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30 August 2012

The 5 Strange Rituals of the World

Every culture and society has its own customs and rituals. These rituals have their own origins and roots. Some of these rituals are considered, weird, bizarre, insane and totally out of the screws, but not for those who practise them. For them, these strange rituals serve a special purpose. This contradiction in views is what makes the human civilization so diverse and beautiful. Below is my list of the top 5 strange rituals of the world.

Strange Birth Ritual

Sifudu (Africa)

The birth of a baby is an important occasion in all cultures around the world. The occasion is marked by prayers and blessings to welcome the new member in the family. But sometimes, these blessing ceremonies can go to strange limits. Sifudu is an important custom practised in different African tribes. On the third day of birth of the child, relatives gather at the hut, picking leaves from the Sifudu tree. A small fire is made at the centre of the hut and the Sifudu leaves are burnt to produce a thin pall of smoke. The leaves have an extremely pungent aroma that irritates mouth, nose and eyes. Then the baby is carried by a woman with his head downward in the smoke and is passed several times through the smoke and is then handed back to the mother who quickly passes the child under her leg.
It is believed that the ritual ensures that the child is never subjected to fright, timidness or shyness.

Strange Death Ritual

Suttee (India)

There's no place better known than India when it comes to talking about strange beliefs. These strange beliefs give rise some of the worlds strangest rituals. One of them is the infamous custom of Suttee.
Suttee or self cremation involves widows who voluntarily lie by her dead husband's side on his funeral pyre to be burnt alive with the corpse.
Suttee is a very old Hindu custom practised in India for many centuries until it was banned by the British in 1829.
The widow is considered a bad omen in the Hindu society. She is not allowed to attend social gatherings and everything from her touch to her presence is considered extremely impure. Although the core idea behind this strange custom is to reunite the couple in afterlife, most of the outsiders and even many Indians see this as just inhumanity.

Strange Marriage Ritual

Blackening of Bride (Scotland)

Marriage is one of the most joyous occasions in all cultures and countries. An occasion filled with laughter, joy and happiness. But it can become an occasion of craziness in Scotland.
The Scottish people are not like any other European. Their men wear skirts and they can make music out of a bag. But even more bizarre is what they do with their newly wed bride. Instead of throwing rice, the Scots welcome their bride with eggs and sauces on her face. They dub this strange ritual as the "blackening of bride".
"Blackening of bride" is a very old pre-marriage ritual practiced in Scotland. The bride is taken by surprise, or rather by shock, as the friends and family cover her with any gross they can think of. It can be anything from curdled milk, rotten eggs, and molasses to mud and syrups.

Strange Food Ritual

Burping (Egypt)

While burping is considered rude and ill-mannered in the West, the Egyptians have a different point of view. In Egypt, burping is the highest compliment a guest can remark on the quality of food made for them.
So, now you have a nice way to please your Egyptian hosts.

Strange Initiation Ritual

The Bullet Ant Gloves (South America)

Initiation is the ceremony marking the entrance into a group or community. Initiation rites are held in all cultures in order to transform a child into an adult. The most common examples include the Christian ceremony of "baptism" or the Hindu "diksha". While it may not sound like much to many people, many cultures have quite painful ways of initiation. One of the most extreme of these initiation rites are found among the Mawe people of South America. They use intentional Bullet Ant stings as part of their initiation rites. The stings of these Bullet Ants are so painful that they are compared to bullet shots, this is where the name comes from.
First the ants are collected and are rendered unconscious by keeping them in a natural sedative. Then hundreds of them are woven in pair of gloves made out of leaves. The boys are then asked to wear the gloves for at least 10 minutes. The neurotoxic of bullet ants paralysis the hands and cause intense pain, even more than the sting of a tarantula. The boys have to repeat the ritual for 20 times before they become a "warrior".

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