Of course, traditions change from house to house and from country to country, but one of the beautiful things about aviation is that it opens us up to the rituals of other cultures.
In fact, 16 countries including Ethiopia, Greece and Russia (which go by the Julian calendar) celebrated Christmas only yesterday.
But interesting traditions take place throughout the year. For example, adolescent males of the Satere-Mawe tribe in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil, must put their hands in gloves filled with bullet ants (called that because their sting causes pain equivalent to a bullet) for 11 hours to be considered a man. (But, pah, that’s nothing compared to Christmas with the in-laws, right?)
Aviation has its fair share of rituals too, for example, many pilots and crew have their own superstitions and good luck ceremonies (even I give the fuselage a little pat for luck while boarding the aircraft).
According to the BBC, back in 2007, Nepal’s state run airline, Nepal Airlines, confirmed that it had sacrificed two goats to the Hindu god of the sky, Akash Bhairab, in a bid to overcome electrical faults with its 757-200.
Interestingly, it seemed to have done the trick because the aircraft then completed a safe flight to Hong Kong (although I’m sure they didn’t just rely on goats to fix that problem).
I’ve also heard tales of a mechanic who was allegedly fired for sacrificing a camel on the tarmac of Istanbul airport (a Turkish tradition to thank god for fulfilling your wishes) when he finally got a troublesome aircraft off his hands.
So don’t feel bad if your family always keep the decorations up longer, or you joined a gym this month like every other person in the Western world, it seems we all have our traditional quirks.
Do you have any aviation related rituals? Why not share them with MRO Network’s LinkedIn Group.