As the lunar new year and along with it the dreadful visit of uncles, aunts, grand uncles, cousins, and second cousins, the importance of traditions and cultural obligations becomes very clear upon stepping foot into a late relatives house. Whether it be something as simple as footwear not being worn indoors to other less desirable customs, it becomes apparent that traditions by public perception are may not be considered as normal.
So without further ado, here are 5 of the craziest traditions from places around the world!
5. The Sateré-Mawé Tribe’s Rite of Passage
If you’re afraid of bugs and/or pain, then why not spend a summer in the jungles of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil! The Sateré-Mawé are an indigenous tribe with a particularly scary rite of passage for the youthful members of the cohort; that of wearing a bullet ant infused glove-like apparatus on both hands for five minutes without succumbing too badly towards the pain. Bullet ants are known for their incredibly painful sting, coming in with a rating of 4 on the Schmidt sting pain index (which by the way, only ranges from 1 – 4); and mind you that’s only for a single measly bullet ant. Imagine that times 100, as that is roughly the amount of bullet ants which are weaved into a single sleeve.
The process involves a collected amount of bullet ants, which are all then bill cosby’d using a concoction of natural ingredients. After rendered unconscious, the ants are weaved into sleeves with the stingers faced inside. The poor fool who’s ready to graduate boyhood then undergoes the ritual by sticking both arms into the sleeves, whereas the ants who have just awakened from their drunken stupor began a stinging frenzy due to the coming out of their comatose state. The pain that people undergo has been noted to have quite the longevity, with some of it lasting for 24 hours.
4. Land Diving in the Pacific Islands
Land diving, otherwise known as Bungee jumping’s off-breed cousin, is you guessed it—yet another rite of passage ritual. This time, shared by the people on the Southern part of the pentecost islands in Vanuatu. If you couldn’t guess by the picture above, the tradition uses rather primitive methods of creating a successful bungee system with lianas, and constructing the tower with rudimentary branches and pieces cut down from trees.
Much like the previous entry, the rite of passage is for when younger individuals are coming of age; particularly after they’ve become circumcised. Only then are they are deemed worthy enough for the jump, however they are limited to only the lower levels… being that of 10 feet high.
3. The Human Pyramids of Janmashtami
The Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of the god Krishnu, otherwise known as Janmashtami, has a rather dangerous event that many in India like to partake in, which is that of a human pyramid. The process involves the use of dozens of people, all of whom try their best at positioning themselves in a way that allows them to “stack themselves” into a tower structure so that they may reach the pot hanging above them to break. The dailyWOW team covered a story on them in late 2018, check it out above!
2. Fire Running
Need some cardio? Well this tradition perhaps may not be best for you as it rather requires more of a slow paced walk rather than a full blown sprint! Fire walking is one of the more gutsy traditions carried out during Thimiti, a hindu festival celebrated in the Southern part of India within a region known as Tamil Nadu. The practice, which involves the laying out of 3 meters of hot coal and other burning embers, has individuals try and make it across barefooted as a symbolism of Draupadi (a major character in an ancient Hindu epic) for when she walked across a bed of coal to prove her innocence. A rather heroic feat to say the least!
1. Cheese Wheeling
A worthy spot for perhaps the weirdest and most outlandish entry on our list, is the annual cheese wheeling competition that takes place in Gloucester, England. Don’t know what cheese wheeling is? Don’t worry, we didn’t either. But to summarize it succinctly, the event involves a very steep hill, a dozen or so eager cheese enthusiasts, and one large round cheese wheel (that can preferably roll at a consistent rate). The event uses a rather steep hill in which individuals brave enough to chase after it (at risk of great bodily harm mind you) toil and fall down towards it in hopes of being able to catch it. Of course, the odds of being able to catch the damn thing are rather slim, so officials made it so that whoever crosses the finish line at the bottom of the hill first will obtain the Gloucester cheese. If you don’t care much for breaking a few bones, then this challenge is definitely for you!
Weirded out but mystified by the world’s craziest traditions? Check out our video on the Kumbh Mela, a mass pilgrimage of faith where individuals take a dip in the dirtiest river in the world!
For other India topics, check out our other video on Fire Paan! A street snack that is literally eaten while on fire!
Author: Gerald Wan Anyi