cracks that are just wide enough to be able to see in and out of public restroom stalls. I’ve heard it’s thought of as weird since many other countries enjoy the luxury of privacy.
In my friend’s country, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it.
I thought that was pretty weird.
Taxes. We have this weird system where the government really kind of knows what we should pay, but they offer us an opportunity to guess and maybe pay the right thing, but if we don’t pay the right thing, we get penalized. I remember listening to a podcast where people all over the world were super confused about how the US does taxes. Most other places the government sends you a bill, and you pay it, and you’re done.
Direct democracy in Switzerland. It often baffles me when I read what the government can pull off in other countries without ever involving the population. Like…yea, you get to elect representatives but it often seems to me that those people then elect someone who elects someone who elects someone…is it really still democracy if you’re about five steps removed from the actual decisions?
In Japan, there are public toilets in a few places where after urinating, you can opt to view a general health assessment report.
There’s this sport in Finland called eukonkanto, where men participate in running a specific distance, all while carrying their wife or girlfriend. Winner gets their woman’s weight in beer.
Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed. Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the local looked horrified when i was out of my seat screaming “wheyyyyyy”
Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don’t even have walls around the houses!
I teach in Japan, but grew up in America. The other day my students asked me wide-eyed if Americans really wear their shoes inside. I told them yes and that sometimes my dad would cross his legs like this while we sat on the sofa and I could touch the bottom of his shoes. They were super grossed out. “Eew, why would you wear shoes inside! That’s so dirty!” These kids are 2nd graders so it starts pretty young.
Being middle-class with a property having a 6′ wall, electric fencing linked to an alarm, automated gate and garage doors (with security clamps over the gate motor to prevent theft of the motor), security gates over every door, burglar bars, and a house alarm system with infra-red sensors linked to armed response with a reaction time of under 3-4 minutes.
Strangers sitting totally naked skin to skin in a steamy room heated to +80 to +100C… and us having competitions on who can last the longest in there.
In university we thump the tables to “applaud” our professors. Instead of actually applauding. Or doing nothing.
During my exchange semester everyone not from Germany was looking at me confused why I did this.
Marrying someone without knowing them and only seeing their face once the marriage is agreed on.
In the Philippines, it would be people living with their parents. Everybody I know whose parents’ homes are in the city choose to live there. With the relatively low wage to cost-of-living ratio, it is not unusual for married couples to share houses with their in-laws.
I work remote and I still live with my parents and pay zero rent. Of course, I pay all the bills, feed them and do all the home repairs and chores.
Calling mixed race people coloureds. Im from south africa and im coloured but when i went on holiday in Spain, coloured is a derogatory term but in south africa its completely normal.
Walking all over the countryside along ancient footpaths (as well as bridleways and byways, and a lot of disused railway tracks that have been designated as footpaths). These paths often go across privately owned land; the landowners are required by law to keep the paths clear, and if they put up a fence to provide a gate.
If you’re walking with a dog, you’re expected to keep it under control around livestock and when the path crosses a road, but otherwise it’s just accepted that dogs are going to run around sniffing everything.
Probably talking to people so that no one else can hear you except the person you are directly talking to.
It’s a skill almost all Dutch people have, I have found, but it can be very unnerving for other people because you can be sitting pretty close to two people having a conversation and have no idea what they are saying.
It’s a small country and very densely populated with people who value their privacy. It’s a survival skill, really.
Saying “hi” or waving to strangers. Some areas in the country take it even further and you’re considered rude if you drive through a residential street and don’t wave to anyone walking as you pass them.
In my country you bike everywhere. Cars aren’t used much. For longer distances you mostly use train and public transport. Also being 6 foot is normal
Instead of toilet paper, we use a handheld jet spray type thing to clean after [pooping].
Also our milk comes in bags.
Eating biscuits and gravy. I traveled to the UK and told them that biscuits and gravy is a very common breakfast food and as you would expect they were highly confused (biscuit=cookie across the pond) why we would take something sweet and cover it in gravy. And also was confused that the gravy we use has sausage in it and is white.
Having a garbage can in the bathroom for used toilet paper.
Having a kettle apparently it’s weird to have a kettle in America
I don’t know why but teenagers from my place ( Vietnam ) like to put hot sauce on everything, like pizzas, chips ( French Fries ), spaghetti, rice, cakes, hamburgers, anything you can think of…
Men wear skirts even when it’s poring outside, which is all the time.
Where I’m from the answer is guns. Lots of guns. You shoot guns at 9 years old with your buddy at an old washing machine. They are a way of life, and I suppose death for a lot of people. I understand why people support owning guns, they grew up with them and see them as normal. You tell people from other countries about shooting guns at 9 and they look at you funny.