Editor’s note: This blog post was last updated on by
Although Australia has its fair share of weird laws (for instance, possessing of more than 50 kilogrammes of potatoes in the west will land you in prison), across the globe, you’ll often find the most innocent, unassuming things have been outlawed.
Some parts of your everyday routine are, in fact, illegal in some parts of the world — many of which will confound, confuse, and amuse in equal measure. We’ve compiled this list of ten strange rules and weird laws from around the world. Just be thankful they don’t apply to your neck of the woods!
Chewing gum in Singapore
Banned since 1992, there are many reasons why the sale and, well, consumption of certain chewing gum is prohibited in Singapore. Legislators wanted to put an end to the sticky situations created by vandals disposing of their used gum in mailboxes, inside keyholes, and on lift buttons. The cost of cleaning gum off of pavements as well on the seats on public busses was also becoming too much for some.
Although some types of gum are allowed, such as for dental health or nicotine gum, these have to be prescribed by a doctor, and the ban on other types still stands. The fine for spitting chewing gum out on the streets also comes in at a pretty hefty fine of $700, too.
Giving you baby an unconventional name in Denmark
Think of all the strange names celebrities have conjured up for their kids over the years: Apple Martin, Brooklyn Beckham, all of Frank Zappa’s offspring. In Denmark, they’d probably have to consult the country’s official child naming guidelines: a list of 7,000 approved monikers for prospective parents to choose from. Otherwise, they’d have to be granted government approval.
Lawmakers say it’s to protect children in Denmark. Since they can’t name themselves and can sometimes be given silly, over-the-top names, the law ensures youngsters won’t be ridiculed thanks to poor judgment on the part of the parents.
Whistling in Canada
If you enjoy a bit of carefree whistling while going about your day, just make sure you’re not doing it between 11 pm and 7 am if you’re in Petrolia, Ontario. According to the town’s website, “yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, or singing is prohibited at all times”.
Though no longer in effect, the town used to have a noise pollution problem caused by house parties, and so, the introduction of these weird laws was there to put a stop to it.
Elements of it do remain, however: If you’re yelling, shouting or, yes, whistling, “for the purposes of selling or advertising”, then be prepared to pay a $250 fine.
Sandcastles are banned in Eraclea, Italy
In this coastal city near Venice, the fun police drew a line in the sand by outlawing the building of sandcastles on their beaches. All other frolicking is allowed though, but if you’re looking to construct some sunny day real estate, then your hopes will be dashed and your castle trashed.
According to the law, it “obstructs the passage” — part of a string of weird laws mayors put into place to enhance ‘public decorum’.
Scots must not wear underwear under their kilts
The old chestnut goes that a true Scotsman wears nothing under his kilt. But did you know there’s an actual law that forbids those donning kilts from wearing anything underneath that would cover their manhood?
The fine? Two cans of beer! Doesn’t sound like much of a punishment to us, but it does raise the question: Whose job is it to go around enforcing this law?
Samoan Men: Don’t forget your wife’s birthday
For any unfortunate man who’s felt the shame and subsequent ire of forgetting his wife’s birthday, here’s a Samoan law that’ll help them remember the following year. They don’t have to give their wives a present or celebrate it, but foregoing mentioning it’s a day of significance? That’s apparently a crime.
Beware the durian in Southeast Asia
Heralded as ‘the king of fruits’ but more often deemed the world’s smelliest fruit, opinions on the durian are split. Alternately described as smelling like rotten onions and sweet almonds, perhaps the best description is from novelist Anthony Burgess: “Eating it is like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory.”
Either way, Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, know its smell all too well, so they have a law in place banning the fruit from busses, trains, and schools.
The Japanese should watch their weight
Though it’s not technically a crime, nor is it illegal, the ‘metabo law’, introduced in April 2008, is there to keep citizens of a certain age trim, slim, and healthy.
Men with waists measuring more than 85 centimetres or women with waists measuring 90 centimetres are deemed to be ‘at risk’ and are directed to counselling, monitoring, and motivational support.
Although there’s no punishment, those deemed at risk have reported being embarrassed by the law. Some workplaces even offer free gym memberships and special diet plans to help their employers reach their goals.
Chickens can’t cross the road in Georgia
Residents of Quitman, Georgia looking to answer the age-old question or joke (depending on your sense of humour) of why did the chicken cross the road may be in danger of breaking a very silly statute the town still enforces. No word on whether other farmyard animals must refrain from venturing to the other side of roads though; chickens must be pretty sacred.
We hope this journey into the weird and wonderful of the world has inspired you to go travelling. Head over to our dedicated cruise deals page and get planning your next trip, or give our friendly team of cruise experts a call on 1300 857 345.