love is strange and mysterious, just like jelly beans!”
– A very wise person
Finding love or a life-long partner is not an easy feat, and it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all. For most of us, showing your admiration for someone often involves lots of flowers, fine dining and gifts – which can be rather stressful if you’re trying to impress the lucky gal or guy. However, in some corners of the world, there are rather extraordinary and unbelievable ways that love is celebrated. Expressing your love or interest in a potential mate is sometimes set by specific customs and rituals that make the whole process of selecting your life partner… interesting.
In the spirit of Valentine’s day, we’ve conducted a list of five unbelievable ways that love is celebrated around the world. Some are sweet, and some are super cringe-worthy!
Don’t forget to leave us a little love note at the end of the post to let us know your thoughts.
We hope you enjoy! 🖤
1. The Love Shack
You may have heard of the ‘love shack’ but probably didn’t think it’s a real thing!
In the Kreung villages of Cambodia, unmarried adolescents stay in stilted huts, separated from the opposite sex. When a girl reaches puberty, her parents build her a special, small hut next to the main family hut for her to move into. The young girl is encouraged to spend the night with as many men as she feels necessary, in order to find the right one for her. This may sound extremely unconventional for western standards but for the Kreung people, these ‘love huts‘ give the young girls the opportunity to explore their sexuality in the comfort of their own privacy, and builds confidence in them by allowing the girls to set their own rules about sexual conduct.
‘Love huts’ are also common in some African cultures!
Before the days of cellphones and tablets, there was the handwritten letter, written with strenuous passion and sealed with heartfelt sincerity. But for the Zulu women of South Africa, a letter is assembled, crafted, worn – but not written. Learn how to read Zulu Love Letters here.
>>A Bundle of love!
Bundling or tarrying was practised by some European communities and colonial America. This is when an unmarried couple are allowed to share the same bed, usually as a courting custom, but are tightly wrapped in blankets to prevent them from, well, getting too cosy… Some Amish communities in the States still practice this today.
2. The Toilet Ban!
In Borneo, after a Tidong couple is wed, they may not leave the confines of their home for three days, and are also prohibited from using the bathroom for the same time period. The couple is kept under constant supervision and are put on a restricted diet. Why? It apparently brings good luck… so much for a honeymoon!
>>Pisst… have you heard of France’s toilet tradition?
A ‘pot de chambre’ is literally a chamber pot or potty. The morning after a wedding (sometimes that same evening) the wedding party makes the newlyweds drink from the ‘pot de chambre,’ usually filled with anything from champagne or other alcohol, cake, or even chocolate spread to sausages and toilet paper! The ingredients are mixed together before the newlyweds are forced to sip from the ‘pot de chambre’. Thankfully, this isn’t a tradition that the French strictly adhere to. Yuk!
3. Sweet Serenade
The Dai people of China add a special twist to speed dating!
A courtship ceremony sees eligible Dai women gather around a bonfire before the eligible men proceed toward the lady of their choice. The men approach with red blankets and attempt to win the woman they choose by serenading her. If she’s impressed, the woman will reveal a stool that she keeps under the folds of her skirt, and invites the man to sit on it, taking his place beside her. When sat together, the man will place his red blanket over the woman to indicate that she’s taken.
>> In the Indonesian Tidong community, grooms aren’t allowed to see their bride’s face until he has sung her several love songs. A curtain separating the couple is raised only after the man has concluded his recital.
4. And a Salty Serenade too…
It’s not unusual to see people crying at a wedding but this, this is different.
A Tujia bride-to-be (China) starts shedding her tears a whole month before her wedding date. And she cries for 1 hour every day. Yup. After ten days, her mother joins in and they cry together. For 1 hour a day. Ten days after that, the grandmother does the same. By the end of the month, every female in the family has joined the bride-to-be in her teary symphony. All the crying is, of course, to express the joy of the upcoming nuptials, and the women weep in different tones to create a whimpering melody. Aah, the sweet (or salty) sound of joy!
5. Mt Hagen Sing-sings
The Papua New Guinea Sing-sing festival is the largest tribal gathering event in the world!
Famous for the explosion of colour, feathers, music and dance, the festival attracts thousands of people from all over the island to flaunt the various cultures of their districts. Occurring in September, the tribesmen mimic birds of paradise through their elaborate feathered headgears and face painting. Dances and songs (known as sing-sings) imitate the mating dance of male birds of paradise, producing a psychedelic dance of seduction to woo potential lovers. 🖤
Which custom did you find most unbelievable? Leave us a little love note in the comment section to let us know your thoughts!