A strange practice, this huffing? Well, there have been odder customs.
In 18th century France, anyone loosing a game without having reached the promotion row had to scrape his nails across the underside of the board. It was called porter la hotte, literally "to bear a sack".
Also in the 18th c.: if your opponent allowed you to withdraw a wrong move, you had to kiss the piece in question! By the way, in the 17th c. English chess players did something similar: if you made a capture against the rules, you had to kiss the bottom of the offending piece.