Playing Scrabble in Romania, jogging in Burundi and DYING in Svalbard: The strangest things that have been banned around the world

Fancy a game of Scrabble? Not in Romania. Photo / Getty Images
Fancy a game of Scrabble? Not in Romania. Photo / Getty Images

What might be innocuous and acceptable in one country could well land you in deep trouble in another.

From driving a black car in Turkmenistan to jogging in Burundi, east Africa - some countries around the world have forbidden a variety of unusual activities and goods.
People across the globe have come together to share on Quora the unlikely things that have been banned in their own country or places they have visited over the years

Scrabble - Romania

It's true that all manner of arguments can spring up during a heated game of word game Scrabble.

But Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu was so opposed to the game he banned it entirely.

Leo Peo, from Mumbai, India, shared on knowledge-sharing site, Quora: "Now, we've all taken a Scrabble loss pretty seriously. It's one of the few games that reminds you of how stupid and illiterate you may well be. But in the 80s, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu went a little overboard and called for a ban.

"He described it as "overly intellectual" and a "subversive evil". All of which are words he'd probably never be able to play in Scrabble".

Dying - Svalbard, Norway

Pity the ill and elderly in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard where everyone is banned from dying due to the difficulty of burying bodies in the frozen ground - you must simply go elsewhere to end your days.

In Svalbard, dying is banned as it's hard to bury bodies in the frozen ground. Photo / Getty Images
In Svalbard, dying is banned as it's hard to bury bodies in the frozen ground. Photo / Getty Images

Jan Christian Meyer shared the fascinating fact online: "In Svalbard, Norway, there is a ban on dying. The reason for this is that the permanently frozen ground will not only tend to keep your buried remains from decomposing and push them to the surface, it may also perfectly preserve the disease that killed you, for locals to pick up later.

"It is obviously not a punishable offence to die (after all, how would that be enforced?), but if you seem to be about to expire, every effort will be made to send you to the mainland."

If you should die there anyway, you most certainly will not be buried there, because funerals don't work the way they are supposed to.

"You can apply to have your cremated remains put into the ground, but it requires state approval. In other words, death is not illegal as such, but it is banned from the area."

Black cars - Turkmenistan

Trying to buy a new car in the central Asian country of Turkmenistan can be tricky business due to numerous restrictions imposed by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Batir Turkmen, who is from Turkmenistan but lives in Dubai, expplained: "For the country with 60 degrees C in summer it is really strange and stupid - cars with black colours are banned, dirty cars are not allowed to drive in the city. BMW, Mercedes, etc - luxury cars have very high taxation and tuning cars and tires are not allowed (sic)."

He added: "Cars which are older than five year are banned, cars with a right hand drive are banned, sports cars and two door cars are banned, cars engine bigger than 3.5 litres are banned and cars with tinted windows are banned."

Claire Danes - Manila, Philippines

We're all entitled to our own personal views on foreign countries, but American actress Claire Danes made a grave error when she criticised the capital of the Philippines, Manila.

Leo Peo commented: "Hanging out in Manila and looking to rent Romeo & Juliet or Stardust? Tough luck. After referring to the city as 'a ghastly and weird city' which 'smelled of cockroaches', every film starring Ms Danes was eradicated and the star herself was denied any future entrance.

Claire Danes was banned from entering Manila after she criticised the city. Photo / Getty Images
Claire Danes was banned from entering Manila after she criticised the city. Photo / Getty Images

"Thankfully, for Manila residents, many people from around the world have been surviving without Claire Danes for years and they're doing absolutely fine."

Danes went on to make an apology but councillor Kim Atienza, principal author of the resolution and a son of Manila's mayor, dismissed the statement as disingenuous. It's unclear if the ban was ever lifted.

Blowfish meat - Japan

Puffer fish - also called blowfish or fugu in Japanese - are the world's most toxic group of fish and their livers, ovaries and skin contain tetrodotoxin, 100 times more lethal than cyanide. As such the emperor of Japan is forbidden to eat the delicacy for his own safety.

Timothy Takemoto, who describes himself as a "British guy in Japan" wrote on Quora: 'The emperor of Japan, but not the general population, is prohibited from eating the potentially highly poisonous blow-fish meat.

"Japanese citizens in general may eat blow-fish only when prepared by a qualified chef."

In Japan, blowfish must be prepared by a qualified chef, but the emperor is banned from eating it. Photo / Getty Images
In Japan, blowfish must be prepared by a qualified chef, but the emperor is banned from eating it. Photo / Getty Images

Vacuum cleaners - Victoria, Australia

No one likes a noisy neighbour, but the state of Victoria in Australia has introduced a set of rules highlighting at what point during the day you can make noise, including dictating when you can vacuum.

Sumit Gupta, Mumbai, India, said: "In Melbourne, Australia, vacuuming your house between 10 pm and 7 am during weekdays and 10 pm and 9 am during the weekends is against the law."

Jogging - Burundi, East Africa

What is a simple daily exercise to most people, could land you in jail in the east African country of Burundi - jog at your peril.

Saiteja G R V, from Vellore, India, shared: "Lying right across the infamous Rwanda, Burundi has a history of ethnic strife. During the prolonged period of turmoil that ended in the last decade, it was common practice for the citizens to go jogging together in groups, partly to have one another as protection from the militia.

"But in March 2014, Pierre Nkurunziza - the president of the country, banned jogging based on the argument that people use the activity as a cover to plan subversive activities."

- Daily Mail

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