Ridiculous And Surprising Things That Are Banned Around The World

All bans are intended for the well-being of the public, but what that actually means can vary from culture to culture. For example, in America Valentine’s Day seems like a business initiative at worse, but some other countries feel strongly enough about the concept to outlaw celebrating it.

While each culture has their unique take on what might be considered offensive, it’s surprising to find out that even Winnie The Pooh is being scrutinized. Here’s a list of bans that may leave you clapping your hands or pounding your head into the wall.

You Might Want A Carwash Subscription If You Move Here

Two people ride in a car that is covered in dirt.
Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images
Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images

Depending on where you leave, maintaining a spot-free car can be challenging. In order to ensure that the grime stays at a minimum, Moscow, Russia passed a law that allows drivers to be fined for their unkempt cars. While the law was supposedly enacted in order to prevent license plate numbers from becoming illegible, BBC News reported that some motorists feel there may be some undermining going on.

Drivers fear being taken advantage of by officers who are really looking for a bribe. However, after a -20-degree winter, some cars can look like they just came out of a junkyard.

Celebrities With Unique Child Names Probably Shouldn’t Give Birth Here

A newborn baby lays on a woman's chest covered in a pink blanket.
Gavriil GrigorovTASS via Getty Images
Gavriil GrigorovTASS via Getty Images

Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple? Or when Kim Kardashian had the brilliant idea to name her kid North West? Whether you filed the name away in your future plans notebook or shook your head in shock, the point is that they can name their children whatever they want. In Denmark, this isn’t so.

Brendan Killeen told the Irish Times that he went to the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs in Denmark to inquire why the law is active. Aside from further ingraining gender rules, the rule is also in place so that the child’s name will not be a “disadvantage” to them.

Baby Walkers Might Not Be As Innocent As They Look

A female toddler looks at the camera while sitting in her babywalker
AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP/Getty Images
AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP/Getty Images

According to the Huffington Post, retailers in Canada face up to $100,000 in fines and 6 months in jail for advertising or selling baby walkers. Data from Health Canada reported 1,900 injuries related to the walking devices from 1990 to 2002. While the recorded accidents– like touching something hot or dangerous, or falling over– are typically parents’ biggest concern, Canada isn’t taking any risks.

It’s the first country to have such a law against the baby walkers. Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene says that baby walkers actually can delay mental and motor development.

These Boots Were Made For Walkin’, But Not In Greece

A woman's feet are photographed as she struts on wooden floors in glossy black heels.
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

NPR confirmed in 2009 that heels have been banned by Greece, but only at ancient greek sites. This is because the pointed tip can damage the old monuments. While it may seem like an obvious requirement, many theatrical and operatic performances are held at these ancient sites. For tourists out on the town, heels can seem like the most appropriate choice.

In addition to prohibiting heels, visitors also may not bring in food or drink– pretty normal– nor may they be drunk. So if you’re going to ancient Greece, be sure you can hold your liquor and leave the heels behind.

You’ve Never Been Slapped In The Face Like This Before

A fisherman holds onto an eel he caught in his net.
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

The name of the game is “conger cuddling,” and it’s famous in Lyme Regis, England. Competitors try to knock one another off of wooden blocks using only one thing: a dead conger eel attached to a rope. The bizarre game raised money for the Lyme Regis lifeboat, and it attracts thousands of people who raise money for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution.)

After angry animals rights activists called the game cruel, the RNLI had to ban it. The inventor of the game, Richard Fox, calls the ban “ludicrous,” arguing to the Guardian that the eels are caught accidentally by fishermen all the time. Regardless, the game players now use a rubber mooring buoy.

If You Want To Gossip, Go Ahead And Leave This City

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marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Chicago Tribune reported that the mayor of Icononzo, Columbia, Jorge Garcia Orjuela, has banned gossip. Lawmakers took the phrase “think before you speak” very seriously. So seriously that if you break this law, it can result in punishment as harsh as four years in jail.

In America, slander laws can result in lawsuits. However, it isn’t often that we see someone head to prison for badmouthing. Columbians in this city sure must miss the days of just getting a soap bar in the mouth.

This Law Was Actually Made For Health Purposes

A soccer player is photographed with split flying out of his mouth
Torsten Silz/picture alliance via Getty Images
Torsten Silz/picture alliance via Getty Images

When the swine flu hit back in 2009, French mayor Christophe Rouillon prohibited spitting. The ban affected Le Mans, a small town in Northern France. We all know that athletes can have a tendency to spit. And to be fair, heavy exercise can result in a lot of extra mucus in the mouth.

However, Rouillon wanted to put an end to this. He wrote a letter to the French head of European football’s UEFA, demanding that players get a yellow care for a spitting incident, and a red card if they keep it up.

Banned. James Banned.

A drawing from 1884 illustrates the extravaganct Monte Carlo Casino
A Della Valle/ Getty Images
A Della Valle/ Getty Images

Way back in 1863, Prince Charles III opened the luxurious Casino de Monte-Carlo. For anyone who has seen James Bond, you know that part of his massive swag came from this casino. What you may not have known is that locals were banned from the casino the moment it opened and have been ever since.

The logic behind such a ban is that a truly successful casino will rob most of its customers, to some degree at least. According to Monaco by David King, the prince didn’t want his residents to suffer the pitfalls of gambling.

These Countries Don’t Support The Lover’s Holiday

A male florist sells a bouquet of flowers and Valentine's Day items
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

In America, Valentine’s Day is innocent enough that children exchange Valentines inside the classroom. However, some cultures have felt its seeds are rooted in much larger ideals that contradict their beliefs. Most recently, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have banned any celebration of this holiday, believing that it is against Islamic teachings.

However, Muslim-majority countries aren’t the only ones upset by the holiday. In India, an extremist Hindu organization has asked youth to stay away from the holiday. CNBC reports, “The activists of this organization [Bajrang Dal] have said that they would get young people married if caught celebrating Valentine’s Day.”

Denim Is Beyond Out Of Style For This Country

A man sits in a room full of graffiti wearing demin pants and a denim jacket.
John Lamparski/Getty Images
John Lamparski/Getty Images

According to National Geographic, North Korea views denim as a symbol of the United States, their enemy. Hence, wearing jeans is a crime. While North Korea upholds a rather fascinating way of existing, giving so much attention to America may be the most intriguing of all. In such an environment, you’d expect something more scandalous that regular old denim.

The ban symbolizes a commitment. Where some bans have literal reasoning, this one is entirely theoretical. If you never thought of denim as an American staple, now you might.

This Country Will Not Be Unwinding With A Cold One

A man holds up a
STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images
STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images

In 1995, the Indian Ministry of Health found that alcohol and cigarettes have adverse effects on a person’s health. Additionally, they can be particularly harmful to one’s mental health. As such, the Cable Television Network Amendment Bill came into effect in India in 2000.

Liquor brands find their way around this by advertising everything they sell but their liquor, like club sodas, for instance. This way, their name still gets into the head of consumers so that when they do shop for alcohol, they might reach for the one name that seems familiar. The sneaky move isn’t surprising considering that India is the third-largest liquor market in the world.

If You Pop That Gum One More Time

A basketball player blows a bubble with gum
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Gum gets stuck everywhere, and in a city that prides itself on its cleanliness, that can be a walking nightmare. Therefore, a ban was enacted in 1992 banning the sale and importation of chewing gum. In 2004 the ban was amended, so that now gum chewers can enjoy gum for therapeutic, dental, or nicotine-addiction related reasons.

While it seems that these amendments might make it possible for anyone to pop their gum, people of Singapore actually have to get the gum from a doctor or registered pharmacist. Anyone with that level of commitment deserves a stick of gum.

Poland Is Not A Fan Of Pooh

A Winnie The Pooh impersonater poses on the boardwalk.
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Independent wrote in 2014 that Winnie the Pooh was banned from the Polish playground due to his “inappropriate dress.” The conversation began at a town meeting in Tuszyn where locals sought to decide if the bear should be the face of a play area.

Clearly, the conversation flipped to the other side and then escalated quickly. Attendees were outraged that the bear has no pants, and thus no given gender. Apparently these folks never dressed a doll before.

Hairstyles Say A Lot According To This Country

An actor and musician holds an award sporting a tuxedo and a man-bun.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images for NBCUniversal
Angela Weiss/Getty Images for NBCUniversal

Iran issued a style guide for men’s hair in an attempt to rid the country of Western hairstyles. Popular American picks like ponytails, spiked hair, and mullets were omitted from the list. Jaleh Khodayar who headed a festival in promotion of the guide told the Telegraph that, “The proposed styles are inspired by Iranians’ complexion, culture and religion, and Islamic law.”

Iranian officials have since gone as far as to shut down barbershops that did not adhere to these guidelines.

At Least You Won’t Have To Worry About Hearing A Song You Hate At Your Wedding

A colorful wedding party poses midair as they jump for a photo.
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

BBC News reported that the Turkmen President Sapamurat Niyazov banned playing recorded music. This seems counterintuitive considering the fact the music is recorded for the purpose of being replayed. However, the ban is limited to just public events, television, and weddings.

The president expressed his desire to keep the public committed to the musical traditions of Turkish people. Opera and ballet were banned outright. Niyazov seeks to encourage Turkish people to create their own culture. Not everyone might feel so confidently about singing at their own wedding.

Say Goodbye To Office Donuts

A man's large gut is exposed under his shirt as someone measures his waist
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Japan enacted a rule that most Americans would probably go into cardiac arrest over on the spot. A state-prescribed limit for male waistlines was put into effect that prohibits workers from exceeding a 33.5-inch waist. The national law states that Japanese people between 40 and 74 years old must be measured as a part of their yearly checkup, and will be given dietary guidance if they exceed the guidelines.

After six-months, further education will be required if standards aren’t met. Don’t worry though, ladies. Your guideline is set to 35.5 inches.

This Country Would Rather You Keep Your Back On The Wall

A woman covered in paint dances in a crowd at a street festival
David Cliff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
David Cliff/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

So many songs over the decades have encouraged us to get up and grooving. Hopefully, none of these songs come on while you’re in the streets of Sweden, though. Sweden just might take the cake with their law banning “spontaneous dancing.”

While the law seems absolutely random, Independent explains that the law came into effect so that police could more easily regulate rowdy behavior that leads to riots. Sweden must have created the rule after watching the first half of the movie Footloose. We encourage lawmakers to finish the movie.

You’re Going To Have To Embrace Sunlight If You Want A Tan Here

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Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

According to BBC news, sunbeds were linked to 43% of melanoma cases among France’s youth. As a result, they were banned among minors in 1997. Brazil followed in 2002 but went a step further. They became the first country to outlaw tanning beds for any commercial use whatsoever. Now six of the eight Australian territories have followed suit.

While being tan used to be a sign of low class, today it’s a sign of health. However, in terms of preventing illness, getting a fake tan has got to go.

You Can’t Keep Your Goldfish In A Bowl in Rome

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ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

People in Rome, Italy believe that it’s cruel to keep a goldfish in a bowl. They point to science that says the bowl limits goldfish’s oxygen flow and can even cause the poor fish to go blind.

After winning a goldfish at the fair became the norm, Romans were concerned that all of these fish were living their lives in terrible conditions. In 2005, they banned people from giving goldfish away.

You Can’t Advertise to Children in Sweden

boy-watching-tv-1041936338
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Sweden has gone out of their way to make sure that the children of the country get to enjoy a wholesome childhood. While it might be common in the U.S. for kids to request a toy that they saw advertised on TV, this doesn’t happen in Sweden. That’s because ads that are directed at children are banned.

Since the 90s, it’s illegal for television ads to be directed at children, such as before or after a children’s TV program airs.