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Fantasy Writers

Cultural quirks for Worldbuilding

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #126380
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    Hi everyone!

    I love reading and learning about the strange little cultural things that happen sometimes, and I thought y’all might think it’s helpful too 😉

    It might be cool to post some of the odd cultural taboos and traditions that you’ve encountered to use in worldbuilding.

    One of the oddest things I’ve ever noticed is how Dutch people always have two silver flower pots in each window that faces the street. They almost always have pink orchids in them, though this differs a bit. It’s weirdly universal, and I’ve noticed it everywhere. Also, they have no idea they all do it. It isn’t a tradition or anything, it just happens XD

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #126381
    Elisha Starquill
    @elisha-starquill

    @rose-colored-fancy – Ooh I love learning about little cultural quirks! It’s so fascinating and equally fun to put them in my own worlds. That’s so funny about the flowers! XD

    Recently I was watching a documentary about Greece, and on one island they whitewash all their houses so it’s not as hot, but the doorways are all different colors, so everyone knows which house is theirs. 😛 It looks really beautiful.

    Also, in Vietnam you always take off your shoes before going in someone’s house, and wear sandals or flip-flops instead. They usually have several spares lined up just inside the door for visitors. And a lot of times, when talking about a meal, you don’t say “Let’s eat dinner” or something. It literally translates to “Let’s eat rice” because, chances are, there’s going to be some form of rice in the meal. 😛

    I did have another example but it escapes my mind right now. XD

    Cool topic!

    INFJ ➳ Trinstamentalist ➳ Thalassophile ➳ Chocolate Hater ➳ Daughter of God

    #126418
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @elisha-starquill

    Oooh, those are awesome!

    Here’s another:

    In the Dutch rural areas, you shouldn’t knock before entering, and you don’t use the front door. You should find the back door and just walk in, preferably calling something along the lines of “Folk!” or “Hello?”.

    It isn’t very strict, but some people will look at you like you grew a second head if you knock. I have no idea what the cultural meaning behind this is, it’s just a thing XD

     

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #126423
    Lona
    @lonathecat

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Ah this is a great idea! Cultural quirks are so interesting and fun. 🙂

    In rural Mexico, when two people get married part of the ceremony is the handing over of the money box to the bride. They think the woman is more trustworthy, so the groom gets to earn the money, but the bride gets to manage it.

    Another rural Mexico one; a friend may walk over to your house at any given time, and you are expected to drop what you are doing, give them a coke (very important part haha), and talk with them for at least an hour.

    Also, Rose, I wonder if your thought on entering Dutch houses applies to other Western European countries as well? It would explain some of my German friend’s behavior. 😛

    #126425
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @lonathecat

    Also, Rose, I wonder if your thought on entering Dutch houses applies to other Western European countries as well? It would explain some of my German friend’s behavior.

    I’m not positive, but I’d say yes! It could totally apply, especially since Dutch and German cultures are pretty close!

    In rural Mexico, when two people get married part of the ceremony is the handing over of the money box to the bride. They think the woman is more trustworthy, so the groom gets to earn the money, but the bride gets to manage it.

    That’s so cool! The Vikings believed a similar thing!

    It reminds me that there’s a traditional Amazigh (Berber) wedding custom that the bride’s dowry is a gold belt.

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #126437
    Lona
    @lonathecat

    @rose-colored-fancy

    I’m not positive, but I’d say yes! It could totally apply, especially since Dutch and German cultures are pretty close!

    Well, thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

    It reminds me that there’s a traditional Amazigh (Berber) wedding custom that the bride’s dowry is a gold belt.

    I didn’t know that. That’s such a cool type of dowry!

    #126440
    Zee
    @zee

    Interesting topic!

    In traditional Persian culture, people sit on the floor, but it’s not polite to stretch your legs out or point the bottoms of your feet at someone. It is polite to always offer tea and snacks, even if you know the guest isn’t going to stay…

    Babies get bundled up so tightly like little cocoons (for warmth and safety) you can practically toss them in the air without hurting them…

    You great someone by kissing, but not actually kissing–just touching cheeks and making a kissing sound…

    If you’re invited for a meal, it will be practically impossible to convince the hostess that you’re full…

    When a person dies, he or she must be buried as soon as possible (within 24 hours.) No time for assembling distant relatives or elaborate funeral plans…

    At a wedding, men dance with each other, and women dance with each other (separately.) The bride and groom sit together on the women’s side of the party…

     

     

    #126451
    sparrowhawke
    @sparrowhawke

    In Korea, you usually do not look someone in the eye when speaking to them as that is considered very rude, whereas in America it is considered very rude to not look someone in the eye when speaking to them. It is also customary to refuse a gift several times out of politeness. Koreans also tend to give gifts more frequently than Americans, although they tend to be not that expensive. They also do not have as strong a sense of personal space as Americans. (I think many other cultures do not have as strong a sense of personal space as Americans XD)

    And in ancient Rome, pants and beards were considered barbaric XD

    Semper ubi sub ubi.

    #126487
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @sparrowhawke

    In Korea, you usually do not look someone in the eye when speaking to them as that is considered very rude

    Lol, I think I’d do better in Korea. I hate direct eye contact XD

    In Egypt it is considered rude to put more salt on your food.

    And, in Venezuela you’re looked down upon if you’re on time to anything. It’s traditional to drive to anything 15 minutes late. If you are on time, people think of you as eager and greedy.

    #126544
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @zee

    You great someone by kissing, but not actually kissing–just touching cheeks and making a kissing sound…

    Oh, the Dutch do that too! But it’s kind of a regional thing, mostly in the west and the south. It’s usually three kisses, right, left, right. Also, you don’t do it if you just meet someone, you have to know them pretty well before you do that.


    @sparrowhawke

    They also do not have as strong a sense of personal space as Americans. (I think many other cultures do not have as strong a sense of personal space as Americans XD)

    LOL, I think the Dutch are pretty close XD You very seldom hug someone when greeting them, you have to know them really well before you do that. Whenever I meet Americans it’s always like “Hugs? I’ve only known you a year.” XD No, that’s actually an exaggeration, but it feels like that.

    In the Netherlands, they have a shocking variety of licorice. There’s basically every combination of hard, soft, sweet, salty, and other flavors. Yes, salty candy. It’s an acquired taste, and most Americans hate it the first time XD In the supermarket, half of the candy aisle is licorice.

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #126583
    sparrowhawke
    @sparrowhawke

    @rose-colored-fancy

    In the Netherlands, they have a shocking variety of licorice. There’s basically every combination of hard, soft, sweet, salty, and other flavors. Yes, salty candy. It’s an acquired taste, and most Americans hate it the first time XD In the supermarket, half of the candy aisle is licorice.

    Koreans seemed to have a fascination with Spam. My mom said there were all different kinds of Spam and even Spam gift baskets in the stores.

    I’d take licorice over Spam, thank you very much XD

    Semper ubi sub ubi.

    #128046
    Kylie S. Pierce
    @kylie-wingfeather

    You greet someone by kissing, but not actually kissing–just touching cheeks and making a kissing sound…

     

    Oh, the Dutch do that too! But it’s kind of a regional thing, mostly in the west and the south. It’s usually three kisses, right, left, right. Also, you don’t do it if you just meet someone, you have to know them pretty well before you do that.

    The French do that as well! (I’m not from France, but I got to go there a couple of years ago, plus my family–including myself–really enjoy the culture) But still, I think it’s only when you know them well.

    In Ireland people are apparently almost always late. It’s not part of the culture really, it just happens!

    "Bha e fhathast. Agus bha e air a ghràdh." -Am Maor agus an Rìgh Wolf

    #128109
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @kylie-wingfeather

    The French do that as well! (I’m not from France, but I got to go there a couple of years ago, plus my family–including myself–really enjoy the culture) But still, I think it’s only when you know them well.

    That’s really cool! I think it’s a general European thing, as far as I remember, the Germans do it too.

    In South Africa, you call everyone older than you ‘Aunt’ or ‘Uncle’ even if you’re not related at all. It’s a respect thing like Americans would use ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’, I guess.

    Another respect thing is that when you’re being especially respectful, you can’t call someone ‘you’, you have to speak in third person. So you’d say: “Aunt, could Aunt hand me that?”

    In Dutch, you don’t do this at all. But, you do have a respectful ‘you’ and a casual ‘you’. That would be ‘u’ and ‘jij’, respectively. The tricky thing is when to use which, which is usually just trial and error. Many people don’t like it when you call them ‘u’, because they say it makes them feel old XD

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #128199
    Zee
    @zee

    @rose-colored-fancy, that’s very interesting. There’s a formal “you” and a casual “you” in Persian, too…the formal “you” is just the plural form of the pronoun.

    Actually I think it’s maybe more like “more intimate” vs. “less intimate” because kids generally address their parents with the casual “you”…and then have to be trained to use the formal “you” for other adults.

    #128257
    Crystal
    @dacelo

    Many people don’t like it when you call them ‘u’, because they say it makes them feel old XD

    That reminds me of how things are here in the Southern US. It really makes you feel old to be called “Ma’am,” but that’s what you grow up getting drilled into you to say.

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