In parts of Asia, any sort of tattoos on your body are highly frowned upon. Up until recently, tattoos were associated with gang members and gang activities. In South Korea, it’s still illegal and highly frowned upon to have tattoos and in some public bathhouses of Japan you can’t enter if you have tattoos. While stigma around them is slowly going away, the idea that tattoos make you a gangster is still very popular.
In Norway, the majority of people don’t and have never attended church, so it’s considered weird to ask someone about what church they go to or anything about their religion. Asking someone about church is seen as invasive and rude and since many people don’t go to church anyway, it’s downright weird.
We take personal choices pretty seriously in America, but in Iran they banned certain hairstyles. The Ministry of Culture there banned decadent, Western style haircuts like the mullet, spikes, and ponytails. All of which are punishable by fines.
It can be considered poor etiquette to eat anything with your fingers unless you absolutely have to. While in some countries eating with your hands is the primary way to eat, in Chile you should really avoid doing this if possible. Forks, knives and spoons only!
Recent legislation in Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and a few other countries banned weird names. In Denmark, you have to choose from one of the 7000 pre-approved government names for your baby or get approval from a church on a different name. Names like V8 and Superman were banned but strangely names like Violence and Google were allowed. Naming restrictions are supposedly in place to prevent discrimination and bullying for kids with strange names.
While in the United States and most places in the world, chewing gum is about as blasé as breathing or putting on clothes. But, in some parts of the world it is actually illegal to chew or sell gum and we’re not talking about Disneyland. In Singapore for instance, the selling of chewing gum is completely banned. You can even be fined for trying to import gum into the country. This is because Singapore truly values the cleanliness of their streets and gum being spit onto the ground is not conducive to that.
Wish Someone an Early Birthday
In Germany, it’s widely considered bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before the actual day of their birthday. It’s bad luck to hear a birthday greeting before your actual birthday because it sort of acts like a jinx. Like, you might die before you get to your birthday because of the early birthday greeting.
In Malaysia, make sure you never touch anyone’s head, even if you mean to do it in a friendly way. Tousling someone’s head or running your fingers through someone’s is highly rude as many Malaysian people consider the head the holiest part of the body.
While it may seem archaic to us in America, the United Arab Emirates has a strict law that prevents people from living together before they get married. It’s even illegal for you to share a hotel room with your partner without a marriage certificate! Breaking this law can result in some serious prison time.