Category:
Customs

les fêtes étranges

Awhile back I posted a link on here to an article about strange places to visit. More recently I wrote about unusual contests. Now I can combine the two! Men's magazine askmen.com has created a list of what they think are the top ten weird festivals held around the globe each year. For example, there's the Cow Painting Festival held in Luxembourg each summer. And you probably shouldn't miss the Moose Dropping Festival in Talkeetna, Alaska in July. Plus there's the So Joo Festival in Porto, Portugal in June - bring a hammer! You can see the entire list here.

Posted By: Nethie - Sun Oct 10, 2010 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Customs, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Magazines, Parades and Festivals

The Strange World of Divorce

While it might be fairly common for couples to get a divorce in the United States these days, it's certainly not easy. There are questions of support, custody issues if there are children involved, and bitter arguments over who gets to keep what; all of which can drag a divorce into months of stress. But what is it like in other cultures and in other times? In centuries past, in China, a divorce could be granted for any number of reasons, so long as the bride's family agreed to take her back. Aborigine women in Australia can convince their husbands to grant a divorce but if that's not working, then all they need to do is elope with someone else. The ancient Athenians and modern-day Eskimos share an extremely simple divorce process - live separately as though they were never married. In the UK, a man tired of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her into town to the cattle market, and sell her to the highest bidder. Japan had a much more advanced view, however. Marriage was not sacred and divorce was not immoral - it was merely a mismatch between families. Women's dowrys were returned in the hopes of encouraging re-marriage. You can read more on Purple Slinky, and on Hope's Blog, and in this review.

Posted By: Nethie - Sat Jul 31, 2010 - Comments (4)
Category: Anniversary, Centuries, Ceremonies, Weddings, Customs, Foreign Customs, Marriage

Mind Your Manners

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 21, 2010 - Comments (4)
Category: Customs, Teenagers, 1950s

Beyond Belief – Weirdness in Religion

First up, a UK judge has spoken out to say children should be allowed to take knives to school. Not all children mind you, just Sikh children. Justice Mota Singh, a Sikh himself, is talking about the kirpan, a ceremonial three-inch knife worn as a show of faith by devout Sikhs, the wearing of which by one boy was banned by a North London school earlier this year. Singh later supported the boy's family's decision to withdraw him rather than accept their compromise offer that he carry a 'disabled' equivalent claiming the school's refusal was discriminatory (BBC News).

Meanwhile another UK court last week ruled that particularly pious Hindu Davender Kumar Ghai can have the open-air cremation he fervently desires. It's been a long battle for Ghai, who found his proposal to site traditional funeral pyres on land outside Newcastle blocked by the city council in a decision later upheld by England's High Court. Now the UK Court of Appeal has said that the open-air ceremonies can go ahead, and that the requirement that all cremations occur 'within a building' could be met by any reasonable structure and did not dictate that structure have walls or a roof. Davenda Kumar Ghai, who is 76 and in poor health, can now go ahead and build his roofless crematorium, once he gets planning permission to do so, from Newcastle City Council (Times).

And in yet another landmark decision, the councillors in Reading, England have given the local Muslim community permission to carry out their own burials in the borough's cemeteries at weekends, which council gravediggers do not work. Many Islamic traditions favour burial very soon after death, and the delays caused by the weekend closures was cited as a significant cause of stress for relatives. In response, the council have agreed to dig some graves beforehand for later use in a pilot scheme expected to last one year, or until the first Saturday night drunk falls in one and sues (GetReading).

Mind you, even once you're in the ground you're not always safe. A row over the siting of a new museum on a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalen has boiled over this week with families who claim to have relatives buried there petitioning the UN. The cemetery, which dates back several hundred years, is due to be excavated to make was for a new “Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance” being built by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who dispute the families' claims. “The Museum of Tolerance project is not being built on the Mamilla Cemetery. It is being built on Jerusalem’s former municipal car park, where every day for nearly half a century, thousands of Muslims, Christians and Jews parked their cars without any protest whatsoever from the Muslim community,” said founder Rabbi Marvin Hier (Telegraph).



More in extended >>

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Sun Feb 14, 2010 - Comments (12)
Category: Ceremonies, Customs, Death, Government, Regulations, Law, Judges, Philosophy, Religion

The Red Flannel Festival

In 2009, all WU readers are commanded to attend Michigan's Red Flannel Festival, where natives parade in public in their longjohns.

Here's the history of the tradition, taken from the Festival's homepage.

It all began in 1936 in the midst of "the worst winter in years." The whole country suffered in the grip of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. A New York feature writer bemoaned the "fact" that, "Here we are in the midst of an old- fashioned winter and there are no red flannels in the USA to go with it."

The local newspaper, The Cedar Springs Clipper, owned and edited by "The Clipper Gals" Nina Babcock and Grace Hamilton answered the writer with a RED HOT editorial stating: "Just because Sak's Fifth Avenue does not carry red flannels, it doesn't follow that no one in the country does. CEDAR SPRINGS' merchants have red flannels!"

The story was picked up by The Associated Press and orders began pouring in from all over the USA.

Seeing the possibility of at least a few years of publicity because of our famous “drop seaters" and lumbering history, a "RED FLANNEL DAY" was planned for the fall of 1939. After the closure of the Red Flannel Factory in 1994, the citizens became concerned as to the fate of their beloved Red Flannels and of the Red Flannel Festival. However, due to the love of their community legacy, volunteers rallied to keep the Red Flannel Festival tradition alive. It has continued to be an annual event, held the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October. The production of Red Flannel garments was reestablished and they are available to purchase in Cedar Springs.


And here are some shots from early on, courtesy of the Life Photo Archive

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 02, 2009 - Comments (9)
Category: Customs, Holidays, Parades and Festivals, Regionalism, Fetishes, Underwear, 1940s

Pumpkin Drop

The incredible Sandy Pearlman delivers us this gem.

Happy Halloween!

Posted By: Paul - Sat Oct 25, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Agriculture, Customs, Destruction, Holidays, Cars

Micronations

The concept of micronations is a fascinating idea. I utilized the notion in one of my recent stories, the title piece from The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories. But I hardly began to exhaust the narrative possibilities of the idea.










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Here's a recent article on one such place, the Republic of Molossia.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 28, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Performance Art, Customs, Foreign Customs, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, Regulations, History, Law, Military, Obsessions, Patriotism, Politics, Travel

Spit-take

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This fellow has many cuspidors.

This museum actually wants them.

Two simple facts. Yet what a wealth of weirdness.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 27, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Agriculture, Customs, Eccentrics, Hygiene, Museums, Obsessions, Regionalism

They’ll Do It Every Time

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When I was a kid, I loved the comic strip THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME, by Jimmy Hatlo. It was one of my first introductions to poking fun at irrational or weird human behavior.

What I did not quite realize is that the strip had a revival under artist Al Scaduto. But unfortunately, he passed away on December 8, 2007, and his last strip ran on February 3, 2008.

Here's an archive of that current version.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 26, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Comics, Customs, History, Newspapers, 1920s

Happy Hula-hooping!

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Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the Hula Hoop!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 13, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Anniversary, Business, Products, Customs, Decades, 1950s, Fads, History, Inventions

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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