Quiz: Do You Know the History of These Common Customs?
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Do You Know the History of These Common Customs?
By: John Miller
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

For thousands of years, we humans have cultivated a vast array of habits that guide our social norms. These customs give us a foundation for daily life and in special times of celebration, grieving, and accomplishment. Do you really know anything about the history of customs around the world?

Some customs are so common we hardly even think about them. In the United States, for example, people often greet each other with handshakes. In Europe, however, cheek kissing is a preferred greeting. Do you understand why these societies developed these particular habits?

Religion, of course, dictates many of our routines. In many countries, women must cover themselves head to toe in special garments. Yet in the West, this practice is almost unheard-of. Do you recall just why that might be?

On Christmas Eve, American kids leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus. And on Easter Morning, children wake up with expected gifts from a magical bunny. On Halloween, they don scary (or funny) costumes and stalk the night for treats. All of these traditions have some root in history.

Take our common customs quiz now and see if you know why we humans do these strange and silly things. Maybe you’ll know exactly how the high-five greeting came to be, or maybe you’ll be crushed in the running of the bulls!

2.0 of 30
Weddings typically include a best man. Why?
4.0 of 30
Why should you avoid picking your nose in America?
5.0 of 30
Spain's famous running of the bulls started due to what tradition?
6.0 of 30
In Greece, why is there a history of spitting in the direction of the bride on her wedding day?
7.0 of 30
What's the purpose of Russia's Day of Conception?
8.0 of 30
In South Korea, you should avoid writing someone's name in _____.
9.0 of 30
10.0 of 30
Where did the common "pinky swear" come from?
11.0 of 30
In many Arab and Buddhist countries, it's rude to show the bottoms of your feet. Why?
13.0 of 30
If you try to tip a server in Japan, how might you be perceived?
14.0 of 30
What's one reason the Japanese noisily slurp their noodles?
15.0 of 30
The candles on a birthday cake are probably meant to help the cake symbolize what?
17.0 of 30
What's one reason that many Muslim women wear hijabs over their heads?
19.0 of 30
Why do Spanish people leap over babies during a Baby Jumping festival?
20.0 of 30
In Greece, parents take their children's baby teeth and throw them onto the roof. Why?
21.0 of 30
Before the "high-five," there was the ______.
22.0 of 30
Why does Thailand hold an annual Monkey Buffet Festival, in which they treat local monkeys to a lavish buffet?
23.0 of 30
In Brazil, why do young men in the Satare Mawe tribe put their hands in a basket filled with bullet ants, which have a terribly painful sting?
24.0 of 30
In the Middle Ages, parents often burned their children's baby teeth. Why?
25.0 of 30
In some parts of China, brides purposely _____ for about a month before their wedding.
26.0 of 30
In Germany's Polterabend custom, families gather to break ______ before a wedding.
27.0 of 30
In some countries, women's bodies are adorned with henna before a wedding. Why?
28.0 of 30
In Japan, warriors adhere to the ritual of seppuku, which is what?
29.0 of 30
Where did the practice of "flipping the bird" originate?
30.0 of 30
On Witches Night in the Czech Republic, people have huge bonfires. Why?
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