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Gifted_With_Languages's avatar

Is there any tradition somewhere in a certain country/area which truly baffles you?

Asked by Gifted_With_Languages (1137points) February 4th, 2014

Something those locals cherish and value, but you could never understand why and maybe even want it to stop?

Once again, thank you ever so much, and best wishes.

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60 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Female genital mutilation.

Last time I expressed my dismay over this, someone challenged me to be equally dismayed over circumcision. Maybe there’s an argument to be made there, but I just can’t see them as being in the same league.

rojo's avatar


rojo's avatar

Oh, and bullfighting.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Hunting for sport. I live in England, in an area full of typical country types (tweed wearing, Labrador/Spaniel owning, send their kids to boarding school types how very judgemental of me!!) who believe the hunt (ie: chasing foxes on horseback and a pack of hounds) shouldn’t have been made illegal. I will never be able to understand how they can think that this kind of “sport” is ok.

Brian1946's avatar

Getting run over by the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

I can see how it might appeal to those with insufficiently-developed prefrontal cortices, but my guess is that some of those involved might actually be equipped with brains that are at least superficially complete. ;-o

ragingloli's avatar

circumcision, a.k.a. genital mutilation.
bull fighting

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@thorninmud “Female genital mutilation.”

I hear you. My mother’s living in a facility that’s staffed mainly with nurses and CNAs from Sierra Leone, where FGM is arguably more prominent than anywhere else in the world. Whenever I meet or chat with one of these lovely ladies, the question runs through my mind nonstop – has this woman been mutilated? The odds seem to say so.

flutherother's avatar

Female foot binding in China seemed cruel and incomprehensible to me. It is no longer practised but it was the custom for centuries.

Pachy's avatar

Beheadings. I cannot express the extent of my horror and disgust that a human being could do that to another human being for any reason.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

The death penalty.

dougiedawg's avatar

In Denmark, they have some male rite of passage that involves slaughtering porpoises. I saw pictures and it was truly sickening. Hope the animal rights group can stop it BY NEXT YEAR:(

Bluefreedom's avatar

The stoning of a woman to death… places like Iran…..and portrayed in the movie based on true events The Stoning of Soraya M.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Bluefreedom Yeah, treating women as second class citizens or worse baffles me. Let men try reproducing without them.

syz's avatar

Open casket viewings (right here in ‘murica). I don’t get it and it I don’t like it.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Guns, unless held by the militia or a police force.

longgone's avatar

Corporal punishment. Training animals to kill.

Kropotkin's avatar

Voting for politicians.

Seek's avatar

Genital mutilation (of any kind done to any nonconsenting person)
The death penalty
Religious indoctrination of children.

Blondesjon's avatar


Many of my own traditions are still a mystery to me. Once I have those figured out I’ll move on to worrying about others’.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Well, this isn’t an area-based tradition, but my husband’s family always buys a birthday cake on Christmas and they sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. It made me giggle the first couple of years we were together. Their explanation is that it helps them separate the giving and receiving of gifts from the “true meaning of Christmas” for the kids’ benefit. Oy…

Also, making any animals (dogs, chickens, etc) fight for sport or entertainment. Not sure that qualifies as a tradition, but other people are answering like this so what the hell.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Dogdifgts & white pride, together it’s really evil.

dxs's avatar

Those women in India who jump into a fire when their husband dies.
@KNOWITALL What’s Dogdifgts?
: if you move “difgts” over a bit, you get “fights”...

KNOWITALL's avatar

@dxs Stupid phone, yes dogfights. We have a lot around here that are not public knowledge, it’s like an underground thing, you gotta know somebody. They will never stop them, too many people are involved.

rojo's avatar


rojo's avatar

“Don’t tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.”

The class looked horrified.

Langdon shrugged. “And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.”

The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown

rojo's avatar

Hounen Matsuri

rojo's avatar

Male Genital Mutilation (Circumcision)

Kardamom's avatar

Honor killings.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Ear gauges, stinky dead flesh, I’m out.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Tattoos (My apologies to all you who adore “body art.” If you really enjoy the look of a sailor after drunken shore leave, I defend your rights, your tastes, and your prerogative.)

Kardamom's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul I concur. I view tattoos as body mutilation in the “name” of originality, and “creativity” even though EVERYONE is doing it, but actually belonging to the sect of “doing what everybody else is doing ‘cause it’s cool, regardless of how it might effect you in the long run.”

Believe me, you don’t want to miss out, lest you look like a nerd or an outcast. ~

People (only men) thought it was cool and sexually charged for some sick reason, to bind women’s feet in China about 100 to 80 years ago, now most people think that it was sick, and mutilation.

And I think tattoos make people look dirty and bruised. But that sentiment gets me branded as “out of touch”.

I’d rather be realistic and grounded and that’s OK.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul. Labelling someone with tattoos as “enjoying the look of a sailor after drunken shore leave” is a ridiculously bad stereotype, no matter how much you are generalizing. Just saying.

Paradox25's avatar

Male circumcision, from the more I had read about it. Running of the bulls, rites of passage, animal fights during weddings, etc.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Getting married before 18.
Killing and burying wives/husbands when husbands/wives are dead.
Killing people as gifts for god.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Don’t tear me a new one, but what exactly is the problem with male circumcision? I know it’s probably painful, but no adult male recalls his circumcision. Is it because it’s without permission of the child? I’ve never encountered a man that wished he’d never been circumcised. Plus they avoid having to learn the proper hygiene associated with foreskin, which I hear is no easy feat for a teen boy. Never having to learn the word smegma isn’t a huge loss.

To be quite honest, I’ve never seen an unaltered penis in person.

ragingloli's avatar

No one remembers being punched in the face or stabbed in the neck as a baby either.

rojo's avatar


One of the most memorable cartoons I recall was by, I think, John Caldwell.

It showed Moses standing on the mount holding the tablets and speaking to God (shown as a cloud above) and asking “Let me get this straight, You want us to cut the end of our dicks off!?”

Wish I could find a copy.

Basically, for me it boils down to this. If you don’t cut off the end of your childs penis and at some point he decides he wants it done, he can do it himself (have it done, not literally do it himself) but if you make that decision for him he cannot have it reattached at some later date.

And the smegma thing is all blown out of proportion. Guys of all ages play with it all the time in the bathtub and shower so pulling it back and cleaning it occurs naturally.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@ragingloli Punching and stabbing aren’t typically done legally by a medical professional. That comparison is invalid.

@rojo I’m not sure how many men would undergo surgery on their penises as adults, even if they did want to be circumcised.

Selfishly, I’m glad my husband is circumcised. It’s just more aesthetically pleasing to me. He’s glad, too.

ragingloli's avatar

Legality is irrelevant to ethics.
Female circumcision is legal in other parts of the world, and all your arguments for why male genital mutilation is fine can be applied to female genital mutilation as well, just as they could be applied to a supposed religous ritual of baby punching and stabbing.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Female circumcision is a completely different idea than male circumcision. If you don’t know the difference than it isn’t worth discussing it with you.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Easy, I got pissed off. Let’s not go too crazy.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe…? I’m agreeing that they’re different. No one is getting crazy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I agree with you. But I was a bit rough. I was just trying to keep it civil. That was directed at me as much as anyone else.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Response moderated
Adirondackwannabe's avatar

So much for civility.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Damn, I missed it.

ragingloli's avatar

I was as civil as was appropriate.

rojo's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I cannot disagree with you but it does happen. I guess it depends on how much the male really wanted it.

But, the point remains, it is easier to take it off later than put it back on.

On a personal note, how do you know exactly how you feel about uncircumcised penis’ having only intimate knowledge of ‘one side’ of the story? And, while an uncircumcised male can pull the foreskin back giving the appearance of circumcision, the opposite is not true

Seek's avatar

I had to find a Bible scripture stating that circumcision wasn’t necessary in order to convince my husband not to have our son cut. We were still Christian at the time.

Thank you, whoever wrote I Corinthians. (Attributed to Paul)

livelaughlove21's avatar

@rojo I said I found circumcised penises more asthetically pleasing – I didn’t say anything about intimacy. I may not have been intimate with an uncircumcised guy, but I have seen uncircumcised penises before. I just really prefer the look of circumcised penises better. That, of course, is not an argument for circumcising babies – it’s just my personal preference. The uncut ones I’ve seen have looked a little – anteater-ish. Didn’t do much for me.

And, while an uncircumcised male can pull the foreskin back giving the appearance of circumcision, the opposite is not true

True, but I’m not sure why I’d want a circumcised penis to appear to be uncircumcised.

Blondesjon's avatar

As one whose genitalia has been mutilated, uh, it ain’t bad.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Blondesjon That’s what I’m saying. There’s nothing terrible about lacking foreskin.

Our parents make a lot of decisions for us – decisions that affect us greatly later in life. Circumcision just doesn’t strike me as a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I always thought an uncircumcised dick looked like an elephant’s trunk.

rojo's avatar

An OLD elephant’s trunk.

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