The European culture is shaped by different elements, including history and religion. As much as Europe is culturally diverse, there are certain distinct values, traditions and customs, which are characteristically European. Over the last few years, a lot has changed in Europe, in terms of family life, work and even the society as a whole. Here are important facts about European traditions and customs.
Portugal – St. John Festival
On the night of June the 23rd every year, the city of Porto becomes crazy and lively. Hundreds, if not thousands of people meet in the city center to pay their tributes to St. John the Baptist. As a show of solidarity, people hit each other with soft plastic hammers or with garlic flowers. These festivities have been happening in the city for more than 600 years. As it stands, it is one of the most important festivals in the city of Porto. As a matter of fact, the festival has now become a tourist attraction.
France – Omelette géante
In several French villages, a giant omelet, comprising of around 4500 eggs is served at the city’s center square. It can feed more than 1,000 people. This tradition has been happening since Napoleon’s time, and does not seem to go away any time soon. Legend has it that Napoleon stopped in a small town one day to have an omelet. He loved it so much that he ordered people to pool their eggs together and make a large one.
Spain – La Tomatina
During the last Wednesday of August, people get involved in a tomato fight, and throw more than 40 metric tonnes of tomatoes. This happens in a small Valencian town of Buñol. They do this merely for fun. This festival has been going on for more than 50 years. It started when one person missed an animal that was eating melons, and hit another with a tomato. The event slowly picked up to what it has become today.
Iceland – Month of Þorri
Every January, most people in Iceland celebrate the feast of Thorri. During this feast, Icelanders eat some of the most disgusting food in the world. This might include things like sour ram testicles, blood pudding, fermented shark, live sausage and boiled sheep heads. The feast is meant to celebrate traditional foods. Initially, people used to smoke, bury, ferment or salt their food. This has become a modern delicacy. People who are able to eat such food depict a lot of strength and might.
Sweden – Frog Dance
Midway through summer celebrations, Swedes congregate around a maypole, stop everything, then start dancing and singing around the pole. During the singing, they mimic the sounds produced by frogs. What is not clear is how this whole festival started, since they sing along to a popular song used during the French revolution.
Finland – Wife Carrying
Finnish people have some of the oddest traditions and customs in Europe. One of the events is the popular Wife Carrying. During this event, male competitors race against each other, while carrying a wife, who is the teammate. The person who posts the fastest time after completing the race is pronounced the winner.