C is for Culture–Pulling from Real Life for the Fictional

Anthropologists have done their best to study almost every culture on the planet. Some have done a better job than others but the fact of the matter is that, with the advent of the Internet, information on other cultures is out there, you merely have to look.

A few of the cultural traits that I remember the most clearly from school:

In the Republic of Zambia, it is customary for a greeting to take several minutes as the two people inquire about the weather, families, farms, etc. and deviating from this greeting is often considered extremely rude.

Ancient Nubians used to bury themselves in the style of their Egyptian neighbors (after they were conquered by the Egyptians) in order to give themselves a higher status in the afterlife.

Co-sleeping (mother and baby/family sleeping in the same bed) is so common outside the U.S. that Westerners are a minority in their separation-sleeping practices.

In some cultures, children are taught to use sharp blades (including machetes) at a very young age.

In some African hunter-gatherer tribes, drawing attention to your contribution to the group  is seen as bragging and the common response is to constantly deny the value of the item until the bragger comes around.

People who grow up without shoes have enormous feet (not really cultural, still cool)

One of the most fun research topics is the festivals that can be found around the world. 🙂

What are some interesting cultural traits that you’ve learned or you practice? Leave a comment below!

 

Author: JA Goodsell

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is ANATHEMA, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @JAGoodsell or Instagram at books_and_dogs

6 thoughts

  1. Reminded me of something I watched yesterday – where a lovely man belonging to a tribe in Papua New Guinea considers it an honour to carry around his dead grandfather’s leg bone – almost made me wish I wrote crime fiction!

    Liked by 2 people

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