Laws and Customs Trivia
Subcategories: | Strange Rules and Laws
Up until 1623 in England, criminals could escape their pursuers by claiming sanctuary in a church by grasping the ring of the door knocker called a Hagoday.
Orthodox Judaism continues to forbid the practice of cremation.
In North Dakota, it is legal to shoot an Indian on horseback, provided you are in a covered wagon.
Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine are the four states in the United States that do not allow billboards.
Ostrich farmers must pay for inspection services, which start at $38 per hour. Congressional legislation is in the works that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for inspection of ostrich meat, just as it now covers inspections for beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and other processed meats.
In old Japanese theaters, salt was sprinkled on to the stage before each performance to prevent evil spirits from casting a spell on the actors and ruining the play.
Visitors to Japan should know that August 13 through 16 is a Buddhist event called o-bon in Japan, one of the most important traditions for the Japanese people. It is the period of praying for the peace of the souls of ancestors. The Japanese believe that their ancestors' spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during o-bon. People clean their houses and offer a variety of food such as vegetables and fruits to the spirits of ancestors in front of a butsudan (Buddhist families altar). The butsudan is decorated with flowers and chouchin (paper lanterns). On the 13th, the chouchins are lit inside homes, and people go to their family's ohaka (graves) to call their ancestors' spirits back home.
Oxford University requires all members upon admission to the Bodleian Library to read aloud a pledge that includes an agreement to not "kindle therein any fire or flame." Regulations also prohibit readers bringing sheep into the library.
In olden days in the British Isles, a green wedding dress was thought to be unlucky unless the bride was Irish. The antiquated expression that a woman had a "green gown" implied promiscuity; the green staining of her clothing was the result of rolling about in grassy fields with a lover.
Pennsylvania law mandates that all counties provide veterans' graves each year with a flag, most of which are distributed before Memorial Day.
In Pacific Grove, California, it's a misdemeanor to kill a butterfly.
Philadelphia is a city of big tippers, 18.6% of the bill minus tax is the normal amount given. Second place in the tip wars goes to New York City with 18.3%. The lowest tipping city is Seattle, Washington, where the average tip is 17.1%.
In Pakistan, it is rude to show the soles of your feet or point a foot when you are sitting on the floor.
In Pennsylvania, Ministers are forbidden from performing marriages when either the bride or groom is drunk.
In 1670, the Massachusetts Bay Colony ruled that the profits from "basse" fishing be used to build a school that was free for all to attend. This striped bass fishery built the first public school in the New World.
In 17th-century Massachusetts, smoking was legal only at a distance of five miles from any town.
In 1803, Marbury v. Madison was the first instance in which a law passed by the U.S. Congress was declared unconstitutional. The decision greatly expanded the power of the Court by establishing its right to overturn acts of Congress, a power not explicitly granted by the Constitution.
In 1838, the city of Los Angeles passed an ordinance requiring that a man obtain a license before serenading a woman.
In 1845, Boston had an ordinance banning bathing unless you had a doctor's prescription.
In 1860, the first pure food and drug act became law in Great Britain.
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