Rituals have been a major part of people’s lives since the very beginning, and they still are today. Nowadays, rituals include the Holy Communion (with Catholics, among others) and not human sacrifice or self-castration. Some of the rituals that humans used to perform throughout history are downright dangerous and would be more than frowned upon today. Even though most of these rituals have been outlawed, there are still people who practice them. Perhaps it’s also these rituals that set cultures apart. What’s normal in Europe is abnormal in Asia, and what’s a regular ritual in Asia or Africa is a act of extreme violence for Europeans, for instance. The rituals a people practice are a part of that people’s culture and is very hard for the outsiders to understand!
Here are three strange rituals of the past!
The Yanomamo tribe, which lives in Southern America – in Venezuela and Brazil – forbids keeping any part of the body after death. The bodies are cremated, the bones crushed and added to the ashes and the family members of the deceased must eat them. Of course, the culture of this tribe seems strange to us, but to them, it’s something normal.
2. Sky Burial
Was performed by Buddhist monks in Tibet, and was banned in 1960 and then legalized in 1980. Some still practice it today. What is it exactly? Buddhist believe that a soul rebirths and the former body becomes useless. So they take the dead to a mountaintop, cut the body into pieces which they scatter around and are left for the scavengers to eat.
Performed by the Tibetan monks, self-mummification is a horrendous and slow process. They would start by going on a seeds-only diet which lasted for three years, during which time they would undergo a strenuous physical activity regime, to remove all body fat. Then they would eat only bark and roots for another three years, during which time they would also start drinking a poisonous tea, made from a sap usually used for lacquering bowls. This caused vomiting and a fast drain of bodily fluids, and killed off any maggots that might have caused the body to decay after death. Finally, the monk would lock himself in a tomb only a bit larger than himself and remain unmoved in a lotus position. He would have a bell which he rang daily to let the others know that he’s alive. When the bell rang no more, the tomb was sealed for eternity.
Such rituals are horrifying and should be forever outlawed. However, due to some religious convictions,or to specific cultures, people are still willing to undergo painful procedures or deaths. Do you know other examples of strange rituals?
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