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Most Interestingly Bizarre Customs and Rituals across the Globe

In the world we live in, we have numerous religions and enormous customs and rituals. Although many of these rituals seem strange and illogical, these are practiced by people who believe they can connect to God or show their devotion. Let’s take a sneak peak at some of these mind-boggling customs from around the world.

1. The Sun Dance of Native American Indians

native american sun dance festival
The Sun Dance of Native American Indians

The objective behind the sun dance is to offer personal sacrifice as a prayer for the benefit of one’s family. The ritual is in honour of spirits. People who participate in this ritual get their chest skin pierced with a skewer. A rope is attached to the skewer and the other end of the rope is tied to a pole, which is sought to be the tree of life. The participant must try to break free from the skewer (while it is pierced in his skin) by moving back and forth. This ritual in particular takes several hours to complete whereas the entire festival lasts for four days. This agonizing ritual is quite popular among the indigenous people of America and Canada.

 

2. Brazilian Coming of Age Ceremony

 

coming of age ceremonies in brazil
Brazilian Coming of Age Ceremony

Imagine receiving a pair of gloves coated with fiery ants instead of a cake on your 13th birthday! Well that’s exactly what the indigenous people belonging to the Satere-Mawe tribe do; the entire Brazilian Amazon is searched for bullet ants which are sedated with a herbal solution. The ants are then put on the gloves with their stingers pointing the area where the hand would reside. Approximately after an hour, the ants wake up from their sedated state and they are angrier than ever. This is the moment when the tribal boy must wear the gloves for 10 minutes to prove that he is ready for manhood. If the boy cries then he is deemed to be weak. Every teenager of this tribe goes through this ritual at least 20 times before the initiation is finished.

4. Blood Fiestas of Spain

  • spanish blood fiestas
    Blood Fiestas of Spain

    Blood Fiestas are observed with a bunch of Spaniards torturing and slowly killing an animal while enjoying the event. This particular custom involves barbarically killing of goats and bulls. Among the most common sights during this custom are dropping off a goat from a bell tower and covering a bull with burning wax and mercilessly piercing the animal with knives and spears until it dies. The official killer of the cattle is awarded with the testicles of the animal after having it dressed on a ceremonial spear. According to reports, Spain is known to have these fiestas at least 10-20 thousand times per year. The other countries that contribute to the cruelty of this custom are Portugal, Mexico and Brazil.

 

 The Phuket Vegetarian Festival of China

phuket vegetarian festival in chinese
The Phuket Vegetarian Festival of China

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is a very colourful event that goes on for nine days in the month of October. The Chinese believe that abstinence from meat for nine days during the ninth month of Chinese calendar will bring them good health and peace of mind. Though this festival is held with a good spirit and for a healthy cause, there are few aspects that are very gruesome and definitely not for the faint hearted. Walking on fire and body piercing are some of the common sights that you will come across during this festival. In the year 2011, reports indicated 74 injuries and one death. Most of the injuries result from indiscriminate usage of firecrackers. Apart from the entire visual spectacle, visitors can dine on the vegetarian delicacies that are available on the street stalls and markets.

  • Sky Burials of Tibet

    sky burial di tibet
    Sky Burials of Tibet

    Sky Burial is a Tibetan ritual with great religious meaning, offered to the commoners and high lamas who are to be honoured in death. Children below 18 years, pregnant women and those who died of infectious disease are exceptions. The origin of this custom remains highly mysterious. Tibetans are encouraged to witness the ceremony and understand that a corpse is just an empty vessel and the spirit of the body has exited it to reincarnate in another circle of life. The ritual of Sky Burial consists of chopping the corpse to small pieces and letting the vultures reduce it to bones.

 

  •  Cannibalism of Aghoris in India

    aghori cannibalism rituals
    Cannibalism of Aghoris in India

    Aghoris are devotees of Lord Shiva who prefer living among the dead in a burial ground. They are mostly found in Varanasi, the city which is famous for the Ganga River and the Shiva Temple. The Aghoris believe that the greatest fear among the living is the fear of mortality and this fear is the wall between them and spiritual enlightenment. Eating the flesh of the dead bodies is their way of scaling this fear and achieving spiritual enlightenment. Bodies that do not receive cremation owing to some of the practices in Hinduism are set afloat in the Ganga River and the Aghoris pull them out and feed on them.  The Aghoris also consume a good amount of weed in the form of chillam. They believe it is the “Prasad” of Lord Shiva.

  • Baby Tossing of South India

    baby tossing of south india ritual
    Baby Tossing of South India

    Aghoris are devotees of Lord Shiva who prefer living among the dead in a burial ground. They are mostly found in Varanasi, the city which is famous for the Ganga River and the Shiva Temple. The Aghoris believe that the greatest fear among the living is the fear of mortality and this fear is the wall between them and spiritual enlightenment. Eating the flesh of the dead bodies is their way of scaling this fear and achieving spiritual enlightenment. Bodies that do not receive cremation owing to some of the practices in Hinduism are set afloat in the Ganga River and the Aghoris pull them out and feed on them.  The Aghoris also consume a good amount of weed in the form of chillam. They believe it is the “Prasad” of Lord Shiva.

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