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Family Traditions Around The World

As International Day of Families comes around on 15 May, we take a look at some fascinating and quirky family traditions from around the world.

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The International Day of Families is a UN day to reflect on the importance of family, regardless of where we come from in the world. As a family-run hotel, we know the value of family time. What’s more, social scientists say family traditions are now more important than ever before. Promoting feelings of identity, closeness and security, actively nurturing family bonds is vital to keeping families connected in such a fast-paced, ever-changing society.

Here are some of the fascinating family traditions we’ve discovered from around the world to help inspire your own family’s precious time spent together.

100-day celebrations

In China, a celebration is widely held when a baby is 100 days old and is one of the most important moments in a child’s life. Marking a baby’s first 100 days represents a wish that the child will live to 100 years old. Friends and relatives get together and give the baby gifts, ranging from bracelets to hand-made shoes depicting a tiger’s head, which signifies the hope the child will become as strong and robust as a tiger.

Happy 59th birthday!

For adults in some regions of China, a ‘big birthday’ isn’t always considered to be a 50th, 60th, 70th or other round number. Since the number nine represents longevity in China, ‘big’ birthdays are often celebrated a year early for better luck. So, if you know someone turning 59, 69 or 79 soon – it might just be time for a party!

Naming day

As well as celebrating a person’s birthday, Greek families also celebrate the day of the saint that bears the same name as an individual. Marking an additional day in the year to treat a family member with some extra TLC, naming days are yet another excuse for families to get together.


Tooth roof fairy

In western culture, children place their baby teeth under the pillow for the tooth fairy to exchange for money. In Greece, Korea and Vietnam however, children’s teeth are thrown on the roof for good luck instead. As the tooth is thrown, the child is supposed to wish for the tooth to become that of a mouse, since rodent teeth continue growing throughout their lives!


Many couples host a rehearsal dinner the evening before their wedding – a relaxed occasion to enjoy with family and friends before the big day. In Germany, Polterabend is a traditional wedding custom that takes place instead. Family and friends travel to the bride’s house – or to the house of her parents – with the sole purpose of smashing up a number of porcelain objects. The couple then have to clear up all the shards of porcelain, teaching them a lesson that they must work together through thick and thin throughout their marriage.

Family celebrations at The Runnymede

Although family celebrations at The Runnymede on Thames don’t usually involve smashing plates or 59th birthday celebrations, we’re an open-minded bunch! Whether it’s a family Sunday lunch, afternoon tea or something altogether more obscure, let us know and we’ll get our creative juices flowing to make the occasion just right for your family.

Our experienced Events Team are here to help, please call us on: 01784 220981 with your Family Celebration enquiry

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