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Bizarre Culinary Customs: Unbelievable Food Rituals from Around the World

Bizarre Eating Rituals Around the World You Won’t Believe Are Real

You don’t have to be an intrepid explorer to know that the world is a very, very strange place. Across the globe, hundreds of different cultures exist and go about their lives, each driven by their own history, traditions, and quirks. It doesn’t really matter where you are – whether it’s Kenya or Japan, England or Siberia, or anywhere else beyond – the simple fact is that we all have our own way of doing things. This is especially true when it comes to the food we eat. Every culture has its own way of cooking and consuming food, and more than a few have their own utterly bizarre rituals (at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned) in which religion, history, or even circumstance has driven them to do things that would, frankly, shock any other culture. These are just a few of the oddities our world has to offer.

The blood cows of the Massai

The Maasai are an ethnic group living in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are best known for their colorful fashion sense and, yes, their unusual rituals and customs. One of the stranger things they’re known for is the use of cow’s blood and milk in their diet. Milk is used by the Maasai for tea, butter, and simply as a drink, while blood is drunk raw, cooked, and often combined with milk. The Maasai cut the cow’s artery so precisely that the act of drawing blood doesn’t even kill the animal, thus preventing the loss of what is a highly valued animal in their culture.
Blood is a common ritual drink at Maasai weddings, although larger ceremonies usually involve killing the unfortunate cattle in question. It’s drunk straight from the wound as the animal is killed and passed around for the men to drink. We’ll, uh, stick with the champagne, thanks.

Northern winds of the Inuits

The Inuit are not like us. Living in the northern regions of Canada and Greenland, they are hardwired to live and thrive in some of the harshest conditions known to man. They have never farmed – they can’t – so they fish, hunt and trap for food. Their customs regarding marriage, birth, and death have been a source of fascination for hundreds of years.
In terms of food, the Inuit eat everything from walrus to whale to polar bear to whatever fish they can hunt in the Arctic’s icy waters. Very few spices or complex cooking methods are used, and some foods are eaten frozen. Of course, they also drink seal blood. Much of this has more to do with location than tradition, but the last one is the kicker – in some Inuit cultures, it’s considered good manners to pass the wind after eating, as a form of appreciation. Something tells us that’s a tradition that wouldn’t go over too well in a lot of places.

A Very KFC Christmas in Japan

You knew Japan was going to end up on this list somewhere, right? Well, maybe it’s not too surprising that they have their own fascinating food custom or two, but more surprising is the form it takes: The traditional Christmas dinner all over Japan is KFC. Yes, that KFC. It started with the release of a KFC Christmas “party barrel” in 1970, which attempted to recreate the traditional American Christmas dinner, only with fried chicken instead of turkey. By 1974, the promotion had expanded nationwide, and with no other real Christmas traditions in Japan at the time, KFC simply filled the void.
Today, the KFC Christmas meal includes fried chicken, salad and a more traditional Japanese Christmas cake. It’s estimated that 3.6 million Japanese families eat KFC during the season, and food is ordered weeks in advance to beat the rush.

The Haro Wine Fight

Spain has no shortage of strange food events and rituals – Bunol’s annual tomato fight, for example, is a legendary festival for locals and tourists alike. Less famous (though arguably much, much cooler) is the Haro Wine Battle. Located in Spain’s northern La Rioja region, Haro is a small but important part of the country’s winemaking tradition.
It’s said that the fiesta dates back to the 13th century, when a tradition saw the people of Haro marking their property lines between themselves and their neighbors in Miranda de Ebro to prevent Haro from being subsumed by that town. In the 17th century, the tradition broke down and the inhabitants of each town settled their differences by throwing wine at each other, and so a new tradition was born. Today, the revelers (dressed in white, of course) join a procession and attend a religious mass before fighting for hours.
These bizarre food rituals from around the world may seem strange and unusual to outsiders, but they are deeply rooted in the cultures and traditions of the communities that practice them. They serve as a reminder of the incredible diversity of human customs and the fascinating ways in which food can play a central role in our lives.
As we explore the world and encounter these unique rituals, it’s important to approach them with an open mind and respect for cultural differences. While some of these practices may seem bizarre or even shocking to us, they are an integral part of the identity and heritage of the communities that maintain them.
So the next time you find yourself in a foreign country, don’t be afraid to try something new and unfamiliar. You may just discover a whole new world of flavors, traditions, and rituals that will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of human culture.
Chris Heasman. “Bizarre Eating Rituals Around the World You Won’t Believe Are Real”. Mashed. February 2, 2024.
Disclaimer: This article is based on the information available at the URL provided and does not reflect personal experience or first-hand knowledge. Please refer to the original source for more accurate details.


Answer: There are several bizarre food rituals practiced around the world, such as the Masai people drinking cow’s blood, the Inuit consuming frozen raw meat, and the Japanese tradition of eating KFC for Christmas dinner.

Why do the Masai drink cow’s blood?

Answer: The Maasai, an ethnic group in Kenya and Tanzania, drink cow’s blood as part of their diet and rituals. Milk is used for various purposes, while blood is consumed raw or cooked and is often mixed with milk. The Maasai have precise methods for extracting blood from cows without harming the animals.

What is the significance of passing the wind after a meal in Inuit culture?

Answer: In some Inuit cultures, it is considered good manners to pass the wind after a meal as a sign of appreciation. This tradition is believed to show gratitude for the food consumed and is deeply rooted in their customs and beliefs.

Why is KFC so popular for Christmas dinner in Japan?

Answer: KFC became popular for Christmas dinner in Japan because of a marketing campaign that began in 1970. The launch of a KFC Christmas “party barrel” was intended to provide a substitute for the traditional American Christmas turkey. With no established Christmas dinner traditions in Japan at the time, KFC filled the void and the promotion expanded nationwide.

What is the Haro Wine Battle in Spain?

Answer: The Haro Wine Battle is a unique event that takes place in the town of Haro in the La Rioja region of Spain. It has its origins in a tradition dating back to the 13th century when the people of Haro would mark their property lines with their neighbors. Over time, the tradition evolved into a wine-throwing battle between the people of Haro and the neighboring town of Miranda de Ebro. Today, the participants dress in white and participate in a procession and religious mass before enjoying hours of wine-fueled revelry.

How should we approach these bizarre food rituals?

Answer: When encountering these bizarre food rituals, it is important to approach them with an open mind and respect for cultural differences. While these practices may seem unusual or shocking to outsiders, they are deeply rooted in the cultures and traditions of the communities that practice them. It is an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the diversity of human customs and the role that food plays in different societies.

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