In Iceland men would have to to lift a 100 kg stone to hip height to qualify to work on a fishing boat. Some of the original stones still sit on the beach at Djúpalónssandur. This tradition became the inspiration for lifting the Ardblair Stones in Scotland, Iceland, and Wales.
The origins of the cowboy tradition come from Spain, beginning with the hacienda system of medieval Spain. This style of cattle ranching spread throughout much of the Iberian peninsula, and later was imported to the Americas.
In Japanese tradition, rabbits live on the Moon where they make mochi, the popular snack of mashed sticky rice. This comes from interpreting the pattern of dark patches on the moon as a rabbit standing on tiptoes on the left pounding on an usu, a Japanese mortar.
There is a Jewish “tradition” (primarily among Jewish Americans) of eating Chinese food on Christmas.
The residents of the Spanish village Villar de Corneja near Avila, where the average age is 75, toast the New Year 12 hours before the rest of their countrymen in a collective decision to get to bed at a decent hour.
10th century Norwegian Viking ruler King Haakon the Good made the household production of Juleøl (Christmas Beer) a law. Families that did not have beer at their Christmas feast were issued a fine.
Long before Christianity made its way to the native Germanic peoples, Norwegians celebrated the winter solstice by brewing and drinking beer to honor their Norse gods. To celebrate “Jul,” a Norwegian word that in modern vernacular refers to the Christmas season, Vikings brewed and consumed strong, barley-based beer while in the throes of winter’s coldest and dreariest months. They also used the ale to make offerings in hopes to entice the gods to bring back the summer sun.
According to “The Geography of Beer,” King Haakon the Good, who ruled from 934 to 961, later used the ancient Jul celebration to push a Christian agenda. As part of his efforts to introduce Christianity to the Norwegian people, King Haakon the Good implemented a pagan-meets-Christian mash-up, making it a law to celebrate Christmas with beer. Those who didn’t have beer at their Christmas feast were issued a fine. Norway became Christianized in the 11th century.
Many Christmas traditions come from the Roman holiday Saturnalia. During Saturnalia, work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed, and the normal social patterns were suspended.
People decorated their homes with wreaths and other greenery, and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothes known as synthesis. Even slaves did not have to work during Saturnalia, but were allowed to participate in the festivities; in some cases, they sat at the head of the table while their masters served them.
Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, socializing and giving each other gifts. Wax taper candles called cerei were common gifts during Saturnalia, to signify light returning after the solstice.
Every Christmas season, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families treat themselves to Kentucky Fried Chicken, in what has become a nationwide tradition.
In Thailand, each day of the week has a color and a god who protects it. In the past, people would wear the color assigned to each day. Now most people just use their personal lucky color which is based on the day they were born.
The Wodaabe tribe from Chad has a courtship tradition called Gerewol. Men spend hours getting dressed to dance in front of the tribe’s women in hopes of being judged the most beautiful. Women from the tribe can pick who they want to get married to.