Personally, I love learning about other cultures and the different customs and norms each culture has. I'm Asian, and I find it so funny seeing the slight surprise on some people's faces whenever I ask (force) them to remove their shoes before entering the house. My family provides house slippers specifically for guests, and if that's not hospitality, then IDK what is. So, when redditor u/AssignmentPossible25 asked the people of r/AskReddit to share a societal norm from their culture that other people would be shocked to learn, I was certainly surprised myself. Here are the most interesting and eyebrow-raising responses:
1."In Finland, we put our babies outside to sleep, even in winter and sub-zero temperatures."
2."My Catholic boss had passed. One of the younger Jewish employees was reading about the funeral arrangements and asked what the term 'viewing' meant. When I told him, he was absolutely mortified. He said, 'What do you mean the body is there in the room in an open casket?!'"
3."In most of Asia, it's pretty common to continue living with our parents even after getting married and having kids. Our parents help provide childcare during the early years, and in turn, we make sure to take care of them as they get older. This seems to be shocking to Westerners considering it appears to be commonplace to be on your own once you turn 18 over there."
4."In Israel, when the alarm sounds on Remembrance Day, the whole country stops — cars and buses pull over on the highway, and everyone stands in silence. Every year, there are videos and pictures of people being confused and astounded by what is happening, especially on the highways and roads."
5."I'm Sudanese, and let me tell you that we have tea ALL THE TIME. There's tea in the morning, tea between the morning and afternoon, tea in the afternoon, and tea at night. Sure, coffee is available, too, but there is ALWAYS tea."
6."Being naked in public is completely normal in Denmark. Nudity isn't censored on TV or even in advertisements, either."
7."Apparently, being friendly to strangers gives quite a shock to non-Americans. One of the top culture shocks non-Americans claim to have when visiting the States is how friendly and welcoming we are. Who would have thought."
8."People are always surprised that in Vietnam you can buy anything you want and as much as you want from the local pharmacy without needing a prescription."
9."I guess I'd have to say slurping while eating. In a lot of Asian cultures, particularly in Japanese culture, slurping is a sign that the meal is delicious and that you're really enjoying your food and drink. Other cultures view it as rude or as having bad manners."
10."In Spain, we greet each other by kissing on the cheeks. Whether it's a man greeting a woman, a woman greeting a woman, or a man greeting a man, we all do it — even with strangers. When it comes to our elders, we talk pretty informally with them as if they are friends. We also eat dinner later than most people, like around 10 or 11 p.m."
11."In Italy, thou shalt not drink a cappuccino after 11 a.m."
12."In Malaysia, we don't use our finger to point at a person or an object because it's considered to be impolite. Instead, we use our entire hand to refer to a thing or person."
13."Being barefoot is completely normal in New Zealand. Many children walk barefoot to school (they have shoes, they just choose not to wear them), and you'll often see barefoot people in supermarkets or fast food spots."
14."I'm Icelandic, and in our culture, babies don't get named until after they're born. It's actually taboo to ask parents about baby names they might be considering. Until the naming ceremony, which is about one or two months after birth, everyone just calls the child various nicknames."
"This is a Jewish custom as well. We name the baby a week after birth."