10 Most Bizarre Traditions From Around The World

You probably think that what your family does at Christmas is a bit weird, but I promise you that's nothing compared to these unbelievably bizarre traditions from around the world. From tossing babies off the top of a temple to literally walking with the dead, these traditions will give your quiet family Christmas a run for its money. Satere-Mawe Bullet Ant Gloves I'm sure you've heard tales of tribes, secret societies and fraternities that have strange, humiliating and sometimes painful initiation ceremonies. Well, for years the Satere-Mawe tribe of the Amazon rainforest have been looking down at such rituals and thinking "that's cute". Because no other society, tribe or civilisation has as painful an initiation or coming of age ritual as these guys. When a young boy comes of age in the Satere-Mawe tribe, before he can become a man in the eyes of his fellow tribesmen and women, he must prove himself. To do that he must insert both his hands into specially made gloves containing an angry hive of the most painful stinging animal on earth, the bullet ant. This little deviant's sting is 30 times worse than a bee sting, in fact they are called bullet ants because the pain of their sting is said to be similar to a bullet hitting your flesh. Justin Schmidt, an expert on insect stings, and author of the 'Schmidt sting pain index', ranked the sting of the bullet ant as the most painful in the world. Schmidt described the pain as "Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail in your heel." Just imagine that for a second - ouch. Now imagine sticking your hands into gloves filled with hundreds of these little devils whilst they repeatedly sting you for 10 minutes. But apparently even that's not man enough for the chiefs of the Satere-Mawe tribe, the poor boy has to repeat this agonising ritual 20 times, over the course of an entire day, before he is truly considered a man. Never mind a "man", anyone who can withstand that deserves to be king of the bloody Amazon in my opinion. Kanamara Matsuri Next we go to Japan. Come on you knew the Japanese were going to be somewhere on this list. Specifically to Kawasaki, where, on the first Sunday of April, every year, the locals host a Penis Festival. Known to the Japanese as Kanamara Matsuri. This festival is meant to celebrate fertility and the power of the penis. The festival started in 1977 and was relatively small but it has enlarged significantly in popularity in recent years, and has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. During the event there are a whole range of phallic activities to participate in, you can make penis candles, enjoy a penis shaped lollipop, try your hand at carving a penis out of a radish, or just pose with a giant penis on your head. The highlight of the festival is a parade in which a giant pink penis known as "Elizabeth" is carried around the streets by trans-gender and cross-dressing Japanese festival participants. Of course there's plenty of penis related merchandise available to purchase as well. It may look silly but it's all for a good cause. As well as its symbolic meanings, in recent years all the proceeds from the festival have been donated to HIV research. Bride Kidnapping Remember that person you had a crush on in school, whom you dreamt of eloping with? Well Romani gypsies do more than just dream about it, if they like a girl they simply take her. It's a very old and highly illegal tradition known as "bride kidnapping" and it's practiced frequently in Romani communities all around the world, where it is seen as completely normal and acceptable, even by today's standards. Basically the rules are as so, if a man likes the look of a woman, even if he has never met her before, he can forcibly kidnap her. If he can then keep her by his side for three days without her escaping, she officially become his wife, at least in the eyes of the Romani community. This practice is more formally known as "marriage by abduction". The practice is also carried out by some tribes in Central Asia and Africa. But surely the bride and her family don't approve of this new union between woman and her possibly psychopathic new husband who just subdued her with chloroform only three days earlier? Well, since the tradition is so deeply imbued within the community the bride and her family usually accept her new fate and she simply has to learn to love her new partner. Kidnapping is 100% illegal but most governments never prosecute individuals for bride kidnapping because it is a cultural tradition of an ethnic minority, and outlawing cultural traditions is not an easy thing to do and often results in somewhat of a PR nightmare. La Tomatina Most traditions have a purpose to them, some kind of hidden meaning. Not this one, I present to you the world's most pointless tradition, La Tomatina, an annual Tomato fight in the Valencian town of Buñol in Spain. On the last Wednesday of August every year, a huge crowd gather's in the town, and then comes the most bizarre initiation ceremony to ever begin a food fight. A huge greased up pole is erected with a ham on top. The tomato fight doesn't officially begin until someone is able to climb to the top of the pole and knock the ham off. You couldn't even make this stuff up. Once the ham is dislodged from it's greasy pole all hell breaks loose and the contestants lob tomatoes at each other whilst spectators shower them with water from hoses. But how did this sheer lunacy originate? The story goes that in 1945, a group of young people went to a parade in the town and were so excited that they knocked a parade participant off their float. The participant was so enraged that they went to a nearby vegetable stall and threw tomatoes at everyone in a fit of rage. Chaos ensued and eventually the police had to break up this mass vegetable fight. But they enjoyed it so much that they returned on the same date the following year and once again had a food fight of epic proportions. So yeah, there really isn't any point to it, but who cares it looks like fun. Baby Tossing For the past 500 years Indians have been chucking babies off the top of 15 metre high temples, in a ritual known as baby tossing or baby throwing. But don't worry they're not complete psychopaths, the baby is caught at the bottom in a large cloth. Okay it's still insane, but there is some method behind the madness. The ritual is believed to bring luck, prosperity and health to the new born baby. Most babies are under two years old when they undergo this barbaric treatment. The ceremony starts with the new born baby's parents saying a prayer at the temple. A large crowd then gather's and a priest, stood at the top of the temple, shakes the baby before throwing them onto the cloth below. The crowd then cheers and the baby is passed around before being returned to the parents. Child's rights campaigners have been trying to get this tradition banned for years. Walking With the Dead Funerals can be expensive and families don't always have the funds available to pay for a burial when a loved one passes away. So what do you do? Well the Toraja people of Indonesia have a very unique way of dealing with this. If they can't afford a burial, the corpse is instead dressed in garbs and placed in a temporary coffin inside the family's house. The family lives with their dead relative until they can save up enough money for a proper burial. When this time comes do they simply pick up the coffin and carry it to it's new resting place? Oh no! That's no fun. They instead raise the corpse from it's temporary coffin and ceremoniously walk the cadaver to it's final resting place, which could be miles away. Giving a whole knew meaning to life after death. Finger Cutting The Dani tribe, also from Indonesia, have a less disturbing but more gruesome way of dealing with the death of a loved one, they amputate their fingers. Or get one of their family members to amputate it for them. When a loved one passes away, relatives of the dead cut the upper part of their finger or sometimes multiple fingers off. This is meant to be a physical manifestation of the emotional pain that the mourner is feeling. It is their way of showing their grief for the deceased. The amputation is done by first tying a piece of string tightly around the finger for 30 minutes, to halt the flow of blood. A relative of the mourner then snips the top half of the finger, or fingers, off. The new ends of the amputee's fingers are then burnt in a fire to create scar tissue and prevent infections. It is usually the women in the tribe, more so than the men, who undergo this barbaric treatment. I bet the mother's in the tribe are extra careful not to ever lose sight of their children, because if anything unfortunate does happen to them, daddy's going to cut mummy's fingers off. The practice has been banned in recent years, nevertheless it still goes on. Carrying the Bride Over Hot Coals The Chinese have a peculiar wedding custom. Before a newly wed couple can cross the threshold of their new home for the first time, the husband must carry his wife, on his back, over a smouldering bed of hot coals. This ritual is meant to ensure that the wife will have an easy and successful labour. Drinking the Ashes of the Dead Next up I'm afraid is another macabre death ritual. The Yanomamo tribe of Venezuela and Brazil believe that burying a body after death and leaving them to decay is a truly horrifying prospect. So corpses are cremated as quickly as possible after death. Okay that all seems pretty normal! Well I'm afraid this is where things get weird. The tribe believe that by ingesting the remains of a loved one, their spirit will live within them forever. Yes I did just say "ingest" - that's right the Yanomamo tribe consume the ashes of their dead relatives. After cremation, the corpse's ashes and bones are crushed into a powder and mixed into a plantain soup. Chowder anyone? The ash and bone soup is then shared around the tribe and eaten. Yum! Man Down And finally, I wouldn't leave you on such a macabre note, would I? Let's cheer ourselves up by going to Russia, obviously. It's no secret that the Russian's love vodka. Former Russian leader Peter the Great who reigned in the 1700s used to greet every foreign diplomat with a 1.5 litre jug of vodka and required that the diplomat finish the entire thing to prove their trustworthiness. So it will come as no surprise that the Russian's have their own traditional drinking game, that involves - you guessed it! Lots and lots of vodka. The game is simply called "Man Down" and participants must stand in a circle each wielding a bottle of vodka. The goal is simple, keep drinking until someone falls over or passes out - and you must drink! Refusing to drink is considered an insult. Sounds like a super fun way to get alcohol poisoning!

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