Dating can be pretty complicated even when you’re just trying to work up the courage to ask someone out to coffee. Things haven’t and aren’t always been so cut and dry,\. However, and around the world, you are bound to find some truly bizarre customs when it comes to courtship. Here are just five of the most unusual rituals across the globe!
1. Sweat-Soaked Apples – Austria
During the 19th century, single women in rural Austria would stick slices of apple under armpits while they participated in high energy dances. Once the music ground to a halt, the women would offer the now-sweaty slice to the partner of their choice. If mutually interested, the man would then eat the apple slice to convey his desire.
2. Lovespoons – Wales
Beginning in the 17th century, Welsh men looking to showcase their worthiness and ability in woodworking would hand-carve intricate wooden spoons to try and win over their would-be mates. Today lovespoons are often given to newly married couples, carved with a variety of meaningful symbols such as horseshoes for luck, a lock for security, or bells for marriage.
3. Coded Rice Messages – China
Located in Southwest China, the Miao people celebrate a day that is considered a version of Valentine’s day of sorts. The girls dress up and cook four different colors of sticky rice, symbolizing the four seasons. Young men will make their attempts to win the affection of their chosen gal, who will later respond to her suitors with a message lying in the colorful rice and wrapped in a handkerchief. Garlic is a way of being turned down, for instance, while Chinese parsley shows interest in getting married.
4. All-Male Beauty Pageant – Africa
Men belonging to the African Wodaabe tribe highly value their beauty and grooming, and this can clearly be seen at the annual Gerewol courtship festival. The men dress in extravagant outfits, make-up, and accessories, and participate in songs and dances to impress the women. This week-long event serves as a contest, where the overall beauty of the men competing is judged by a panel of young women.
5. Tooth Filing Ceremony – Bali
Mesangih or Mepandes is a traditional Balinese Hindu rite of passage for children approaching puberty. The ceremony consists of filing down the incisors and canine teeth and is still performed today by dental professionals. The symbolism here is the transition from an animalistic nature to that of a respectable, civilized human. It is also thought to help control the six human evils: desire, greed, anger, intoxication, confusion, and jealousy.