Unlocking the Past: 11 Bizarre Customs That Will Leave You Astonished

Embark on a fascinating journey through time as we unravel the intriguing customs that once shaped societies. In this exploration of the past, discover the profound significance of peculiar practices, from umbrella etiquette to marriage restrictions. Join us in delving into the eccentricities that defined bygone eras.

The Philosophy of Umbrellas:

In the late 19th century, British writer Robert Louis Stevenson provided a unique perspective on the importance of umbrella etiquette. Beyond mere protection from the rain, uncover the beliefs that linked the color and fabric of these everyday items to the social status and character of their owners. Stevenson’s observations shed light on a society where even the choice of an umbrella reflected one’s identity.

Time-Limited Conversations:

Transport yourself back to the refined manners of the Victorian era, where even casual conversations adhered to strict time limits. Explore the intricacies of social etiquette, where brief greetings on the street were the norm, and designated areas, such as parks, served as spaces for more extended discussions. Immerse yourself in the cultural nuances that governed social interactions during this elegant period.

Midday Marriage Restrictions:

Uncover the peculiar Victorian-era law that prohibited couples from getting married after mid-day. Delve into historical records to understand the origins of this unique social norm and the impact it had on matrimonial ceremonies. While the reasons behind this midday restriction remain unclear, it stood as a widely accepted practice, influencing the way people approached marriage during that time.

Raw Meat as Cosmetics:

Step into the beauty routines of the Victorian era, where raw meat was considered a cosmetic marvel. Embark on a journey through historical beauty practices, exploring the belief that placing raw flesh on one’s face overnight would impart a youthful essence. Examine the societal ideals of beauty that led to such unconventional rituals and the evolution of beauty standards over time.

Dress-Lifting Etiquette:

Delve deeper into the strict rules that governed a woman’s behavior in the Victorian era. Learn why lifting a dress with both hands while crossing the road was considered vulgar, and how it could only be justified under specific circumstances. Gain insights into the societal expectations placed on women and the significance of modesty in an era defined by its rigid social norms.

Restricted Parent-Child Interaction:

Explore the advice given to parents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, discouraging excessive affection and play with their children. Delve into historical parenting literature to understand the cultural attitudes towards parent-child relationships during this period. Witness the stark contrast to contemporary parenting norms and reflect on the evolving perceptions of familial bonds throughout history.

Salt and Pepper Etiquette:

In the early 20th century, delve into the unusual custom of serving salt and pepper together at meals. Uncover the social significance attached to this seemingly mundane practice and the etiquette surrounding table manners. Explore how failure to adhere to this rule was seen as disrespectful and a breach of good manners, reflecting the meticulous attention paid to even the smallest details in social settings.

Smiling During Phone Calls:

Transport yourself to the 1940s, an era when phone calls were still a technological marvel. Learn about the etiquette surrounding phone conversations, where it was considered polite to smile and speak clearly, even though the other party couldn’t see you. Dive into the historical context of early telecommunications and the societal expectations that shaped interpersonal communication during this transformative period.

No Reading or Talking on Trains:

Contrast the modern train experience with Victorian-era advice that discouraged reading and speaking on trains. Explore the reasoning behind these recommendations, considering the perspectives of visually impaired and unwell travelers. Gain insights into the evolving norms of public behavior and transportation etiquette, drawing parallels to contemporary travel experiences.

Lengthy Shoes as Status Symbols:

Dive deeper into the medieval European elite’s fashion choices, particularly the trend of long, pointy shoes known as “poulaines.” Explore how the length of these shoes symbolized the wearer’s social status and delve into the cultural influences that drove such extravagant fashion statements. Uncover the societal dynamics that led to the prominence of these unique footwear choices and their eventual decline.

Phenotype-Based Spousal Selection:

Explore further the unusual Victorian-era approach to choosing life partners based on physical attributes. Uncover how individuals were recommended to marry based on features like hair color, body size, and temperament. Examine the societal ideals that influenced such phenotype-based spousal selection and the impact it had on relationships and family dynamics during this period of history.


These weird and wonderful customs from the past offer a captivating glimpse into the cultural norms that once defined society. While some may seem absurd today, they provide invaluable insight into the values and behaviors of bygone eras. Join us on this extensive journey through history as we unravel the mysteries of the past, exploring the profound impact of these customs on the fabric of society. By understanding the peculiarities of our ancestors, we gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of human history and the continuous evolution of societal norms.

January 10, 2024 | 6:38 pm