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Traditions Around the World

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Published Jul 20, 2017 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 26 Contributors

    26 photos selected by

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    A new baby can change the entire world of a family. Everyone is happy to join around and cherish ...

    #baptise #tradition #baby #blessing #godmother

    Thanks to everyone who participated in this assignment. Each one I curate gets more and more fun, especially as I start to recognize many of you who are regularly submitting and participating in the discussion board in our Your Shot assignments. Watching you improve as photographers and more thoughtful storytellers really makes me happy.

    Because Your Shot is a global community, this assignment features traditions from around the world. I looked at more than 9,000 submitted images, many of which introduced me to traditions I had never heard about. I even Googled a couple to learn more and watch some videos because I was so fascinated. And that is why my job is awesome. Where else can I look at beautiful photos, learn something new, and give back by encouraging and inspiring other photographers?

    HORSES IN EL ROCÍO To the south of Spain every year is celebrated the pilgrimage of Rocio in Pen...

    #horses

    Editor's Note

    I love this photo; you've successfully paused a moment in time that makes me want to know more. Thank you for writing a caption that explains what I am looking at, and the tradition being celebrate... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    The Bar mitsvah ceremony is very important in the Jewish religious. The Rabbi is blessing the you...

    #bar_mitzvah #jerusalem #israel #ceremony

    Editor's Note

    Fantastic composition Dafna. Really well done. I love how my eye goes straight to the Dome of the Rock in the background before returning to the intimate Bar Mitzvah moment in the foreground.

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    At our humble town of Lucban, Quezon in the Philippines, Catholic devotees observe Good Friday wi...

    #faith #philippines #catholic #tradition #lucban #quezon #holyweek #people #travel #culture

    Editor's Note

    Fantastic. There is such a cinematic feeling to your photo. I love how the light falls off in this frame. Thank you for the informative caption, explaining what I am looking at. Well done.

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Transgenders are considered as taboo in India and they are left to live by themselves by the soci...

    #festival #transgender #india

    Editor's Note

    I love it. I love the energy you've captured. I love the joy revealed in their smiles, which also makes feel happy. My emotional reaction to your photo is exactly the type of positive respect we as... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Men naked except for loincloths gathered at the Buddhist temple's Kikkodo main hall after the rin...

    #fukushima #night #japan #pray #people #travel

    Editor's Note

    By shooting wide, by tilting slightly up and including the tops of heads in the foreground, your perspective makes me I feel like I am in the audience. My eye slowly explores and is captivated by e... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    'We can't all be on top, but those that are can't do it without the ones at the bottom.' This ...

    #unesco #castell #tradition #castells #blackandwhite #catalonia #catalonia_spain #humantowers

    Editor's Note

    I love it. I love how you are showing me a different perspective of a frequently photographed event. Thanks for writing a great caption that helps me further understand and appreciate your photo; I... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    A “magdarame” chants his prayers over this secluded and open rice fields. According to him, he pr...

    #philippines #traditions #penitence #holyweek #people #culture #pampanga

    Editor's Note

    Beautiful — there is a powerful quietness in your frame that I love. Thank you for writing a detailed caption that educates me on a tradition I never knew about. Well done.

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Every day, the Indians of Varanasi hold a ceremony honoring the Ganges River. Known as Ganga Aart...

    #benares #varanasi #river #ganges #india #ritual

    Editor's Note

    This is so beautiful Luis. Wonderful use of silhouette which allows this image to represent anyone who participates in the Ganga Aarti. I love the trail of smoke from the fire. I love that you shot... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    A man walks casually through the smoke from a launching rocket at the Bun Bang Fai festival in Va...

    #tradition #festival #silohuette #laos #traditions_around_the_world #travel #culture

    Editor's Note

    Fantastic Sara. By shooting wide, you've created a sense of scale for the size of the rockets and launching platforms to the distance of the nearby mountains. I bet this was so much fun to witness.... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform a fly-over as graduates from the Air Force Academy toss t...

    #thunderbirds #airforce #hat #cadets #airforceacademy #toss #afthunderbirds #graduation #military

    Editor's Note

    I agree with Your Shot producer Matt Adams who previously commented, "I love that you decided to get closer and capture just a few faces of the graduates as well as their reactions." I feel like I ... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    In Thai tradition, it is considered good luck to release a sky lantern, which symbolises one's pr...

    #khom_loi #lights #lanterns #reflection #traditions #thailand #buddhist #sky #travel

    Editor's Note

    This frame is magical Rodney — a perfect use of reflection to heighten the visual experience. I love it. Thank you for explaining in your caption the tradition I am looking at. I now better underst... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Jaanipäev (St John's Day) and Jaaniõhtu , also Jaanilaupäev (St John's Eve) are the most importan...

    #village #balticsea #sea #estonia #aerial #bonfire #places #landscapes #travel #forest #sunset #nature

    Editor's Note

    This is so beautiful — I love how you shot this frame wide and from high above. The sole (and huge) bonfire captures my attention, and I feel the celebratory energy of your family having fun. Thank... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Every anniversary my wife puts on her wedding dress and we go out exploring, adventuring, romanci...

    #mountain #nepal #tradition #hiking #mount_everest #anniversary #love #mountains #travel

    Editor's Note

    What an amazing tradition to celebrate your wedding anniversary Rob. I applaud you and your wife for continuing to execute these ambitious photos. This is just so awesome. I bet the two of you fond... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Is there a greater tradition that binds all Canadians than scraping out a patch of ice on a lake ...

    #this_is_canada #pond_hockey #old_time_hockey #canadian_tradition #lake_hockey

    Editor's Note

    Yes your photo is very beautiful; I love how quiet this frame is. But what I really love is how thoughtful your caption is, and how it perfectly complements your photo. You've written with such nos... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Every morning hundreds of Shanghai citizens do their traditional exercise on the Bund, the old wa...

    #equinox #skyscraper #bund #taijiquan #shanghai #sune #riverside #china #citylights

    Editor's Note

    You've documented a fantastic moment in time that captured my attention. I love how all the elements in your composition lead my eye around the photo — from the railing extending from edge to edge ... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Extremely physically challenging ritual,"Gochak" is an ancient ladakhi ritual practised still tod...

    #winterladakh #tough_and_strong #buddhism #ladakh #prostration #rituals

    Editor's Note

    I agree with Your Shot photographer Joanna B. who commented, "WOW. To have such endurance and belief in one's faith — how incredible — never knew about them — thank you for capturing this and for s... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Umhlanga, or Reed Dance, an swazi traditional ceremony. For a week, Zulu girls and women from all...

    #reeddance #umhlanga #africa #swaziland

    Editor's Note

    Fantastic Dinho. I love how wide you shot this frame, which clearly illustrates the size of the reeds being carried by the ceremony participants. Thanks for writing an informative caption that expl... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    The annual beach practice by the Cavalry Ere Escort on the day before Prince's Day each year is a...

    #beach #scheveningen #horses #prinsjesdag

    Editor's Note

    I love the mystery of the lone horse and rider emerging from the smoke, it feels so dramatic — the scene feels like a still from a movie. So I appreciate your caption explaining to me further what ... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    The traditional prize of the flagpole at sea, in Pozzuoli, every 15 August. The goal is to be ab...

    #landscape #letsexplore #summer #tradition #wildlife #water #city #people #places #sky #travel #nature

    Editor's Note

    Yes I did a Google search on this tradition because I wanted to see more photos... okay, I really wanted to see photos of people failing. Because my overactive imagination was making me laugh at th... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Mud wrestling festival was held hundreds years ago in Vietnamese village. The players covering wi...

    #village_life #vietnamese_culture #village_festival #mud_wrestling

    Editor's Note

    Fantastic action photo documenting this tradition; I also love how the ball appears to coming towards me... I feel like a participant, ready to react and join in. Thank you for writing a caption th... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    President-elect Donald J. Trump stands on the platform of the Capitol during the 58th Presidentia...

    Editor's Note

    Ever four years, ever American citizen gets the opportunity to vote for his or her next president. I believe this is our greatest tradition, and responsibility as an American citizen. I love how yo... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Arirang Mass Games at Mayday Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, a 120,000 performer-strong spect...

    #letsexplore #colours #northkorea #tradition #event #pattern #red #dprk #performance #dance #korea

    Editor's Note

    My family lives in Seoul, South Korea, so I am fascinated in North Korea. (FYI — check out David Guttenfelder and Christopher Morris's photo essays about North Korea.) With the repetition in your f... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    A Paddle Out is a traditional tribute within the surfing culture to honor the life of a fellow s...

    #paddleout #honor #surfing #sea #surfingculture #tribute #celebrationoflife #inremembrance

    Editor's Note

    I love how you shot this frame wide and from high above, which clearly reveals the number of surfers participating in this poignant tradition. I can feel the love. Thank you for explaining in your ... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    Mundan or shaving the head is one of the most prominent tradition observed in Hinduism after the ...

    #faith #trust #street #traditions_around_the_world #people #travel #kolkata #ritual

    Editor's Note

    I love that this man is staring right at you — and through your camera lens, he is now looking at me. I feel the weight of his mother's passing in his eyes and in his body language. I love how this... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    It's a simple tradition but one that means the world to me. It's always the same. I walk in, pop ...

    #family #afternoon_tea #traditions_around_the_world_assignment

    Editor's Note

    What a lovely tradition between you and your dad, thank you for sharing your story with us. I love the pairing of this photo with your caption — this is so well done Carole. I feel like you're abou... More

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    I encourage you to look at my Editor's Favorites, and be inspired by your fellow Your Shot photographers. Really take your time to recognize the talent of the Your Shot community. You'll be impressed. I know I am.

    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

    About the Editor
    David Y. Lee
    Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
    Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.

    Photographers Published In the Story