The US Navy has a tradition that no submarine is ever considered lost at sea. Subs that don’t return, including 52 lost during WWII, are considered “still on patrol.” Every year at Christmastime sailors manning communications hubs send holiday greetings to those listed as still on patrol.
Jolabokaflod is a Christmas Eve tradition in Iceland where friends and family get together to exchange books and then they all read them together while eating chocolate and drinking cocoa.
“Libations,” the practice of pouring out alcohol in memory of those who have “passed on” was common in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. “Pouring one out for the homies” is a custom over 3,000 years old and is mentioned in the Bible, the The Iliad, and The Odyssey.
The “lucky cigarette” tradition of flipping a cigarette upside-down and saving it until the end of the pack originated from the myth that 1 cigarette in every Lucky Strike pack contained marijuana.
The Navajo have a tradition around celebrating a baby’s first laugh. Around three months, they watch the baby closely for that first real giggle. The person who has the good fortune of eliciting that first laugh is then responsible for throwing a party.
In the Philippines, some Catholics volunteer to be non-lethally crucified on Good Friday. Sterilised nails are driven through their palms and they are hung on crosses. Ruben Enaje has been crucified 27 times. Philippines Department of Health advises tetanus shots before crucifixion.
In addition to Father Christmas, Icelanders are visited by the 13 Yule Lads (including Sausage-Swiper, Spoon-Licker, & Door-Sniffer), as well as their giant pet cat Jólakötturinn, who eats children who don’t receive new clothes for Christmas.
The Peruvian tradition of Takanakuy is an annual event held on 25th December where villagers settle the year’s grievances with public fistfights.
2 rival churches in Vrontados, Greece shoot tens of thousands of fireworks at each other every Easter in a “Rocket War”. Both churches then claim victory and agree to settle the score next year. The tradition dates back to the Ottoman era, when real cannons were used instead.
In Japan male students can confess their love to another person by giving them the second button from the top of their school uniform. The second button is the one closest to the heart.