There are tons of things that unite us no matter what corner of the globe we might live in—like forgetting if you locked the door immediately after doing so. At the same time, the closer you look, the more you realize that everyone has their own quirks. All of that individual uniqueness and weirdness adds up with everyone else’s, until you zoom out and you realize that it becomes part of a country’s culture, heritage, and traditions.

This post is all about the small differences that make people’s countries unique, like rolling cheeses down hills for the heck of it, having saunas literally everywhere, and serving hot chocolate with slices of salted cheese, as shared by folks on r/AskReddit in these two delightfully informative threads.

Remember to upvote the posts that you found insightful or that made you laugh as you scroll down, Pandas. And when you’re all done enjoying this list, we’d love to hear about the things that happen only in your country.

Oh, and in case you need something great to read during your next coffee break, check out Bored Panda’s previous post about the peculiar things that seem normal in some countries but not in the rest of the world.

Bored Panda got in touch with author, investor, and mentor Rick Orford, who has traveled extensively around Europe. He told us about what Covid-related regulations look like right now in Italy and how certain inconsistencies have been causing him a lot of stress. After all, it's far harder to enjoy all the unique culture abroad when your travel opportunities are limited and there's a lot of anxiety in the air.

#1

It's 3:38 AM in the middle of the night.

You're driving your car through the middle of nowhere.

The last person you saw passed by you 20 minutes ago.

You come to a crossroads with traffic lights.

No cars to the left and right for miles.

The traffic light is red.

You stop your car and wait for it to turn green.

You're standing there, contemplating the futility of existance in the middle of the night.

Nobody is there, nobody would care if you just drove on.

At some point during those moments you start to question your own sanity and ability for self-determination.

Still you wait for the green light, because this is Germany and in Germany you follow the rules.

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JJ
Community Member
3 days ago

Yep. Exactly. Because if you don't, then miraculously at that very moment the cops see it and fine you 😉

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While many people are celebrating the start of the 'post-pandemic' era, reality isn't as simple. Like Bored Panda mentioned recently, some experts believe that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over yet. And the fact is that Covid regulations seem to be all over the place, causing a lot of unnecessary stress for travelers and tourists.

Investment specialist Rick opened up to Bored Panda about his experience with Covid-19 regulations in Italy. "Over the past 12 months, we have stayed within Europe," he said that he and his partner have been enjoying the continent very much. However, "there's been some drama" with the travel arrangements: they had planned to sail to Greece on a cruise ship, but the inconsistent rules have caused them quite a headache.

#2

Belgium. We didn't have a government over a year, and it went suprisingly better than when we did.

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Mari
Community Member
3 days ago

Indeed!

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#3

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others United Kingdom. I don't believe any other countries have the annual 'chasing cheese down a hill' competitions.

lewisws , flickr Report

viv
Community Member
3 days ago

its called cheese rolling.

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Rick told us that he and his partner both tested positive for Covid last week. "We must have a negative covid test to get on a cruise ship. On a plane, at a hotel, restaurant—[it's] not needed. But on a cruise ship... it's mandatory," he pointed out that it doesn't make much sense that air travel doesn't require a negative test, but traveling by sea does.

He told us that, thankfully, he tested negative for Covid after 3 days. Meanwhile, his partner tested negative only yesterday (i.e. the day before the publication of this article). "So it's really stressful and close," Rick was honest with Bored Panda that the way the rules are structured has brought a lot of stress into their lives.

#4

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others In New Zealand it is normal to be barefoot in public. In the mall, the supermarket, fast food places etc. It's even normal for kids to go to primary school barefoot. It's recognised this is unusual and has become a point of national pride for some people.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like everyone is doing this, but it's a noticeable minority and would be seen on a daily basis, even in winter.

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ElenaK
Community Member
3 days ago (edited)

This is why Hobbits live in NZ!

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#5

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others A week-long nationwide water fight in Thailand.

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Nika De Beer
Community Member
3 days ago

I want this!

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#6

"Medical debt."

-Americans

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censorshipsucks
Community Member
3 days ago

we have this here as well in south africa. We do have state hospitals which are free BUT if you are wealthy-ish you won't go to them because they are rather 3rd-world looking.

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"What I find really fascinating is that one can visit a hotel, or a restaurant, or take a train or a plane here in Italy, and nothing is required. Yet, to get on a cruise ship, one needs to prove vaccination, and give a negative Covid test within 48 hours of sailing," he pointed out that it's very important to read up on Covid regulations before traveling anywhere. The rules don't always make sense and can change very quickly.

Rick suggested that if anyone's visiting Italy, Verona is definitely worth going to. The city is full of historical and architectural masterpieces, and even has an arena that is thousands of years old, and "you really get the feeling of being a Roman during the concerts!"

Traveling is one of the best things that you can do. It’s a real eye-opener! Not only do you get to expand your arsenal of awesome experiences, but you also get to see what makes other cultures and countries unique.

What’s more, when you go on a trip, even a small one, you start to become more and more aware of what makes you, well, you. You start picking up on your own cultural quirks. And the moment you get back home? Well, you’ve got a fresh set of eyes to see your home with. Traveling means having an adventure that’s educational through and through, even if you don’t feel that you’re actively learning something new.

#7

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Have farms larger than Connecticut (14,357km2)

Australia has 4 of them. The largest is larger than Israel, 44 of them are larger than Delaware, and this is still more than three times the size of the largest Ranch in the US, the Waggoner Ranch in Texas.

Forrestal , piqsels Report

Ariom Dahl
Community Member
3 days ago

Big 'farms' are usually called 'stations' in Australia. (And no, I don't know why!)

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#8

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others People count out loud the number of fouettés in the theater at the live performance of Swan Lake.

In Cuba, due to reasons too long to explain but definitely having to do with communism, classical ballet is a popular art form in the sense of "not bourgeois". So the social composition of the crowd that comes to the theater for the classical ballet is not what you would expect in any other country. Mix that with natural latin irreverence and what happens is that people have ended up cheering the ballet dancers as if it was a sport. In particular, in the classical choreography of Swan Lake, there is a point where the black swan does about 30 fouettés or so and the crowd (that has seen the choreography before) goes like "ONE! TWO! .... SIXTEEN! SEVENTEEN! ... THIRTY!!"

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Andy Acceber
Community Member
3 days ago

I kinda love that. A lot of fine arts, like ballet, get incredibly pretentious. I say this as a person who works in a theatre and has worked many ballet shows. There's something incredibly humanizing about audiences cheering on the performers as they do difficult moves.

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#9

Canada. When our national hockey team makes the Olympic finals, the government changes liquor laws THE SAME DAY to allow bars to open at 6am.

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LagoonaBlueColleen
Community Member
3 days ago

Now this I didn't even know about. Is this a regional thing? Do some provinces not participate?

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As you travel abroad, you realize that there are so many things that everyone on Planet Earth has in common. Like how nearly everyone around the globe enjoys eating fried dough in some shape or form.

At the same time, you also come to the inescapable conclusion that some of the behaviors and perspectives that you might have taken for granted are far from common. In fact, they might just be limited to your home country, county, or even town. Unique? Absolutely!

Professor Christine Vogt, the Director of the Center for Sustainable Tourism at Arizona State University, explained to Bored Panda during an earlier interview that anyone planning on going abroad should take the time to do some research about the country and culture of their destination.

“More than likely that is what draws a person to visit a certain place. The more local knowledge a traveler has, the more a traveler can feel like a local and fit in," she told Bored Panda that the more you embrace other cultures on your trip, the more enjoyable the entire experience tends to be. And locals really do appreciate foreigners putting in the effort to respect their traditions and beliefs. Knowing the local customs can also protect you from a serious headache further down the line.

#10

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Faroe Islands. More sheep than people in my country.

mylbp2ps3 , wikimedia Report

KitFrey
Community Member
3 days ago

Alright whose coming with me?

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#11

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Wales. Place names like this llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

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NsG
Community Member
3 days ago (edited)

Wales is beautiful - it was just hiding behind the door when the vowels were handed out and Ireland ended up with their share.

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#12

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others I live in Belgium and I doubt there are many other countries where two people who are both lifelong citizens of the same country cannot speak to each other.

This happened to my friend, a Walloon, who met an old Flemish lady. She didn't speak English or French, he didn't speak Dutch. They legit could not speak to each other, but they were both Belgians through and through.

viktor72 , pexels Report

Mari
Community Member
3 days ago

Belgium has 3 official languages; French, Dutch and German, most people speak also English.

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"Local customs can include how a traveler dresses, eats, uses a cell phone, etc. When a traveler is out in a community such as walking in a downtown area or eating in a restaurant, these local customs can come into play,” Professor Vogt said.

“For example, in Buddhist countries, a woman who has not covered her shoulders or legs may not be allowed into temples or even a restaurant. Learn as many local customs as you can and a few key words to enhance your experience," she said that it’s important to be aware of local customs and to try and get along with the locals.

#13

Italy here.

Road rage is as present here as everywhere else, but all drivers magically get together when a cop is nearby. Seriously, there are so many ways fellow drivers will alert you so you won't get a ticket. Panic headlight flashing, lowkey honks and nudges from bystanders when you park in a risky spot. It's actually pretty dope.

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Dilly Millandry
Community Member
3 days ago

Found the driving in Rome to be fairly terrifying!!

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#14

Its rush hour. I tap someone's bumper while coming to a stop when my shoe gets stuck under the brake for a second too long. He apologizes for 'stopping so abruptly' at the red. I offer to exchange info, he says 'don't worry about it, I think I need a new bumper anyways, this one's wonky'. Then he tells me to have a nice day eh?

Canada is a place where everyone is sorry for everything, their fault or not.

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Melanie Munroe
Community Member
3 days ago

This is DEFINITELY not true, everyone in Canada isn't sorry for everything, this person was just super lucky.

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#15

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Such cheap olive oil. And eating incredibly late. Lunch is more or less at 1-3 pm, and dinner at 9-10 pm. That is why in Spain we have snacks between foods.

prepelde , pexels Report

ElenaK
Community Member
3 days ago

Same in Greece.

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#16

Australia. Entering Eurovision as a country from Oceania.

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
3 days ago

they got the spirit, that's enough :-)

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#17

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Luxembourg. People who speak 4-5 languages fluently.

MrLuxarina , pexels Report

Sigrid Johanesdóttir
Community Member
3 days ago

Welcome to Europe, where we are so close to everyone we speak 3 languages before highschool

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#18

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Finland. Saunas in most apartments or at least apartment buildings, haven’t lived in a building that doesn’t have one.

A lot of great well known (and underground) metal bands.

And a nuclear power plant that is at this point 11 years behind schedule and according to Wikipedia the 3rd most expensive building in the world.

Under_the_Red_Cloud , pexels Report

Firstname Lastname
Community Member
3 days ago

As much as I would love to have a sauna, there are certain parts of my neighbors I'd rather keep buried under layers of clothes...

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#19

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others USA. The imperial measurement system.

Mitoria , pexels Report

Kira Okah
Community Member
3 days ago

Britain has it too, we also invented it. Sorry, it was an attempt at standardising weights and measures.

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#20

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Milk dispensers at school cafeterias (or restaurants but it's not as common). I live in Sweden where food and drinks such as water and milk is provided free for students. Whenever i tell someone outside of Scandinavia that we have milk dispensers they're always very surprised.

LUN4RECLIPSE , wikimedia Report

NsG
Community Member
3 days ago

We have milk dispensers - they're called cows (/joke)

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#21

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others South Africa. Scheduled blackouts to reduce pressure on the electrical grid.

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Vivek Mhatre
Community Member
3 days ago

India. Unscheduled blackouts to reduce pressure on the electrical grid.

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#22

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others United Kingdom.

Pantomimes at Christmas.

Real ale.

Separate hot and cold taps.

Mint sauce.

Brown sauce.

Thanking the bus driver (with a 'Cheers, drive' in my neck of the woods).

Apologising when someone else steps on your foot.

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Dilly Millandry
Community Member
3 days ago

The tap thing is old though and getting less and less common. New houses aren't built with them and most people replace them when they renovate nowadays. Get quite a few of those instant boiling water taps being installed... eg Quooker Taps. Come with boiling, chilled and sparkling from one tap. So we have come quite a way from separate taps. I work in the building industry and see what gets chosen.

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#23

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others National Crate day! In NZ we have Crate day to celebrate the first day summer which is basically celebrated with a crate of local beer, a bbq and sports, usually at a mates flat or the beach.

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censorshipsucks
Community Member
3 days ago

Now this is a cultural practice that I can get behind.

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#24

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others In Colombia, hot chocolate is served with slices of salted cheese in it.

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Anjelika
Community Member
3 days ago

I'd try it, I sometimes put a little salt in my hot chocolate, cheese won't be bad

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#25

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others South Africa. Calling traffic lights 'robots'. Caught myself doing this with foreign friends and being treated like an idiot.

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Mari
Community Member
3 days ago

In Morocco we use brand names instead of the product: Kelloggs instead of cornflakes, Danone for yoghurt, Pampers for diapers, Lipton for teabags, Iphone for smartphones... It's also weird.

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#26

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others In Mexico we experience paranormal stuff very close. Even people like me, who doesn't believe in it, have parents, siblings, children or grandparents who have experienced ghosts or other entities very close.

Not in the "friend of my friend" kind of way. It is really really common to be in the same room, and someone just says: "I saw my great-grandfather coming out from the well" or stuff like that. And nobody makes a fuss about it. We just process it and move on. But really, I don't know anybody who hasn't experienced a close encounter with something paranormal in one way or another.

And again, I'm an atheist and a skeptic. I haven't experienced something at first hand. And that makes me an exception. Not the average.

CharlyVazquez , pexels Report

Amy Pattie
Community Member
3 days ago

See, in places like Australia we don’t need ghosts, we just have snakes and spiders instead.

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#27

South Africa. Our constitutional court can rule that our president has broken the highest law of the land and stole tax payer money to make upgrades to his private home, and our parliament will still vote not to impeach him.

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 days ago

Depressingly like the US, where an obvious con artist might be impeached, but keeps his job b/c the US Senate won't convict...

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#28

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others Iceland here. We have a music festival held inside a glacier and deep inside a volcano. We also charge $1,000,000 for a ticket too

Bonus fact: This was the same festival where last year Bam Margera was knocked out.

KVXV , flickr Report

Sigrid Johanesdóttir
Community Member
3 days ago

I'm Icelandic and I never heard about this, what is the name please? I can also say that we don't pay for water or light as it comes from natural resources, only through taxes and below 1 dollar a year

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#29

As far as I know, this only happens in the Philippines. Correct me if I'm wrong.

We have a law here called number coding, known casually as color coding, for some reason, which makes vehicles with certain license plates unable to be run on certain hours of certain days.

If your plate number ends in a certain number, let's say 1, you can't drive your car (without a fine) on Mondays. 0 and 1 are Monday, 2 and 3 are tuesday, etc. You can only drive it on that day from 10am to 3pm. So, if your license number is ABC 123, then you can't drive on tuesdays from midnight to 9:59am, and 3pm to midnight the next day. If you're caught by the traffic cops, you need to pay a fine. (or bribe the dude, that's fine too, I guess)

It was the government's attempted solution to lessen traffic on roads, but what many people ended up doing was buying another car for the off day. So here, if you aren't commuting or carpooling, which you might not want to do, since many areas here are polluted and have some thieves running about, you're going to need to own two vehicles.

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Robert T
Community Member
3 days ago

Various countries have tried this, more commonly with odd and even numbers on different days. People went out and bought a second car to use on the alternate days!

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#30

30 Common Things In These People’s Countries That Are Very Rare In Others In India, it's normal for your parents to find your life partner and there's a chance you could get killed if you love someone.

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censorshipsucks
Community Member
3 days ago (edited)

That sucks. Stop voting for Modi because he's taking you even further down the road of theocracy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YkMUOJx_B4

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