Every culture and religion around the world have their uniqueness which makes it different from the rest. However, there are certain traditions followed by a varied spectrum of people over the globe that are being followed for a long time but are just plain horrendous.
Does it mean that we blindly keep our faith in them or, think for ourselves and know whether it is appropriate to follow the same traditions in the times of today? The reason I insist and ask you to think again before following a tradition is that there are traditions you’ll be reading now which are still adopted by people today, and some are even fatal.
They are too odd. Too bizarre!
1. Night Hunting in Bhutan
This culture is also popular as “Bomena” in the east of Himalayas. People who are looking to marry in the recent future, break into houses of young girls at night. They stay there the whole night but in case, someone catches them red-handed, they have to either marry that girl or work for the girl’s father as a form of punishment. This tradition has been criticized negatively by a lot of people since it increases the number of events of sexual abuse in the country.
2. Hindu Thaipusam festival piercings
This is popular in South India and South East Asia. This event celebrates the victory of Lord Murugan over a demon. People use sharp objects to pierce different parts of their bodies. In fact, some people even perform extreme and risky tasks such as pulling cars using hooks which have been pierced to their backs.
3. Amazonian initiation rite – Bullet Ant Gloves
This is practiced by a tribe in Amazon known as “Satere-Mawe”. In order to prove their manhood once the boys become adults, they have to undergo a torturous task, where these boys have to trap bullet ants. These are drugs by a person and are then kept in woven mitts.
The ants get their name from their deadly sting – it is said that the pain caused by the sting is comparable to the pain caused by a bullet. These men then wear the mitts filled with these ants and they have to continuously dance for the next ten minutes. The dance is necessary to distract their minds from the pain.
4. Couples are prohibited to use the toilet
This is practiced in Indonesia by the Tidong community. The couple is not allowed to enter the bathroom for three days after their wedding. They are kept under heavy supervision by their relatives. After three days, they can continue going to the bathroom as usual. This is practiced to keep away bad luck.
5. Funerary rituals
Can you imagine not burying the dead and eating them instead? This is practiced by the Yanomami tribe in the Amazon rain forest. They believe that the deceased shouldn’t be buried, instead, there should no physical remains of their bodies on this planet. That is why they eat the dead and the bone powder is turned to a bowl of soup. They think that the soul of the dead stays with them by performing this ritual.
6. Penis Festival
Also known as ‘Kanamara Matsuri,’ this is popular in Japan. A large structure, shaped like a penis is carried by people through the streets of the city. According to the legends, a demoness used to seduce men and kill them, and she was stopped only by a metal penis to destroy her “special weapon”. This is also popular among sex workers since they believe this festival will keep away STDs and protect them.
7. Tossing toddlers
This is an extremely dangerous but old tradition that is still practiced in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Toddlers are tossed almost 15-30 feet upwards and then caught by a blanket held by people. This is extremely risky for the toddlers, hence it was banned in 2011. However, the practice once again started in 2012. The people believe that this brings good luck to the toddler.
8. Celebration of death
This is practiced in July and September in Hauts Plateaux of Madagascar. During this event, instead of burying the deceased, their remains are exhumed and then wrapped in cloth. Relatives also take time to ask their dead ancestors for blessings and things they might need in the world of the living. Rather than mourning for the dead, this event turns into a party for celebration.
9. Tooth filling
During the marriage, both men and women in Bali have to sharpen their teeth by filing. People believe that these represent their control over emotions, greed, and lust. As expected, this is extremely painful.
10. Gerewol Festival
This is similar to a modern-day fashion show, where men participate. This is practiced by the Wodaabe tribe, where the men have to dress properly and show the women how they look. There is also a dance competition known as Yaake. The combination of dancing skills and appearance is the ultimate factor to pick the winner.
11. Fulani Whipping Match
If you think the bullet ant gloves was a terrible ‘manly’ way for a boy to ‘turn’ into a man, wait till you know about this one. In order to prove their strength and growth into manhood, the men of the have to fight each other using sharpened whips made out of cane. The boys of the tribe step into manhood by enduring the sting of a whip – multiple times. The winner is the boy who can withstand the most amount of pain, as well as whichever one causes the deepest wounds in his opponent.
12. Cannibal monks from India
Not exactly a ritual, so to say, but there exist tribes of cannibal monks in India that live their lifestyle to their namesake. The tribe members live close to cemeteries and places where bodies and human remains are likely to be found. They usually cremate the bodies they find and rub the ashes onto their bodies, giving them a permanent ghostly appearance that sets them apart from the rest of the population. They do this in the belief of attaining spiritual enlightenment.