There are different cultures and traditions that are being followed since the very beginning of civilisation around the world. And, while some rituals are charming others are just plain bizarre. Just like these:
1. Bomena is a Bhutanese tradition that allows men to go into an unmarried woman’s house to spend the night with her.
In the eastern parts of the Himalayan kingdom, young men looking for love and marriage head out at night for a different kind of hunt. They stealthily enter an unmarried woman’s house to spend the night with them. If they are caught with the girl, they have to marry her or work in her father’s field as a punishment. This ritual is very problematic and is much debated today as women are subjected to rape and an invasion of privacy.
2. A large sculpture shaped like a penis is worshipped in Japan.
Also known as the Kanamara Matsuri, devotees carry a large sculpture in the shape of a penis and walk through the streets of Kawasaki in Japan. It is believed that a demoness with vaginal teeth seduced men to their deaths until temple priests used a metal d**k to destroy her deadly secret weapon. It is said that the shrine offers divine protections for business prosperity and for a good and happy life. This festival has become a tourist attraction and the money raised here is used for HIV research.
3. A local tribe from the Amazon rainforest believes in consuming the dead.
As bizarre as it sounds, the Yanomami tribe who live in the Amazon rainforest believe that no physical trace of a dead body should be left behind in order for its soul to rest in peace. So, they prefer consuming the dead. The ash and bone powder that is obtained after performing the cremation is mixed into a plantain soup and is consumed by the deceased’s family. They also believe that by doing so the soul of their lost and loved ones will reside within them.
4. Toddlers are tossed from a rooftop in some parts of in India as it is believed to bring good luck.
Believe it or not, in some parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka toddlers are tossed from the roof of temples 15-30 feet above the ground and are caught by a blanket held out by devotees. Why? It is believed that doing so brings good luck to the child. This age old practice was banned in 2011 but, devotees continued to practice this ritual anyway in 2012.
5. Newly married couples have to get their tooth filed in Bali as a symbol of entering adulthood.
While it is normal to file our nails, Balinese men and women have their teeth filed just before getting married. Yes, it has a symbolic meaning. Smoothened teeth symbolises control over sinful emotions like greed, lust, anger and jealously. This ritual basically marks the passage into adulthood. Though, is an extremely grueling and painful experience.
6. Gerewol festival in Niger is an annual courtship where men dress in their finest attire to impress the ladies and win them over.
This annual courtship festival takes place among the Wodaabe tribe. The men dress up in their finery and look their best in order to appear in front of women to impress them and to show them what they have to offer. The men also take part in Yaake, a dance competition, where the winners are chosen on the basis of their overall looks and their dancing skills.
7. Newly weds in Germany have to clean up old dishes that are broken and smashed on the floor by their family members.
Polterabend is a pre-wedding ritual where friends and family of the bride and groom break dishes only to get the newly weds to clean up the mess. By doing so, they get to practice ‘working together in difficult times.’ And, it is believed that breaking dishes is supposed to banish evil spirits.
8. In Rome food items are supplied through pipes into the graves of the dead.
Yup, you read the right. Romans believe in feeding the dead. In fact, the graves contain pipes through which the kin of the deceased pour honey, wine and other food items into the graves of the dead. This is done to appease the dead and to honor them in the afterlife.
9. ‘Blackening’ the bride is a pre-wedding custom in Scotland where disgusting things are thrown at the bride.
In this pre-wedding ritual, eggs, spoilt milk and all things disgusting are thrown at the bride. The ‘blackened bride’ is then paraded around the town. This ritual acts as a metaphor for the tough life that a bride may have to go through after her wedding so basically, this tradition prepares her for the new chapter of her life.
10. Women of the Dani tribe in Indonesia have to cut part of their fingers after a family member dies.
This tradition is followed by the Dani tribe in Indonesia where women have to cut off a part of their fingers after a family member passes away. So, besides suffering from emotional grief, women also have to suffer physical pain. This ritual is done to supposedly ‘satisfy ancestral ghosts.’
11. Men in China carry their pregnant wives over burning coal so that they can have an easy delivery that’s free from complications.
Well, it is believed that if the husband carries his pregnant wife over burning coal on his bare feet, his wife will have an easy delivery. Also, they believe this ritual highlights the compassion and love that the to-be father has for the newborn child, and the mother.
12. In Northern Borne, newly weds aren’t allowed to use the bathroom for three days.
This bizarre custom is followed by the Tidong tribe from northern Borne. Newly weds are basically prohibited from using the bathroom for three days after their wedding. Yes, this means no urinating, no shitting or bathing. It is believed that by performing this custom, the couple lead a happy married life. Apparently, forcing them to hold their bladders and poop for three days strengthens the bond between the couple.
13. The Malagasy tribe dance with dead bodies in Madagascar.
As part of the Famadihana custom followed by the Malagasy tribe, people literally dance with dead bodies. After bringing bodies of ancestors from their burial place, they re-wrap them in fresh cloth and dance around the tomb to live music. This tradition is done once in seven years.
14. Each year, an event is oraganised in Turkey where two male camels fight it out with each other.
Ever heard of camel fighting? Not so much? Well, people of Turkey are quite enthusiastic about this event where two male camels fight it out with each other. This event is organised during the mating season and it’s during this time that the camels have a natural instinct to fight off the other male.
15. In Thailand, women from the Karen tribe wear rings to have a giraffe’s neck.
The Karen tribe from Thailand are fascinated with long necks for some reason and they’ve gone a long way to achieve it. Women from the tribe wear huge rings around their neck to elongate the shape of their neck as they see it as a symbol of beauty and elegance. Girls start wearing rings around their necks when they are 5 years old. And, more rings are added as they grow up.