Every society, tribe or religion is said to have customs. However, some traditions are so strange and obnoxious that they make you question the ideology behind them. Here are five such examples:
You may have come across stories about human-meat eaters, but this is a custom followed strictly in Varanasi, India by the “aghori babas.” These babas are said to devour the flesh of the dead. The reason behind doing this is to overcome man’s fear of death by confronting death in one of the worst ways possible. Eating the flesh of the dead is their pathway to spiritual enlightenment. In Hinduism, pregnant women, children, pious men, unmarried women and people who were bitten by snakes or died of leprosy cannot be cremated. Thus, the body of these people is floated in the Ganges, from where the aghori babas pull them out and devour them.
This is not the normal kind of piercing. It is the extreme level of piercing and takes place in Phuket, Thailand as a custom. At the Annual Vegetarian Festival that takes place in September or October, men and women are seen puncturing their cheeks with sharp objects such as spears, knives, hooks and other pointy items. The festival’s highlight is the belief that they will be protected from the immense pain and suffering by the Chinese gods who enter the body during the festival. The outcome is usually scars on the face and the hope that the community will be free from all evil.
You know all about plastic surgery and Botox that make enhancements to your body, but this ritual practiced by a tribe in Papua New Guinea is excruciating and strange. The Kaningara Tribe cuts the skin of boys to turn them into men. The idea is to create a harmony between the environment and the spirit. The boys are required to be secluded in Haus Tambaran (The Spirit House) for two months after which they undergo the skin cutting, which is carried out by an expert. The skin cutting is done by sharp bamboo pieces and resembles crocodile skin marks. The belief is that the crocodile is the creator of man and the marks symbolize the spirit of the crocodile that ate the boy and expelled a grown man in its place.
Benin, a Western African nation, is the birth place of voodoo where it is practiced as an official religion. The people of Benin believe that a connection with Sakpata, the spirit of Earth, is necessary and a person is selected as a vessel from which the spirit form will transfer energy. The person is sent into the forest for three days during which he/she remains unconscious as the earth spirit takes over. He is without food and water and is revived back with another ceremony of rituals.
Tree Of Life
Another ritual that is carried out to connect with the spirit of earth is conducted by Native Americans. They believe that being connected to the “Tree of Life,” they will be able to channel the earth spirit into the body of a person up for sacrifice. The said person will be connected to the Tree of Life via a spear or skewer lodged in his body and is connected with a rope to a pole, which is the Tree of Life. The person will try to break free by moving back and forth. This dance will take place for hours until it is completed by the person breaking it free.