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14 Asian curiosities that will leave…
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14 Asian curiosities that will leave you speechless

January 03, 2018 • By Shirley Marie Bradby
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Globalization has led to the diffusion in Europe of the American tradition of celebrating Halloween as well as having made Christmas known in China!

Nevertheless, certain traditions, objects, and ways of doing things remain well anchored to the culture of origin, making them particularly curious to those unfamiliar with that part of the world.

For us Westerners, for example, everything that comes from Asia is often a source of surprise and here in this article, we want to share with you some things that are common there and completely unknown here!


1. The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has "replaced" Christmas with the birthday of his late grandmother!

 In 2016, the official banning of every type of celebration linked to Christmas was proclaimed in North Korea. During the period that was previously dedicated to Christmas celebrations, now by law, North Koreans must celebrate the birth of the dictator's grandmother, which took place on 24 December 1919.

2. Never say the number 4!

Tetraphobia (fear of the number 4) is highly diffused in Asian cultures, especially in China, due to the fact that the pronunciation of the word "death" and that of the number 4 differ only in tonality. This number, therefore, is never used unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Image: Kikuko Nakayama / Wikimedia

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3. What kind of game is this?

There is an extremely common game among elementary school students in Japan, Korea, and the Philippines called Kanchō. It consists of being able to catch their friends off guard during moments of distraction --- and then while holding their hands together in the shape of an imaginary gun, attempt to poke the victim's anus!

4. Blowing your nose in public is considered to be an act of terrible rudeness!

image: Pixabay/Mojpe

5. Asians have gone crazy over "bikini jeans"

 Although produced mainly in Brazil, this item of clothing is immensely popular in Asian markets.

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6. In Japan, whoever enters first takes control of the elevator

In Japan, social convention dictates that whoever first enters an elevator becomes the "captain" and has to deal with the management of the control panel. This means pressing the open/close button and all the buttons needed by the other passengers, allowing them to get off the elevator before he/she does.

7. In Thailand, you should not ever caress a child's head

In Thailand, there is a very specific taboo regarding the head. Since the head is considered to be the most important part of the human body (it is believed that in the skull of each person there lives a sacred spirit of light), this part of the body can be touched only by monks or the person's parents.

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8. In Vietnam cats are considered to be bearers of misery and misfortune

image: aush/ Pikabu

This superstition depends on the fact that the sound of a cat's meowing resembles the Vietnamese word for "poverty". When a stray cat approaches a Vietnamese's house, the person will interpret it as a sign of impending misfortune.

9. In China, young children wear open-crotch pants (pants open at the back) to make taking care of their bodily needs easier ...

In China, a child who defecates or urinates in the street is not a reason for criticism or alarm on the part of Chinese people. 

Image: Aliexpress

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10. Chewing gum is prohibited in Singapore

Chewing gum is prohibited by the law and heavily fined in Singapore! Pharmacies are the only places where chewing gum can be bought, and only with a medical prescription!

11. A tomato-based sweet drink is very popular in Asia

Un post condiviso da Mai Huong (@huong.be.nho) in data:

There is even a version "enriched" with additional sugar, honey, and coconut milk!

12. In Japan, there are specific items for cleaning your ears

These small "ear scoops" made of plastic and bamboo, are characterized by a small rubber ball on one of the two ends decorated with pompoms or feathers.

13. In South Korea, there is a holiday for people who are single

Un post condiviso da kuraiji (@kuraiji) in data:

In South Korea, there is an annual holiday that is the opposite of our St. Valentine's Day. In fact, every 14 April, South Koreans who have not found a soul mate celebrate the so-called "Black Day", a holiday designed specifically for singles in which if you are single you wear black clothing and eat noodles with black bean sauce (jajangmyeon).

14. In Vietnam, birthdays are not celebrated on the anniversary of the actual birth date

Most Vietnamese people do not celebrate their birthday on the exact day of their birth but instead, wait for the coming of Tết, the New Year's holiday. On this day, parents also give their children red envelopes containing "good luck" money and on New Year's day, everyone adds one more year to their age.

Tags: Curious Cultural
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