Our Favorite Hobbies and their Worldwide Origins


Hobbies are ingrained in every culture, and sometimes hobbies spread their wings and become ingrained in new cultures. The following hobbies originated in foreign lands, but found popularity at home. Although the USA does Americanize much of the culture we appropriate, the following hobbies have retained much or all of the character of their homelands.

Hookah aka “Water Pipe” the Alternative to Smoking

In the US, no one calls a hookah a water pipe, but water pipe is the term most frequently used throughout the cultures that participate in this hobby the most (Middle East, Asia, etc.). Hookah vaporizes tobacco (typically flavors of tobacco). It carries the smoke through a water basic, and then to the smoker.

Its origin is claimed by many countries, but it’s likely it originated in Turkey, Egypt, and/or Syria; therefore, greater Persia has the best claim of legitimacy. It used to only be the privilege of the upper classes, the rich and powerful leaders of the Persian nations. Today, hookah is very popular and accessible to everyone.

Karaoke – a Japanese Hobby Enjoyed Everywhere


Karaoke is the most popular hobby originating from Asia. It’s so beloved that it’s spread throughout Europe and America. What city or town doesn’t have a bar that provides karaoke to its patrons at least once per week?

If you’re unfamiliar with karaoke, it’s amateur live singing performances. It’s rumored to have originated in a snack bar in Japan. The owner of the shop had no one to perform, and so called upon the audience to entertain along with previously recorded music.

Cosplay – Something USA and Japan Created Together

Cosplay started sometime back in the 1960s when US fandom made waves at science fiction conventions. People dressed as action heroes and their favorite characters from movies and television. Japan caught on quickly, and by 1984 both American and Japanese fans were cosplaying, and it was then a Japanese reporter called it “cosplay,” a name that continues to stick.

Billiards – From Royal France to Every Bar Everywhere

Billiards, or as its commonly referred to stateside pool, originated in Royal France during the time of King Louis XI. In the 1460s, King Louis XI is said to have set up the first indoor pool table game. It was based on a lawn game; perhaps, it was rainy and King Louis XI simply wanted to enjoy a little croquet, so he took the game to a tabletop indoors. The rules are simple, be the first person to place all the balls into the holes using a cue stick (just don’t sink that eight ball till the end).

American Football – Humble Rugby Origins

As far as hobbies go, a lot of the USA enjoys hobbies which originated in foreign lands. This is likely due to how young our land truly is when compared to the rest of the world. That being said, our ingenuity isn’t lacking. We created football (not to be confused with soccer).

It’s one of the most popular hobbies, and it’s growing in popularity all over the world. Football’s roots are easily traced to rugby, which originated in England in 1823. Through trial and error, the USA developed football; although, it’s a mystery why it’s called football considering it’s not played with the ball on the ground too often.

Most hobbies have a long and interesting history. Due to modern-day globalization, hobbies are capable of traveling around the world. The games you play in your backyard are likely enjoyed by neighboring countries and even far-reaching continents, which stands as proof that people are quite a bit alike no matter where you go.


Article submitted By Community Writer.

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