In Maharashtra, India, a tradition exists to throw newborn babies off the tops of buildings. At the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand, some people ritualistically pierce their cheeks and faces with swords and knives. How did these surprising customs come to be? From camel wrestling to cheese-rolling competitions to a tomato-throwing festival, this fascinating single-volume encyclopedia examines more than 100 customs, traditions, and rituals that may be considered strange and exotic to U.S. readers.
This work provides high school and undergraduate students with a compelling and fascinating exploration of world customs and traditions. Comprising entries by anthropologists, religious leaders, scholars, dancers, musicians, historians, and artists from almost every continent in the world, this encyclopedia provides readers a truly global and multidisciplinary perspective. The entries explore the origins of the custom, explain how it was established as a tradition, and describe how and where it is practiced. A thematic guide enables readers to look up entries by the type of tradition or custom, such as birth, coming of age, courtship and wedding, funeral, daily customs, holidays, and festivals.
- Provides a unique global perspective via content from 48 authors currently working, living, or traveling in most continents of the world
- Supplies interdisciplinary points of view by incorporating aspects of religion, food, festivals, history, social practices, funeral traditions, and grand community celebrations
- Serves to highlight distinct cultural differences while also enabling readers to discover how much people have in common and to consider how certain American traditions might seem "strange" to people from outside the United States