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18 Feb 2016

The Most Bizarre Dating Rituals From Around the World

by charlottesmith@hitched

Maybe we’re still feeling loved up because Valentine’s Day was at the weekend, but there’s something about February that just feels like romance is in the air.

In the spirit of this, we spoke to dating experts Love Habibi who have researched and found some of the most unusual dating rituals from across the globe. From making a wooden spoon for your partner to eating armpit apples (yes really), some of these customs are a real twist on the wedding traditions we are familiar with here.

Zelda West-Meads, The Daily Mail’s relationships expert, explains what all these rituals have in common: “Even though most of these dating customs are absurd, all of them are about breaking the ice and getting rid of the barriers between you and your date. It's only natural instinct. It's about communication and making it clear that you're interested."

Whether you are in the midst of wedding planning or are still in the early dating stages yourself, take a look at these six truly bizarre dating traditions which are sure to leave you both amused and scratching your head in bewilderment.


According to Love Habibi, 19th Century Austrian women would place slices of apple under their armpits at social gatherings if potential partners were present. Once they spotted someone who took their fancy, they would take the apple out and present it to the lucky fellow. If the man liked her back then he would eat the apple! We can’t imagine why this tradition died out…


In Bali, single men fight one another with thorned leaves during the island’s Usaba Sambah festival in a rather bizarre dating tradition. The sharp leaves are extremely painful and this ritual can last all day. Their performance in the fight will determine whether they attract a love interest or not.


Back in the 1600s, it was a custom for Welsh men to impress ladies with their crafting skills. They would present their potential love matches with a handmade wooden spoon - if the spoon was well received then their courtship could begin. The more intricate the design on the spoon, the better their chances of wooing their partner!


We like the sound of the rather cute ritual of ‘bundling’ that is a custom in the Netherlands. It involves young couples spending the night talking whilst wrapped up in separate blankets. This tradition is widely approved by the parents, as it is a great way for the couple to get to know each other without rushing into anything.


In Mexico, the century old tradition of whistling is used by young couples to send secret messages to each other in a special code. Many couples create their own special tunes, so that they are able to arrange a meeting without being caught by their families. 

Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad

Across parts of Africa, male beauty pageants are held where single men will take part in order to impress potential partners. Firstly the participants wear their finest clothes and adorn themselves in paint, then they will put on a dance for the audience in the hope of attracting a love match.

If you’re currently in the dating stage and are keen to move onto the next big step with your partner, then take a look at these impossibly romantic proposal stories for inspiration (or you could just make your loved one a wooden spoon!).

Charlotte X

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Published 18 Feb 2016 10:29 by charlottesmith@hitched