The Craziest Drinking Customs From Countries All Over the World
Perhaps it's no surprise that drinkers around the world have come up with all sorts of strange and wacky traditions when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. After all, inebriation can spawn all sorts of "brilliant" ideas, right?
Here you'll find a collection of some of the craziest drinking customs around the world that have actually caught on and become parts of their respective cultures. Get ready for a handy guide on how to get tipsy across the globe!
In countries around the world, nothing quite says "marital bliss" like a booze-laden celebration. In Germany, pre-wedding antics take an odd turn with a little bridal kidnapping. On the night before a lucky girl is wed, the groomsmen kidnap her and take her to a local bar.
Igbo Wedding Wine Sipping
While drinking is involved in many a wedding, it's an important part of the actual ceremony among the Igbo people of Nigeria. During the wedding, the groom sits among a large group of his family members and friends. The bride's father begins the proceedings and gives his daughter a cup or glass of palm wine.
Russian Vodka-drinking Etiquette
If you ever find yourself traveling through Russia, then be prepared to settle in for a long drinking session if your host pulls out a bottle of Russia's favorite liquor. Not only is it customary to keep drinking until the bottle is empty, but there are also a few important rules of etiquette.
Australia's "Shouting" Tradition
If your travels ever take you to the land down under, then you may come across a drinking custom known as "shouting." Rest assured that the term refers more to a drinking tradition than the boisterous volume levels that may result. When a group of "shouters" gets together, it basically means that they take turns buying rounds.
The Origin of the Term "Toasting"
Ever wonder where the term "toasting" came from? It's believed to go all the way back to the 16th century when people used to literally put pieces of bread in wine. As it turns out, most of the wine back then wasn't quite as tasty as it is today.
Hungary's Toasting Ban
If there's one place you never want to be caught toasting or clinking glasses, it's Hungary. The country once banned the custom due to memories of an unfortunate incident in 1848. Legend has it that when the Hungarian Revolution was crushed, the victorious Austrians celebrated by toasting and clinking glasses.
Bolivian Miner Sacrifices
The use of alcohol in religious ceremonies certainly isn't a strange concept, given that Catholics around the world drink it during Mass regularly. In Bolivia, pure grain alcohol is sometimes used to appease the mountain spirit El Tio.
Korean Drinking’s Unspoken Conversations
In Korea, drinking is taken so seriously that it's often said your success in business can be measured by your success as a drinker. When attending a Korean business meeting, rest assured that no glass will ever be empty, as this is considered incredibly rude.
The Worm at the Bottom
While it's commonly believed that Mexicans sometimes put "worms" in tequila, this isn't exactly the case. The drink in question is actually mezcal, which is made from agave plants. The creature at the bottom of the bottle is really the larva of either a moth or butterfly.
The World's Worst Cocktail Garnish
If you think eating larvae sounds unappetizing, then steer clear of the Sourdough Saloon in Canada's Yukon Territory. There, you can join an elite club of drinkers by sipping alcohol with a mummified human toe in the glass.
The All-inclusive Czech Toasting Tradition
If you ever find yourself in the Czech Republic, be aware that their toasting process is no joke. Before you start sipping, be prepared to toast the health of every single person in your party, no matter how large it may be.
Avoiding Bad Bedroom Situations
Think you've got all the rules for an excellent Czech toast down? Not so fast. There are a few more incredibly important rules, and legend says that breaking them can come with the penalty of seven years of disastrous sex.
Russian Bread Sniffing
If you ever find yourself drinking vodka in the presence of a Russian, don't be alarmed if you witness a little bread-sniffing action going on. Given that Russians are basically professional vodka drinkers, they've developed a few creative drinking customs to help keep themselves from getting totally sloshed.
The Time and Place for Palinka Consumption
Palinka is a brandy-type drink that's hugely popular in Hungary. That said, it's only enjoyed under one of three particular sets of circumstances. The first allows for Palinka consumption by anyone who is willing to do it before anything else in the morning.
The Ancient Greek Glass-kissing Challenge
One fun Greek drinking tradition, which is still especially popular in Crete, goes all the way back to ancient times. When drinking with friends, every now and then someone's name will be spontaneously called out. This person must immediately finish their drink and kiss the bottom of their glass for good luck.
Every American's Favorite Drinking Game
While those of us living in the United States may be all too familiar with beer pong, it's horrifying to think that the game is still unknown in some parts of the world. In case you're unfamiliar, beer pong is basically the Olympics of drinking games.
Hands-free Dutch Drinking
In the Netherlands, you'll find a time-honored drinking tradition called "kopstootje," which literally translates into "little headbutt." It all revolves around a shot of jenever, which is the ancestor of modern gin. The jenever is poured all the way to the top of a tulip-shaped glass, making it impossible to lift without spilling any.
The Peruvian Beer Circle
In Peruvian drinking circles, it's customary for one person to buy a bottle of beer and return to the table with a single glass. The buyer pours themselves a glass of the beer and passes the bottle to the person next to them.
India’s Pouring Rules
While Indians do their fair share of drinking, social taboo still makes drinking in public frowned upon. When in the home of a friend, however, there are a few drinking customs any traveler should know about. The first is to never fill your own glass.
A Scandinavian Viking Toast
Drinkers in Scandinavia often toast each other by saying "skål" instead of "cheers." The popular toast goes all the way back to the days of the Vikings when "skål" meant "bowl," a popular Viking drink container. Some claim that the tradition may have even grislier origins.
To Toast or to Anti-toast?
The country of Georgia, not to be mistaken for the U.S. state, has a drinking tradition laced with plenty of toasting. When Georgians prepare for a serious round of drinking, they appoint a "tamada," who is basically the toastmaster.
It's All About Respect in China
As in many other Asian countries, Chinese drinking traditions are designed around the idea of showing respect, particularly to elders. The oldest people at the table always get to have their glasses filled first whenever preparing for a toast.
Water or Wine at Dinner in France
If you're a fan of getting as inebriated as you can as quickly as possible, then France may not be the destination for you. The French have a national love affair with wine and sip it slowly to relish its taste. Glasses are only filled up halfway so that the wine always has room to breathe.
Ukrainian Bridal Shoe Drinking
At Ukrainian weddings, there's always an unspoken bounty out on the bride's shoe. Tradition states that if any of the wedding guests are able to successfully capture the shoe, then they are allowed to demand one favor from the rest of the guests.
The Curious Case of Eggnog
Each year, throughout North America, an odd drink surfaces with alarming regularity. Around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, eggnog begins to appear at a vast array of holiday parties. It's basically a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, sugar and alcohol that's managed to establish itself as the perfect holiday tradition.
South Africa's Springbok Ritual
In South Africa, there's a drink called the springbok, which is named after the country's national animal. A "springbok ritual" is sometimes performed while drinking it, either as an initiation or just for fun. Consider yourself warned that it's a bit more dangerous than it sounds!
Norwegian Russefeiring Is a Party Like No Other
While you may have had a few crazy nights during your senior year of high school, they probably look like a boy scout trip compared to what Norway calls "russ." Each spring, high school seniors grab their friends, design a bus and head out on a month-long field trip where they mostly just party around the clock.
Swedish Drinking Songs
If you're a fan of karaoke, then Sweden may be the perfect vacation destination for you. There, you'll get just as toasted but will rarely find yourself in the position of being forced to sing alone. Drinking songs are still alive and well among the Swedes, who often sing them over a bottle of akvavit.
The Art of a Good Sconce
Oxford may be among the most renowned universities in the world, but its students definitely know how to relax after exams. Several traditions have arisen from the school's drinking culture, such as the art of "sconcing."
In Kazakhstan, "waste not, want not" is the name of the game when it comes to drinking. The country's national drink, kumis, is made from fermented horse milk. Though it may not sound all that appealing, the drink is so highly prized in Kazakhstan that wasting it is a major social blunder.