The history of world rituals dates back to time immemorial. The world has witnessed the birth of numerous religions and saw the evolution of a number of customs and rituals associated with them. With the advancement of science and technology, and with the social change being in the process, some parts of the world prefer to live with their age-old traditions. Let us see some of those rituals which still exist in some parts of the world.
- Walking on the fire
This is a strange ritual celebrated as a part of the Theemithi festival in South India. As a part of the ritual, people had to walk barefoot on a pit which is filled up with burning charcoal or firewood. The participants have to walk slowly on it, as if they are taking a leisurely stroll. This strange ritual is done in the honour of Hindu goddess Draupati Amman and has to prove that they are pious.
This is a horrid ritual from Papua New Guinea and is called Kaningara. It is a practice where a cutter marks the body of a person with a sharp piece of bamboo which results in a skin pattern resembling that of a crocodile. The local people believe that crocodiles created humans and making your skin look like a crocodile strengthens your bonding with the nature.
This is perhaps the most horrific rituals on the list, but yes, cannibalism exists in India. The Aghoris, who live in Varanasi, are notorious for eating the dead. They believe that the human beings are most scared of their death and it prohibits them from reaching spiritual enlightenment. So, this is an act which removes this block.
- Bull fighting
This highly controversial Jallikattu has been in the news of late. It is one of the most dangerous sports in India where a group of youth try their best to tame a bull or hang on to it in return for a reward. This is almost similar to the Spanish counterpart of bullfighting, where the bulls are kept in starvation for days; here they are force fed alcohol, their testicles are pinched and chili powder is sprinkled in their eyes to infuriate them.
- Flagellation on Muharram
This is an ancient ritual performed by the Shia Muslims on the day of Muharram to commemorate the death of Hussain, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. In this weird ritual, people along with going for a mourning procession, they inflict pain on themselves by flogging or whipping and bleed.
- Baby Toss
A weird and disturbing custom is followed in Karnataka and Maharashtra where a baby is tossed from the roof, 200 feet from the ground and a group of men and women who holds a cloth, wait there to catch the baby. This ritual is believed to bring good luck for the family.
- Amputation of your finger
This is a gruesome ritual from Japan. In order to atone for one’s offence, this ritual is practised. The ritual seems to have originated from gambling where if a person is accused of failing to pay off the debt, that person has to chop off the tip of his fingers as a mode of alternate payment.
In Phuket, in the Annual Vegetarian Ritual, the participants in the festival have to pierce themselves with some sharp objects like knives, hooks, spears. They believe that God enter their body through this piercing and it cleanses their soul.
- Eating the ash of the dead
This is a bizarre ritual practised in Brazil and Venezuela, where the inhabitants actually eat the ashes of their nearest dead one. They believe that this is the only way they can keep their deceased one close to them.
- Binding the feet
This is a highly publicized ritual followed in China where they bind the foot so tightly that they don’t grow big. Ancient Chinese society believed that big foot was ugly. The custom was banned in 1949 on the ground of being unscientific.