Europe is the second smallest continent in the world, however, culturally, one can say, they are quite vast and diverse! All the way up from Finland, down to Italy, the language, as well as cultures and traditions within these countries vary so much, one can never have experienced everything.
That said, every country has its own culture, with which comes some strange yet beautiful traditions. Here’s a list of 4 traditions you may want to experience someday:
1. Attend the Fests of Saint John in Portugal
Festa de São João do Porto (Festival of St John of Porto, in English) is one of the most important festivals in the country, held on the night of June 23 every year, for the past six centuries, in the city of Porto. On this day there’s a big party held on the streets which includes street concerts, lots of dancing, eating barbecued sardines, drinking, and jumping over flames. Now, this sounds like a fun party, but did you know that on this day there’s also a ritual for people to hit each other with garlic flowers or soft plastic hammers?
2. Eat a piece of the Giant Omelette in Southern France
Ever heard of an omelette made with thousands of eggs? Well, if not, you can surely find this in France!
In Besseires, France, the brotherhood of the Giant Omelette gathers every Easter since 1973 to prepare a giant omelette in the middle of the town square using wooden spoons that look more like oars. Thousands of people attend the festival and enjoy themselves while dancing and singing and everyone gets a portion of an omelette free!
The significance of the giant omelette lies in the Napoleon era. Legend has it that Napoleon stopped in Besseires one day where the innkeeper had prepared an omelette for his dinner and Napoleon enjoyed it so much that he had requested the innkeeper to prepare it for his whole regiment the next day!
3. Attend the La Tomatina in Spain
La Tomatina is a gigantic tomato fighting festival involving over 40 metric tonnes of tomatoes, which started on the last Wednesday of August in 1945 and happens every year (2020 & 2021 were cancelled due to the pandemic). It started in a fit of rage by a parade participant in 1945, and since then, it has turned into a yearly event of a fun food fight!
It is held in the small town of Bunol near Valencia, Bunol has a population of only 9000, due to the popularity of the festival over 50,000 people were coming to attend it, however, now the city only makes 20,000 tickets available to limit the number of tourists coming into the city.
4. Read your future from sliced apples in the Czech Republic
There’s a unique tradition or superstition in Czech that you can predict your future for the upcoming year through an apple. Once Christmas dinner is done, everyone takes an apple which must be cut from the stem down and it is said that if seeds appear in the shape of a star, then the person will find health and happiness in the new year, however, if it’s shaped like a cross then that person will find bad luck and sickness.
You can experience it all within Europe, especially when you’re freely able to hop from one country to another with your EU citizenship!
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