The 10 Strangest Traditions All Over the World

There are many strange rituals followed around the world and here are a few to knock your socks off!

1 – Bullet Ant Ritual

The Bullet Ant Ritual is a ritual of a rite of passage for men that belong in the Satere-Mawe tribe from the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. The tribe believed that for a boy to become a man, he would have to endure the pain of the sting of HUNDREDS of bullet ants. The ants are known to have the most painful sting in the Schmidt Sting Pain Index and these are woven into a leaf net glove. The boy should wear this glove for a particular amount of time in several intervals. After the painful coming of age ritual, the men come home with swollen hands and a very painful experience to last them a lifetime!

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2 – Carrying the Bride Over Coals

According to an ancient Chinese tradition, the groom should carry his bride over a stretch of burning coals towards their new home. This will ensure that the woman will have a smooth and painless delivery of their children and will also guarantee that their lives will be free from any hardships. The couple is cheered by their families and guests as the groom lifts his new wife on to his back or carries her bridal style over the skin-piercing hot coals! HOT LOVE huh?


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3 – Tibetan Sky Burials

Sky burial has been practiced in the Chinese provinces of Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia. This ritual involves placing the human corpse on the mountaintop and then leaving it there for birds of prey and the elements to decompose it. The locations where sky burials are done in are called Charnel grounds. This practice is deemed as the most practical rather than the traditional Buddhist practice of cremation since fuel and timber are scarce and of course, the ground in Tibet and Qinghai is too rocky to dig a grave.

Tibetan Sky Burials

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4 – Cheese Rolling Festival

The annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is held every Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester in England. Originally it was attended by villagers of Brockworth, but now people from all over the world come and take part in this festival. From the top of the hill, a 9 pound double Gloucester cheese is rolled and competitors race after it. The first person to finish at the bottom of the hill will win the cheese. The cheese can reach speeds of up to 70 mph which is enough to knock over and injure anyone in its way.


5 – Yanomami Ash Eating

The Yanomami tribe are a Venezuelan indigenous group that practice endocannibalism. They consume the ashes of their dead which are mixed in plantain soup. The dead are burned along with their bones and then pounded into ash. This is then mixed in soup and then served to members of the family of the dead. There was a time when the Yanomami used to bury their dead, however, tradition of eating their dead’s ashes began when a famous Yanomami man named Poreimi burned his son and ate his ashes. Before Poreimi died, he instructed his family to do the same to him and to their own dead and thus began the weird tradition of eating the ashes of their dead.

Yanomami Ash Eating

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6 – Kanamara Matsuri

The Kanamara Matsuri is the Festival of the Steel Phallus; it is held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. The penis is celebrated in this event and it is reflected in just about anything in the festival. There are food, candy and vegetables carved in the phallic shape and there are also decorations, parades, statues, costumes and illustrations of penises as well. The local shrine was once a popular destination for prostitutes praying for protection from STDs, but now the festival has gained fame as a religious festival to pray for marriage, easy delivery and harmony in a marriage couple’s life. At present, the festival is attended by people all around the world and has been able to raise money for HIV research.

Kanamara Matsuri

7 – Baby Tossing

The Indian Baby-Dropping ritual is celebrated in Baba Umer Durga, a Muslim shrine near Sholapur, India. This dangerous ritual involves dropping a baby from a height of 50 feet and caught in a sheet held by men. Hindu and Muslim parents participate in this event in the belief that this ritual will ensure the good health of their infants and prosperity of their families. This ritual is said to be isolated and rare, occurring for nearly 700 years in a few villages in Maharashtra. To date, no injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of this horrific ritual.


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8 – Bride Kidnapping

Marriage by abduction or bride kidnapping is a practice that has been prevalent throughout history. It is when a man abducts a woman that he wishes to marry. In some places, this practice is a crime. However, there are countries that allow this to happen. It occurs in countries in Central Asia, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, in parts of Europe and in Mexico. Some cultures practice bride kidnapping as a part of traditions surrounding weddings.

Bride Kidnapping

9 – Funeral Rituals of Toraja

It is very expensive to bury the dead in Toraja, Indonesia. The feast and the funeral alone may cost a small fortune. It is said that the more elaborate the funeral, the more important the person is. Therefore the relatives and friends of the dead place their dead family members in a makeshift coffin and do all they can to preserve their bodies. When the family has finally saved enough funds, they dress their dead in fancy clothes and guide them as they walk the streets to their funeral. The relatives slaughter cattle, chickens and cook dishes enough to feed hundreds of people. Finally, a sacrificial buffalo is presented and stabbed to the heart in front of all the guests and onlookers. The meat is distributed according to the status of the families. A funeral in Toraja is definitely a celebration of the dead as well as the living.

Family members hold up a mummy before giving it new clothes in a ritual in the Toraja district of Indonesia's South Sulawesi Province

10 – Blackening the Bride and Groom

This unusual event is held in Scotland just before the bride and the groom get married. This ritual involves throwing different things to the couple like treacle, soot, flour and feathers and afterwards the two are then paraded into the village. It is believed that the couple that experiences blackening will have a lucky life together and will avoid embarrassments in their married life.

Blackening the Bride and Groom


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