12 Cultural Norms Around The World That Shock Outsiders

Cultural norms differ globally, often surprising those from other cultures. This article highlights some of these startling customs.

Babies Sleeping Outside

In Denmark, it’s common to put babies outside to sleep, even in winter and sub-zero temperatures.


In Canada, saying “sorry” isn’t always an apology. Sometimes, it means “screw you” instead.

Living with Parents

"In Asia, it's typical to live with parents until marriage and even after. Grandparents offer childcare, receiving care in return later. "


In many Asian cultures, slurping while eating is a sign of enjoyment and is considered polite, while in Western culture, it’s considered rude.

Short Maternity Leave

In the USA, it’s common for women to work up until the day they give birth and then have to go back to work 2-6 weeks later, depending on the company.

No Prescription Required

In Vietnam, it’s possible to buy anything from the local pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.

Public Nudity

"In Germany, nudity isn't a big deal, with mixed gender public spaces like saunas. Nobody cares."

Fighting Over Bill

In some Asian cultures, relatives will fight over who pays the bill for the whole family when eating out.

Cheek Kissing

In Argentina, it’s common to kiss on the cheek to say hello, even with strangers and men.

Informal Respect for Elders

In Argentina, there isn’t as much respect for elders as in other cultures. People often talk informally with their grandparents and parents.

Late Dinners

In Argentina, it’s common to eat dinner late, around 10-11pm.

Insisting on Eating More

In India, overfeeding guests and packing leftovers for kin is common. Not offering food can offend people.

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