Although we are living in the 21st century, some communities are still stuck with old-age traditions. While some traditions are mystical, some are weird and gloomy.
In a world with several religions, states, and rituals, it is clear to notice weird customs, strange traditions, gaze at magnificent sights, and try to understand what the hell and why the hell people are doing.
When it comes to celebration, there are some traditions which have been doing the rounds across the world. Sometimes, when people are noticed pleasing their gods, there are some who perform actions as a part of the legacy.
Well, everyone has different reasons to celebrate the deaths and births of their forefathers and young ones. While there are some rituals which may not be connected to our minds and hearts, there are some old and bizarre traditions and beliefs which have a completely new story to tell. The social behavior and standards found in human societies sometimes scare us, but for some, these are the values transferred through their ancestors.
To this, if you are also raised in western society, some cultural practices and marriage rituals may surprise you. And if you try to delve deeper into this, you may find that there’s no end to these weird customs.
Living with the dead is one of the most strange and weirdest cultures noticed around the world. Indonesian people (Toraja people) or some ethnic groups of Indonesia are practicing this ritual from thousands of years. People here strongly believe in the concept of an afterlife and do something extremely bizarre with the corpse.
In Indonesia, people wrap the dead person in special clothes and keep them safe in the house for months (before laying them to rest) instead of disposing of them. Not only this, they treat them as a living member.
The family members bring food for them several times a day. Even the body is cleaned with a solution of water and formaldehyde and groomed daily. The dead body is injected with a preservative called Formalin which prevents the body from further decomposition.
After friends and relatives have gathered at ceremonial sites, the funeral begins which spans for days. After the funeral festivities, the body is not buried in the ground. It is then placed in the box and buried in a cave. If any child dies, the body is hung off from a cliff with thick rope until the rope decays, and the coffin falls to the ground which is then reattached. People believe that this ritual ensures good luck for the deceased. The family members even pose with the deceased for a new family portrait.
Every year in August, their families return to the caves, take the body out, and again change the clothes. This strange cultural practice is known as ‘The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses’ (Ma’nene).
The kidnapping of a girl is legal! Yes, you read it right; this disturbing custom is followed by Roman gypsies. Bride kidnapping or marriage by abduction has been practiced across the world throughout history. In most countries, marriage by abduction is referred to as a sex crime and not a legal form of marriage.
Kidnapping bride in Kyrgyzstan also means that you have won her heart and got the right to marry her. The ritual is all about a man kidnapping the girl with the help of his friends and asking for parent’s consent later. Men are also allowed to keep the girl as a hostage for 4-5 days.
This strange custom of bride kidnappings forces the girl to accept her kidnapper. If she refuses, she would then never be considered for marriage again.
Having fun before the wedding sounds great, but this pre-wedding tradition in Scotland is not much enjoyed by the bride. This strange custom involves throwing spoilt milk, rotten eggs and everything at her. The bride or groom is taken into friend’s custody, and then they throw paint or adhesive-like soot on them. When they are fully covered with such things, they are paraded around the city.
Well, there is no such rule for throwing of milk and eggs, it is just that the couple must be uncomfortable and messy. Blackening the bride and groom is celebrated in rural areas of Northern Isles and north-east Scotland.
The origin of this bizarre tradition is not known; however, it is believed that it has evolved from the Scottish ritual called the feet washing. People following the ritual believe that this weird tradition prepares the bride and groom for their new life and upcoming marital problems.
The death of a family member in Indonesia not only gives emotional pain to women but it also gives physical pain. Women from this tribe express their grief by cutting a part of their fingers. It is done to satisfy ancestral ghosts. Before being amputated, the fingers are tied with a string for nearly thirty minutes to make them soft and numb. Once amputated, the fingertips are burnt. But why only women??? What’s more shocking is that this bizarre tradition is still followed in some parts of Indonesia.
Now, this funny custom followed by the Tidong tribe might surprise you. This strange cultural practice from northern Borne does not allow the newlyweds to use the bathroom for three days. Yes, just after the wedding, the couple is banned for bathing, urinating and defecating. The tribe believes that this lame custom leads to a happy, fertile, and blissful married life. If this tradition is broken, it may result in bad luck.
No defecating or urinating for three days!! Eww! Relax the bride and groom’s family ensures that the couple drinks very small amounts. But we are just wondering what would happen if any one of them has digestion problems! LOL ;)
Wearing neck rings is another weirdest culture from around the world that heralds only women. This ring tradition is mainly followed by Thailand’s Karen Tribe. According to this ritual, Brass rings are coiled around the neck of women since 2-3 years of age to get a large neck because the long neck indicates the symbol of elegance and beauty. More and more rings are added as they grow up.
For centuries, the young girls of the tribe are bearing this painful process of the brass coils as a tradition. To begin this process, initially, a single brass coil is wrapped around the girl’s neck when the bones are flexible and small. As she grows, more coils are added every few years. Legend says that this brass ring protects the women from tiger attacks. It also protects them from men of other tribes by reducing their beauty.
Their elongated neck is just an illusion. Their necks do not increase in length, but the weight of the ring presses down and compresses the rib cage forcing the shoulder to fall.
Whatever the origin is, the stretched neck look identifies these women as Padaung.
However, many people in Thailand consider this tradition as an insane fashion which should be banned.
This old and bizarre tradition in China is followed by the Miao community. Although there are only 5000-6000 people left in the community, the tradition is still practiced and is going stronger. This unusual custom and the weird culture is all about weaving the hair of dead and weaving a wig out of it.
Not only this, women who comb their hair keep safe their shredded hair strands to weave a wig. The hairpieces are carefully woven round horn-shaped headdresses to the heads of the young girls and women. Every wig woven is passed down from generation and includes not only yarn and twine but also hairs of the female ancestors which are claimed to be hundreds of years old.
These wigs are then worn on occasions such as big feasts and weddings. Even men belonging to Miao community once followed this practice, but they couldn’t manage long hairs, and then they left this tradition.
Each year in Thailand, nine-day celebration or Vegetarian Festival is organized in Phuket. This culture in October celebrates the abstinence of meat during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. During this event, people strictly follow the vegetarian diet to invite good fortune. Additionally, people walk around the town with swords, needles and knives penetrated in the body. They believe that by doing this, god appears in them and saves them from bad luck.
Vegetarian festival is mostly recognized for the striking images of women and men with their mouths pierced with guns and large blades.
The list of weirdest cultures from around the world would not be complete without mentioning the strange cultural practice of foot binding in China. Practiced in China, the bound feet tradition was considered the symbol of beauty. For centuries, the young girls in China have gone through the painful process of foot binding. In the tradition, feet of young girls were wrapped in tight bandages by breaking their bones.
It is calculated that by the 19th century, nearly 50% of Chinese women may have bound feet (aka Lotus feet). There have been many attempts to end this tradition during the Qing dynasty in 1664 but failed. However, this strange ritual is now prohibited because it can paralyze the girl forever.
Every country has its ritual of welcoming young people into adulthood. In America or other countries where adolescents or sweet sixteen is celebrated with a party, the age (16) is exceptionally painful for Satere-Mawe people. When some parents allow their kids to experience things on their own and let them survive through adulthood, particularly in Amazon, young boys must prove their adulthood by following a painful tradition. When the boy becomes sexually mature, he goes out with a medicine man to find bullet ants. The bullet ants are known to have the most toxic sting in the world.
The young men gather the ants and make them sleep by inducing some herbs given by medicine man. Then they place the ants inside a glove. When the ants wake up, they become aggressive and sting on the hands. It is said that the sting of these ants can be compared to the bullet hitting the flesh.
While they bear this pain, the young men perform a ritual dance for 10-15 minutes. Satere-Mawe has to do this ritual at least 20 times in their lifetime.
From cutting off fingertips to wearing neck rings, we have come up with some bizarre traditions and strange customs. They may seem absurd, but people believe that these strange cultural practices teach them some important lessons about life.
Next time, when you see something weird or strange customs followed by natives, don’t directly jump on to the conclusion. They may have a good and strong reason for their actions.
Have you ever participated or experienced any of these weird cultures from around the world? If so, drop your comments below and let us know how was it.
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