Feet have featured in some pretty bizarre traditions and practices around the world, so in today’s blog I thought I’d tell you about 4 of them – starting with an unusually gooey tradition practiced at Indonesian weddings…

You’ve got to really love your hubby in Indonesia, because according to Javanese tradition, during the wedding ceremony the bride is required to wash her husband’s feet in front of thousands of her closest relatives, family and friends. But before she does this, the groom is required to step on an uncooked egg and crush it with his bare feet…

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In Korea, the groom isn’t quite so lucky… instead of having his feet gently washed, he has them beaten – with a fish… Korean wedding tradition requires friends of the groom to tie his ankles together with rope, and then beat the soles of his feet with a small fish, or a small cane, before his first night as a married man – to ensure peak virility! It is no doubt painful, but over very quickly and is done more in fun than cruelty.

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But it’s at Indian weddings that they have the most fun! In parts of India, the groom is required to take off his shoes before approaching the wedding alter. As soon as he does this, mayhem ensues – as this is the sign for battle to begin! Everyone from the groom’s side of the family is expected to protect the shoes, while everyone from the bride’s family must try to steal them. If “team bride” succeed in their endeavour, then “team groom” has to pay ransom to get the shoes back. If you want to imagine the scene – think of an un-refereed rugby match with 300 people on each team!

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Undoubtedly the most bizarre practice of all, is the practice of Chinese foot-binding. The cruel practice of mutilating the feet of young girls was once pervasive in turn-of-the-century China, where it was seen as a sign of wealth and marriage eligibility. For a millennium – from the 10th to 20th centuries – the practice flourished and became deeply ingrained in Chinese society. Even after it was outlawed in 1912, many women continued to bind their daughters’ feet clandestinely, believing it would make them more attractive to suitors. As pre-teens (sometimes younger), girls would have their feet tightly bound with bandages. The binding would go in 2 directions – one would crush the small toes under the ball of the foot, and the other would push the heel towards the toes to create a steep arch. The tiny, dainty feet would then be kept hidden away in miniature shoes, and prospective mothers-in-law, noting the bound feet, would see the girl had suffered without complaint and would be a suitable and subservient partner to their sons.

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Happy Friday everyone, and have a wonderful weekend – from us all at Healthy Steps Podiatry!