The more you learn about people, the more you learn about the world. After all, there are so many cultures around the globe—each with something important to teach about life and nature.
So, to broaden his cultural awareness, Nasr, who is known on social media as Nas Alive, asked TikTok users "What is something that's normal in your country but weird to the rest of the world?"
"Growing up in an immigrant family from Syria, while living in Canada and going to a French school, I was naturally exposed to many languages and cultures," Nasr told Bored Panda. "So I tend to find myself asking a lot of questions. For example, what's the origin of phrases like 'break the ice' and 'break a leg'? And why do we knock on wood?" This TikTok was a result of such thoughts.
And it went viral. As of this article, the video has over 2.4 million views and 18.7K comments, many of which are replies to Nasr's interesting question. From installing saunas in Finnish apartments to congratulating someone on getting their degree in Argentina, continue scrolling and check out some of the most popular ones.
Pre-Pandemic Mask Wearing In Asian Countries
Wearing a mask. In Hogh Kong, if you're even slightly sick, you wear a mask. If you feel ugly, you wear a mask, if you're just lazy, and don't want to do anything - you wear a mask. Most Asian countries actually wear masks, and it's not because we want to, it's because we grew up knowing that as a society, we need to protect each other
Nasr believes that languages are a reflection of cultures, so his passion for the two is equally immense. "You'll find that languages have opinions too!" he said. "For example, topics like sex and God are taboo in Arabic. But say 'omfg' in English and no one bats an eye."
"Here's another example: time travels vertically in Mandarin from up to down. That's why in Mandarin last week is 'shangge xingqi' (up week) and next week is 'xiage xingqi' (down week). In English, however, time travels from back to front. That's why we say phrases like 'leave the past behind you' and 'I look forward to it'."
In Norway, Parents Leave Their Babies Outside To Nap, Even If It's Cold
I thought this was a normal thing everywhere until my American friends were like "what the [hell], why do you do that? That is so weird".
So we leave our babies outside when they're supposed to sleep. For example, If you're going to a restaurant, there will often be strollers outside with babies sleeping in them. It's normal in most of the Nordic countries. I just thought it was a thing everywhere. And also when they're in kindergarden and it's nap time, you'll just see a bunch of strollers outside. And no they are not cold, they are always packed in the stroller with a bunch of clothes
"I believe learning about other languages and cultures makes us more empathetic as people. Every culture has something cool that we can learn from, and that's what I hope to share in my videos."
Right before he came up with the idea for his now-viral TikTok, Nasr was at home for lockdown, just like all the locals in Ontario, Canada. "I was trying to brainstorm new video ideas. TikTok has a feature that allows people to 'stitch' your video so they can respond to it. So I thought it would be fun to ask basically the world 'what's something normal in your country but weird to the rest of us?' and see what kind of quote on quote weird things people in other countries do."
Sauna In The Apartment In Finland
In Slovakia, We Keep Live Fish In Our Bathtub Before Christmas
You go to a store, you purchase a live fish, that you bring home in a plastic bag, and you let it live in your bathtub. Because this kind of fish, it's a karp I believe, and it live in muddy waters. And it's kinda gross, so it needs to cleanse itself in clean water before you can eat it. My family used to do this every year up until a few years ago, and every year, I named the fish Michael. So before people took a shower, we needed to put Michael in a bucket.
The culture and language fan said the collective response to his video has been thrilling. "People 'stitched' the video from all around the world. It got attention from big Internet celebrities and even a news anchor from the US," Nasr cheered.
In Ireland, If Your Friend's Mom Offers You Food, You Have To Say 'No' A Bunch Of Times While She Insists And You Finally Give In
In Ireland, we Speak English, so the way you say you say 'no' is 'no', and the way you say 'yes' is 'yes'. However, if you're in your friend's house nad your friend's mom offers you food, 'yes' is then pronounced 'ah, no sure, I'm grand'. To which she'll respond 'ah, you will'. To which you'll respond ah, no honestly'. To which she'll respond 'ah, go on you will'. To which you'll finally respond 'ah, sure, wouldn't say no'. Despite the fact, you've just said 'no' twice, and you've been secretly starving the whole time. It's a linguistic tradition, not the most time efficient, but it is what it is.
In Denmark If You're Not Married By The Time You Turn 25 Years Old, Then On Your Birthday You Get Tied To A Pole And Get Cinnamon Thrown At You
However, if you are still not married by the time you turn 30, it's pepper.
The man has learned a lot from the 'stitches' attached to his original TikTok. "In Nordic countries, it is normal for parents to leave their babies in prams outside in temperatures below zero," Nasr highlighted what has really stood out for him. "They apparently sleep longer and have overall better quality sleep."
Everything In Switzerland Has To Be In Al Least 3 Languages
Everything has to be translated into at least 3 languages. I live in Switzerland, a small country in the center of Europe with 8.5 million population. There are 4 national languages: German, French, Italian & Rhaeto-Romance. Rhaeto-Romance is spoken by a small part of the population so it's not widely used in businesses. If you have a nation-wide business, your website needs to be translated into at least 3 languages, same with brochures, instructions, product boxes. Sometimes if large companies do a presentation, they will actually do it in 2 languages, or people will receive headphones with a live translation. In some small villages, cinemas will have 3 sets of subtitles, taking up half the screen.
In Sweden, People Cool Drinks Outside In The Snow
"I learned about the practice of throat singing by @Kayuulanov who is an Inuk from Canada. I also learned that unfortunately in many parts of the world, kids smoke and drink at ages as young as 13 years old," he said, adding that it's the good and the bad but it's also the reality."
Nasr dreams that one day he will be able to travel the world, and show off different cultures first-hand, and judging by how excited he is about these things, I'd say he would do a great job as well.
The Ridiculously Large Size Of American Soft Drinks
The sheer amount of carbonated beverages that we drink. I've never been to a country where this is a normal standard amount of sugar. Even when I was in Europe, none of the soft drinks were ever this big, this is a purely American thing. And probably for the best, because nobody needs 44oz of coke.
In Russia, We Have 2 Passports
One is for internal use, which is basically an ID card for most countries. But here in Russia, we have many pages of information about our citizens, like who your children are, where are you living, and other things like that. The second passport is an international, Russian Federation passport. And not every Russian has it, you need to pay about $60 to $70 to get one. And all my visas are stored here.
In Sweden, You Can Google A Lot About A Person, Like Their Address, What Car They Drive, How Much They Earn
In Sweden, you can just type in the name of the person on Google. The results will come up, his full name, date of birth, where he lives, what car he drives, how much he earns, everything. It's free for everyone to just check, I think that's very unnatural
Culture is a huge part of people's lives. It influences their views, their values, their humor, their hopes, their loyalties, it pretty much is a blueprint for their personalities. It's TikToks like this that foster building bridges between these differences rather than fighting over them.
I'm From Papua New Guinea, And It's Chewing Betel Nut
If you ever visited, you might be surprised to see so many people with red-stained mouths. Well, it's from chewing betel nut. It's a social practice that every Papua New Guinean does. From the elders to the young ones. And there are 2 ways to chew betel nut. You can just crack open the green nut and chew the flesh regularly, or you can dip the dake, which is the green stem, into the kambang, which is a white powder, to produce a red paste in your mouth. And basically, this is a drug, it's a stimulant, it's like coffee, it gives you a burst of energy, people usually chew this in the mornings.
In Argentina, When You Graduate University Your Friends And Family Attack You With Food And Paint
In Argentina, when you graduate university your friends and family attack you with eggs, flour, contiments, oil, food in general, paint, foam, anything. And they just drench you in head to toe as a celebration. The way it works is you let everyone know when your final exam is, and if you pass, you change into comfy clothes and everyone gathers around you and throws stuff at you. In the past few years it has changed from food to paint, foam, confetti, as to not waste food, but a lot of people still do the food thing. So you go with a carton of eggs and just whack them at the person who graduated.
In Brasil, We Are Very Obsesive About Oral Hygene
It's very common to see a Brazilian brushing their teeth or flossing in a public bathroom or workplace bathroom. We also take multiple showers a day, usually 2 or 3 showers. And we eat pizza with a fork and a knife, I don't really know of any other country that does this, I'm sure there are, but we eat pizzas with a fork and a knife.