Some traditions help us to stay in touch with our roots and heritage. But there are also those which are so silly, we’ve actually laughed at them. And while some of them are outright foolish, there are others that just make you uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, have you ever come across traditions so bizarre, outrageous, and outright shocking, they actually creep you out? If not, well, you’re in for a treat! Here are six such traditional practices which are sure to make your skin crawl.
1. The Amazonian Coming-Of-Age Tradition
Guess what young boys from the Amazonian Sateré-Mawé tribe have to go through to prove that they are now ‘grown men’? They have to wear a woven mitten on both their hands and dance for 10 minutes.
Doesn’t sound that bad, right?
Well, here’s the catch: the inside of the mittens are laced with – wait for it – BULLET ANTS! For the uninitiated, bullet ants are deadly creatures whose sting is 30 times more painful than a bee’s sting. As if getting stung by one wasn’t bad enough, the inside of the mittens are laced with hundreds of them! And they have to wear it for 10 whole minutes while they dance! Also, they don’t just do it once, but repeat it about 20 times in their entire lifetime. Oh, and they have to hunt for these ants in the Amazonian jungles by themselves. Bizarre much?
2. The Festival Of Piercings
During the Thaipusam festival celebrated by the Hindu community in Singapore, devotees don’t just fast (which is quite a common practice amongst Hindu devotees) but pierce themselves as well. Celebrated on the full moon night in the month of Thai according to the Tamil calendar, it is not unusual to see devotees getting their entire body pierced as part of the festivities. A procession also happens at Sri Srinivasa in Singapore. Well, that will be one painful procession not just for the participants, but for the onlookers as well.
The pains that one goes through to feel closer to God!
3. Bhutan’s Hunt For Love
Young men in Bhutan don’t just fall in love. They ‘hunt’ for their love. In what can only be called a rather unusual practice, it is perfectly acceptable for them to go prowling at night and actually break into a young woman’s house and steam things up with her! Oh, and here’s the catch – if they’re caught while at it, a wedding is mandatory.
So, why is this a challenge? Because usually all members of the family sleep in one common room. Hence, mom and dad will probably be snoring right next to them while they make out. Ugh! The only thing ok with this ‘tradition’ is that the sex is usually consensual.
Not enough for it to still be practiced, if you ask me.
4. Eating The Dead
The Amazonian Yanomami tribe follows what is known as ‘endocannibalism’.
According to Wikipedia, endocannibalism is the practice of eating the flesh of a human being who belongs to the same community (tribe, social group, or society), usually after they have died. In this particular tribe, they eat the ashes of their dead and not the flesh.
Yes, you read that right – they eat the ashes of their dead.
Every year they observe an annual day of remembrance. No one talks about the dead except on this day. As part of the rituals, they make a soup out of bananas mixed with the ashes of their dead tribe members. They believe that this strengthens them and keeps the spirit of the dead alive through them.
Huh. Wonder how many years of therapy that qualifies for.
5. The Balinese Tradition Of Teeth Filing
Known as Manusa Yadnya, this ceremony is usually observed when a child reaches puberty. It is believed that filing their teeth will keep them from falling prey to the various vices of life like greed, lust etc. It can also be done on the bride and groom before they tie the knot. Sometimes, it is practiced on corpses as part of the funeral process. They believe that all the duties of a father towards his daughter are fulfilled once he gets her teeth filed. Ouch!
6. Baby Throwers
One of the things Karnataka, India, is not famous for is their baby throwing ritual. It is believed that if a baby is thrown off from a balcony about 30 feet off the ground, it brings good luck to the family! Don’t worry. They usually catch the baby with a piece of cloth held by four people standing below. Not surprisingly, Child Rights activists have condemned this practice and are looking at getting it banned.
The world is full of unexpected surprises, isn’t it? And this is just a handful of the many bizarre things in this world that we are not even aware of. Do you know of any such unusual practices that do not feature in this list? Let us know in the comments below!