The world that we are living in is truly an interesting place, with its different culture that is diversed just like its people. For many years, different people from different parts of the world practice various types of rituals, customs and traditions. Some of these rituals might even sound borderline absurd to some, while others may find it fascinating. One thing about these kind of practices is that they were first introduced and initiated by our ancestors. From cutting off fingertips to hanging coffins in caves, humankind has come up with some astonishingly bizarre cultural practices, here are six of the strangest cultural practices around the world that are still carried out today:
- Cutting off fingers
If you think having a cut on your finger from cutting onions is a nightmare, picture it being a ritual, on purpose! When there is a death of a family member in the Dani tribe of Indonesia plays a vast amount of emotional and, for women, physical pain. Emotional grief is one thing, and for the women, especially, will physically express that grief by cutting off a segment of their fingers. The fingers are tied with a string for about thirty minutes to numb. The practice is performed by first tying a string around the upper half of the finger for about thirty minutes long, this is to numb the pain and ‘painlessly’ remove a part of their finger. Once amputated, the new fingertips are burned to create new scar tissue. Believe it or not, this is performed as a means to satisfy ancestral ghosts, and occasionally, still practiced by the tribe.
2. Living with the dead
Yep, you read that right. The Toraja people of Indonesia practice a ritual of ‘waking up the dead’, digging out the corpses of their fellow villagers. The corpse is dressed in special garments and paraded around the village. These corpses include bodies of children and bodies that are already decades old. These corpses “live” at home with them, sometimes for years after their deaths. They have their own rooms, are washed and clothes are regularly changed. Food and cigarettes are also brought to them twice a day, and they have a bowl in the corner that acts as their “toilet”.
3. Spitting on the bride at weddings in Greece
A very old Greek tradition is to spit on the newlyweds, but not quite literally. Guests will pretend to spit on the bride and groom to protect them from any evil spirits on their special day. For greater luck, it is generally done three times. The Greeks do this at other special occasions too, such as baptisms to acknowledge the beauty and good health of the baby.
4. Throwing cinnamon to those still single at 25
If you live in Denmark and you are still single at 25, people have the right to throw cinnamon at you. So on your 25th birthday, it basically gives people social license to cover you with cinnamon. Contrary to what the actions suggest, nobody is being judged or frowned upon for still being single at 25. The average age of men getting married in Denmark is 34 and for women, 32. It might look like it’s a punishment, but the tradition is basically just an excuse to have fun, play a prank and be silly with your friends.
5. Hanging coffins
In Sagada, Philippines, there is an old tradition where people hang their coffins in limestone caves. It was carried out by the Igorot tribe of Mountain Province, which became a belief among the people in the northern Philippines. It is believed that this ritual prevents monsters and beasts from taking the dead bodies, and purifies or blesses the souls that have departed.
Are there any interesting rituals in your home country you that could top all this up? Do share!