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Unusual Traditions in Europe

Every part of the world is full of culture and has some traditions which baffle those outside that region. Sometimes, it even baffles those who live in that region. However, traditions are there for a reason and even if that reason eludes most of us, it does not mean that the traditions themselves are particularly strange. 

Europe is full of traditions and given the cultural diversity of the country and the sheer number of countries that inhabit the continent, it is only right to assume that there will be many traditions in Europe. Here they are, in no particular order.

La Tomatina – The Tomato Fight – Spain

flydime, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spain is known for its intricacies and the Spanish are known to be passionate people, but nothing beats around 150000 people using around 40 metric tons of tomato to celebrate a holiday. La Tomatina is said to have originated during a celebration, a parade of the Little Rabbit, in 1945. 

Some unknown creature started eating the watermelons at the parade and the scared people started throwing tomatoes at the creature. Given people’s aim, one tomato went astray and everything turned into a huge tomato fight which involved the police. Every August, the town of Bunol in Valencia engages in the tomato fight. 

The Caber Toss – Scotland

The Scottish Highland Games are a spectacle to see. The caber toss is one of the main events and it involves people carrying large tree trunks and tossing them as far as possible. The trees are carried in the upward position, held by one end. A competitor needs to run a certain distance and then throw the caber. 

The tradition is a couple of centuries old and the story goes that throwing cabers was used as an exercise during wartime, to prepare soldiers and builders for the task of building bridges. 

Partita a Scacchi – Human Chess – Italy

Italy is known for a plethora of strange traditions and this one is not an exception. A town in northern Italy called Marostica hosts a game of human chess every year. The humans are chess figures, in case it was not obvious, played on a board which is matched in size. It is based on a legend which took place in the 15th century.

Two men challenged each other to a duel for the hand of a woman called Lionora. The father, then lord of Marostica castle, ordered them to play a game of chess. The winner would get Lionora and the loser, her younger sister Oldrada.

The Bathtub Regatta – Belgium

Racing with boats is, even those you made, has been heard of. However, racing with boats made out of bathtubs is a bit eccentric. In Belgium, there is an annual bathtub regatta, which dates back to 1982. The theme changes annually but contestants are encouraged to decorate their boats to best represent their region. The race is one kilometer long and very fun.

These are some of Europe’s strangest traditions, some of which go centuries back while others are more recent. Each country in Europe has a strange tradition, so be sure to check