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.

#1

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World 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.

Koras , Charlotte May Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

It is a glorious mess, and I love how well we do it. When I'm buying meat or fruit and veg by weight I ask for the amount that's less words to say. If I want a certain amount I'll ask for 'a pound' because it's less effort to say than 'five hundred grammes' but if I want twice as much I'll ask for 'a kilo' because it's less effort to think about than 'two pounds'.

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One of the people who kick-started this discussion, u/monitonik, is known in real life as Monika Mazunaite, and she got interested in the topic when she was simply sitting in her 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," Monika 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, she learned that people from all over the world 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!"

#2

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World 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.

NorqMarash , Tim Samuel Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

I used to lodge with a Bangladeshi family and the elegance with which they could all eat a curry and rice with their hands was inspiring. So neatly done. I make more mess using cutlery (as my jumpers will bear out).

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#3

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World 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.

coffeecatmint , cottonbro Report

Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

that IS gross indeed

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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 of 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 are among their less sophisticated compatriots.

But supporters of globalization argue that it has the potential to make this world a better place to live in and solve some of the deep-seated problems like unemployment and poverty. I wonder, can we have the best of both worlds?

#4

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Scottish here. We deep-fry our pizzas. No even sorry. Tasty wee bastards.

MustardTigerPOW , Wikimedia.Commons Report

Daria B
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

The Italian side of my ethnicity feels sorry for that poor tortured pizza. u.u (Jokes aside, it might even taste good, but I don't think my stomach would survive this)

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#5

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World United States.
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.

B1yPhon3 , 36021787982 Report

Vicious Insect
Community Member
1 month ago

Yikes

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#6

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Norway.
Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows.

e_ph , Marcin Jozwiak Report

btaglln
Community Member
1 month ago

That's how they grow cold-resistant ?

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#7

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World US.
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.

seanzorio , Karolina Grabowska Report

Q B F T
Community Member
1 month ago

I worked in the UK for a time. Tax was automatically taken from the monthly wage payment. Say what you want about that country, but that bit seemed pretty well put together.

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#8

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World India.
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.

boss_bj , Roman Kraft Report

Sapna Sarfare
Community Member
1 month ago

They are the best source for amusement. The demands are amazing and quite specific.

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#9

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World 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?

SyrusDrake , Edmond Dantès Report

Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

some countries can end up with the man who had less votes than his opponent as a president ... kinda weird indeed

ZAPanda
Community Member
1 month ago

we won't name those countries but we side-eye them.

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jk nbt
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

the people who came up with representative government say they don't want "mob rule" since open democratic town hall meetings where everyone has an equal vote tend to turn into a shouting match followed by mob violence and riots. What they are really afraid of is that they will lose control. It is much easier to control a small group of representatives than the people at large. It's a control thing, based on the "Golden Rule". The Golden Rule says he that has the gold makes the rules.

ZAPanda
Community Member
1 month ago

We do have direct democracy here but only in referenda, ie where the govt asks us to vote on a very specific proposition. Last one I recall in was 1992 on whether to dismantle apartheid. 68% (white population) voted yes. First actual democratic elections two years later.

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

The way that Switzerland is run is fascinating to me. I wish our media reported on decisions that are made so I could learn more about what happens.

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, but look at the size of those countries, as compared with the US. Direct democracy becomes unwieldy at a certain population size, and you have to modify and become a Democratic Republic, with elected officials representing us. Yes, it is true they often don’t, and some are only there for the prestige, the contacts and the seven figure consulting jobs after their term is up—-if they decide not to run again. But that the only way to keep it all organized. There are 332,844,058 citizens (https://www.census.gov/popclock/ ) in the US. If only half were registered voters, and only half of them got out and voted, that would be 82,211,014 people voting. That’s nearly 10 times the TOTAL population of Switzerland ( 8,733,898, according to: https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/switzerland-population ). See what I mean? An unwieldy nightmare for elections officials.

snipergun
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I'd like this to work in country with 5 mil people. No need for whole US. I mean US should first fix their health care system...

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Will Fenton
Community Member
1 month ago

The last time we tried direct democracy here we got Brexit. So thanks, but no thanks....

Jon S.
Community Member
1 month ago

I believe it wouldn't have passed Switzerland's constitutional checks. As I understand it, you need a super majority to makes big changes because a swing of less than 5% can happen from day to day.

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 month ago

Um, yes, and we see how well this works for Switzerland. They only just decided on some tiny little amount of parental leave for fathers a few months ago and we all know how long ot took for women to get the vote there...

Miss Frankfurter
Community Member
1 month ago

In Canada we do not directly elect the Prime Minister. It's Parliamentary. Each Party has some one representing your "area" & whoever wins your area in the election (person = Party ) will get a seat in the House of Commons. The Party who accumulates the most seats wins. But the person who gets to be Prime Minister does so only because they are Head of the Party that got the most seats. Not directly elected. But what I love is how we go about it. Once your on the role you're there for the rest of your life, no matter what. We bend over backwards so everyone can vote if they want to. No transportation? Call the Office of your representative. They will give you a ride there and back. Don't have ID? Bring someone who knows you to swear a legal affidavit who you are and where you live. In the hospital? They'll come there. Your bracelet is your ID. If your at work the times your poll is open, they MUST give you 4 hrs off to go vote. It's a law.

John L
Community Member
1 month ago

I don't know about other countries, but the United States is technically a Republic, which is representative democracy. Don't work worth a s**t, but that is how our govt, is structured.

Iggy
Community Member
1 month ago

Did Swiss women really only get the vote in 1973?

Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 month ago

Every canton could decide individually. The most conservative canton actually did only vote for it in 1973.

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Stimpy
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Yes it is. Representative democracy is meant to ensure that minorities are also represented and not helpless against the usual popular vote. I hate that people keep bringing a country up as "role model" that until relatively recently did not even have universal women's voting rights!

Monday
Community Member
1 month ago

and yet the exact opposite often happens with the minorities being even more screwed than they would have been.

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Testine Proefstra
Community Member
1 month ago

Please. I lived in Switzerland for 10 years. Didn’t get to vote. That was true for about 40 % of the population. Of those that could vote, only about 30% did. So effectively 18% of the population decides everything! Including which foreigner may become Swiss.

ADHD
Community Member
1 month ago

the Brits are certainly being corrupt as hell right now, so many belong in jail

Ray Heap
Community Member
1 month ago

Hier in Germany the polls were two weeks ago and we still don‘t know who will be Bundeskanzler.

Martha Meyer
Community Member
1 month ago

We actually do know and his name won't be Armin Laschet.

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Nooberton
Community Member
1 month ago

The reason many democracies don’t have direct democracy and instead do representative democracy is because they are to big and have very large populations and therefore this would work very poorly. But still, I see what your saying.

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
1 month ago

I dunno much about most countries electoral systems - I know New Zealand's and a bit about the US because it's so bizarre I read up on it. NZ is under MMP so the % that vote for a party get that % of seats in parliament, pretty much. If no party has more than 50% of the votes, they need to agree to team up and form a coalition with another party of parties until they do. So it's pretty directly representative of how the individual person votes. And the ruling party's leader is our PM. Having an actual vote for PM would just be a weird popularity contest.

snipergun
Community Member
1 month ago

I think you're right and I do hate the system you describe because it doesn't work and basically government can do anything with very little consequences 99% of time. If company changes complete decision making board every year, 2 or 4 it will go bankruptcy. But countries pretend work this way... And I'm guessing none of us have power to make it different.

Annabelle
Community Member
1 month ago

Hmmmm Brexit was a direct form of Democracy. I don’t agree with the outcome and people were bad informed, but still

Scarbez
Community Member
1 month ago

In most places you can only vote to choose the party that is going to screw you for the next four of five years X-D

survivalrhino
Community Member
1 month ago

Nope. But USA isn't wasn't nor meant to be a democracy-- we are a Republic, Under God

Joe Blow
Community Member
1 month ago

we're in a hurry.

Chris Longski
Community Member
1 month ago

And a certain political party here is trying to push direct involvement farther away from us and corrupt what involvement there is. No ID to vote ?

Kambia
Community Member
1 month ago

This! I have always mentioned this at elections and people think I'm bonkers. It is true though, you get a choice of a pre-selected bunch, who will then select others to select others to potentially do what you roughly voted for given what was said in the mandate that you agreed with. I'm grateful we can vote but it does kind of seem a little like a lie they tell us to make us feel like we're contributing.

Christopher Creighton
Community Member
1 month ago

Do please notice when women finally got to vote in seitzerland

Thomas Martin
Community Member
1 month ago

In North America It's called a conservatorship, not a democracy.

F. H.
Community Member
1 month ago

Seeing the baffling laws that have been passed like this in Switzerland, I think the systems are about the same.

C OnlyC
Community Member
1 month ago

That's not Democracy. It's Republicanism. Which can lead to Oligarchy or other less accessible governance.

Tim R
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Yeah, we have Dementia Joe in the White House even though he received more votes than there were registered voters in some counties....I see the down votes from the Socialists and Communists here. Yup, keep supporting the criminals, eventually we will live in anarchy.

Eric Mac Fadden
Community Member
1 month ago

Be happy, after 12 years of corrupt leftism we have a corrupt mental impaired toddler in Brazil

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#10

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World UK.
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”

owen-sksk , cottonbro Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

We yell "Taxi" when that happens. It's a joke insinuating that someone has knocked a glass over coz they have drank too much so they need a taxi to get home.

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#11

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Poland.
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.

himit , Wikimedia.Commons Report

Paweł Wojtaszko
Community Member
1 month ago

Pole here. It's a tradition that symbolises washing off dirt, diseases and sins at the end of winter time, when spring comes around. Nowadays, the tradition is mostly gone, and instead pouring water on girls, they are sprinkled with perfume.

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#12

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Moldova.
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

SergiuNegara , Breakingpic Report

Scagsy
Community Member
1 month ago

And in Iceland alcohol was banned between 1915 and 1989. Apparently all the elves were getting rowdy and boisterous when they'd had a drink. And that just had to stop.

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#13

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World 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.

VenenoG , Steve Jurvetson Report

Vicious Insect
Community Member
1 month ago

Don't forget nokia phone throwing and swamp football (or soccer)

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#14

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World South Africa.
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.

Claidheamhmor , https://www.pexels.com/photo/silver-security-camera-207574/ Report

Attila Ángyán
Community Member
1 month ago

Thats just sad

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#15

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Germany.
Legal drinking age of beer and wine is 16

Pablomablo1 , BENCE BOROS Report

btaglln
Community Member
1 month ago

Same in Belgium

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#16

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World In Japan, there are public toilets in a few places where after urinating, you can opt to view a general health assessment report.

Family-456 , Buchen WANG Report

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
1 month ago

now i kinda wanna try that..

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#17

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Latin America.
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!

jvcscasio , shep45612 Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

This isn't allowed in the UK anymore. While the right wing press like to whinge about burglars having too many human rights, it's basically because anyone might need to, or actually, vault that wall, such as the emergency services or a passerby being a good Samaritan, and it isn't the luxury of anyone to cause that level of injury.

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#18

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World UK.
A teeny tiny nation with atleast 50 different accents.

sereneskys , mentatdgt Report

Kira Okah
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Um, England alone has over 100 English dialects and several languages that each have their own way of speaking. 50 accents doesn't even cover half of England let alone Scotland, Wales, and NI (who also have multiple dialects and accents themselves).

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#19

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World NZ, going to the shops without shoes

Taneatua , mhrezaa Report

RCK
Community Member
1 month ago

Tricksy shoeless hobbitses.

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#20

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World US.
Cheese in a spray can

lukeyellow , Wikimedia Commons Report

Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

as a French man i feel personally offended. you CAN'T call that thing cheese

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#21

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Canada.
No fences between houses. It's almost considered rude to put up a fence.

tandoori_taco_cat , Snapwire Report

Klara Vodnanska
Community Member
1 month ago

what if you have a dog?

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#22

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Finland.
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.

SinisterCheese , HUUM Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

I found the sauna culture really healthy for society when I was in Finland. It is very normal for young children to go into the sauna, for example at the swimming pool, and see naked adults of their sex of all ages, shapes and sizes. Amongst family and friends they are going to be comfortable around naked bodies of all sexes and experience everyone treated all shapes and sizes as perfectly normal and not worthy of comment. People don't care that their significant other was naked in a sauna with other people, and so on. Not saying Finland is perfect or there's no problems, but I found that part of the culture admirable.

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#23

US.
Pharmaceutical commercials

Pharmaceutical commercials Report

Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

This is a bit vague. If you mean for prescription-only medicines, then USA. If you mean that the TV is full of ads for over-the-counter remedies, then Poland would be very high on that list. And they're not complete without someone in a white coat and a disclaimer that is in such tiny text you can't really read it and usually it is repeated by the world speed-talking champion!

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#24

UK.
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.

BillybobThistleton Report

Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

I know where this is, but wondering if anyone not from there can actually identify it. It is something called "the right to roam".

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#25

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World China.
Boiled Coca Cola with lemon and ginger.

Duraxyll , Robyn Lee Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
1 month ago

Not only am I going to try it, I'm going to use it to cook a ham

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#26

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World South America.
Having dinner late.
Usually around 9 pm.

sorude27 , Jason Leung Report

eirini
Community Member
1 month ago

Same in Greece. And even later than that.

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#27

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World 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.

Toffelhunter , Pixabay Report

Pezor Zass
Community Member
1 month ago

why applaud professors?

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#28

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Saudi Arabia.
Until recently, no women drivers.

eromab , Dids Report

Q B F T
Community Member
1 month ago

And beheadings

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#29

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Australia.
Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious bastards

LostBetweenthePages , Wikimedia.Commons Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Only 10% of Australian Magpies swoop and for about 6 weeks every year during nesting season. They aren't vicious, they are protecting their chicks. They don't do it just to be assholes. It's not that common for people to put deterrents on their helmets/hats. They are extremely intelligent birds and are good at remembering people's faces. They also have beautiful sing song called carolling. And FYI that magpie pictured is NOT an Australian magpie.

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#30

30 Peculiar Things That Seem Normal In Some Countries, But Not In The Rest Of The World Bavaria.
Drinking beer before 12 o‘clock and seeing it as part of the culture

pflanzensindgeil , Hana Mara Report

Stimpy
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Typical of Bavarians to consider themselves an independent county (the Texas of Germany, folks)!

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Note: this post originally had 49 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.