Most of us can understand the laws that have been implemented in North America, some are a little bewildering but for the most part, we know the difference between acceptable and against the law. Across the globe, the story isn’t so simple. It is always a wise decision to check out laws and rules before heading to a foreign country, for the rules may be different from what you are used to. Some simple everyday items for us may be banned in certain countries, from blue jeans to naming your child Gollum, there are some pretty serious rules. While some of these bans do make sense, some of them really are puzzling.
Here is a list of the top twelve completely random things that are banned in different countries across the world. You may be pretty surprised…and then again, you may not.
12 Yellow T-Shirts
This law should be told to those who are thinking of traveling to Malaysia, at least we can say we warned you. Back in 2011, wearing yellow T-shirts was banned in Malaysia. The ban was implemented after activists, which were dressed in hues of yellow, protested against electoral laws. Although some sources state the rule strictly applies for T-shirts only, other sources claim that all yellow shirts are not allowed.
11 Strange Baby Names
Hipsters around the world will be disappointed. Apparently gifting your child with an original name like “Thunder” or “Gingham” doesn’t fly in countries like Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden. Apparently Danish parents have a list of 24,000 names to choose from—all of which have been preapproved by the government. If you have a particular baby name you’d like, you can always apply for approval. Strangely enough, the names “Violence” and “Google” have made the list.
10 Wardrobe in Russia
Russia has decided to ban any clothing considered to be “EMO” as they believe that it has something to do with the teenage suicide rate, which is alarmingly high. Goth fashion is also banned and many goth and 'Emo' websites have been banned. This rule has strictly been implemented, we wonder if they have banned specific brands too?
9 Time Travel
In case you’ve got any crazy plans about going to visit your great-great grandpa back in his day (or even if you’re just thinking about redoing last Wednesday evening), you’d better make alternative plans if you’re living in China. That’s because time travelling is strictly prohibited. We’re not sure if this means that they’ve actually figured out time travel, or they think that it’s actually a thing that some of us can do. Just kidding—the ban is actually on the theme of time travel within film and television—apparently we just can’t seem to get it right, and China considers time travel something to be taken very seriously.
8 Blue Jeans in North Korea
According to various sources, blue jeans are not available in the country. Grey jeans, black jeans, no problem. But blue jeans? No. The reasoning? The color blue is too closely associated with the United States of America, which North Korea, you know…isn’t super fond of.
7 Video Games in Greece
This one sort of happened by accident. In Greece’s efforts to wipe out gambling machines (and as a result, cut down on gambling), Greece passed a law outlawing video games—meaning that you could get arrested for something as harmless as playing Pac-Man—so leave the handhelds at home. In 2000, China also passed a ban on gaming consoles, as the Chinese government thought that it encouraged laziness in the younger generations. However, apparently the XBOX One was so awesome that the ban was nixed by January of 2014.
6 Valentine’s Day in Saudi Arabia
You often hear people say " Valentine's Day is just a Hallmark holiday designed to make us spend money." Well Saudi Arabia went as far as prohibiting the sale of anything heart-shaped or red on Valentine's Day. People are prohibited from even wearing red on that day. The reason? To discourage people from dating outside of marriage.
In 2014, group jogging was banned in Burundi, jogging alone is okay though. The President Pierre Nkurunziza felt as though group jogs could be a cover for subversive activities. Breaking this law is no joking matter, it can result in life imprisonment, if caught jogging in a group.
4 Scrabble in Romania
Country weekends would never be the same without the beloved game of Scrabble, which is why this next ban sounds completely crazy to us—even if we aren’t lining up to play Scrabble five nights a week (but it’s one of those games that’s comforting to think about, you know?) The reason for Romania’s ban? 1980 president Nicolae Ceausescu thought that the game represented a “subversive evil” due to being “overly intellectual.” We wonder if they banned crosswords too?
3 Bubble Gum in Singapore
We can’t really say that we disagree with this one, especially when you consider the amount of chewing gum you can find stuck to pretty much every hidden surface. Which is crazy, because it’s totally disgusting to just stick your gum on public property—using a garbage can isn’t that difficult, people. Singapore had the right idea—in 1992 they banned both the sale and importing of chewing gum in the city, for the sake of cleaner surface areas.
2 Ketchup in France
While you might be able to freely dollop ketchup across your meal in pretty much any diner across North America, France has a different idea about the tomato goo. In 2011, France went as far as to ban America’s beloved condiment from school cafeterias. The reason? The French thought the ban was necessary to conserve French cuisine.
1 Doorknobs in Vancouver
In an attempt to make buildings more accessible to the elderly, Vancouver made the decision in 2013 to ban traditional doorknobs, opting instead for lever-type handles within all new constructions. This ban also came with orders to make doorways wider. It also specified that new faucet handles come with levers—which makes sense, considering what a pain those round knobs can be. On the downside, those levers make it easy for bears to open unlocked doors. But we suppose that’s only a concern in rural areas.