Whenever you’re travelling the world, one of the great joys of the adventure is coming into contact with, and being utterly confused by, local currencies. How each country and culture approaches money is often as unique as those cultures themselves. Expanding on this concept, Budget Direct have put together this infographic collected some of the most interesting ways that different people around the world deal with money.
In Pakistan, the practice of Zakat sees 2.5% of a person’s wealth given to charity. Zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is followed by Muslims all over the world, though Pakistan is one of the few that makes it an obligatory donation. The practice is intended to help people avoid losing sight of those less fortunate while accumulating wealth.
Plenty of other traditions around the world are based on collecting money for important events. In parts of India, a large dinner, known as a Kuri Kalyanam is held to raise money for big-ticket events like weddings or home renovations. All those invited are expected to give a generous donation for the meal. This act isn’t entirely altruistic however, as the host of the meal is expected to give back twice as much when they are invited to each donor’s Kuri Kalyanam.
In Greece such donations take a prickly twist. At weddings, it is common practice to pin euro notes to the clothes of the bride and groom. This practice, known as Χάρισμα (Harisma) gives wedding guests a chance to contribute to the happy couple’s nest egg for the future, which they’re undoubtedly grateful for despite the danger of being slightly punctured!
For Jamaicans, and other Caribbean communities, giving people a one-off capital boost is built on a system of trust known as Susu. Members of the lending circle contribute a set amount of money and after each round one person will receive it all to spend on a major purchase, such as a business investment or buying a car. It allows groups with low access to financial institutions, the opportunity to borrow money without exorbitant interest rates or using their home as security.
In countries where getting loans to invest in a business can be next to impossible, communities have started to form their own systems of credit. In Kenya, this has seen the rise of harambee, a community-led initiative whereby participants pool their money together and use it for a project the community needs.
As you can see, money isn’t just to exchange, it can also tell us a lot about the culture of a country. Next time you’re travelling pay closer attention to how the locals deal with cash- who knows what hidden secrets you might find.
Read heaps more of our interesting local culture blog posts here!