Some weird and strange cultures around the World might sound unbelievable or impossible to the educated or the information age generation. In a world with several religions, cultures, and rituals, it is normal to notice weird customs, strange traditions and try to understand what people are doing.
When it comes to celebration, there are some traditions that have been doing the rounds across the world. Different cultures have different traditions. While some are distinctively charming, others are downright bizarre.
Most bizarre cultures are products of nature or teachings passed down from generations.
Here are some lists of weird traditions and cultures around the world.
1. Living with the dead (Indonesia)
Living with the dead is one of the most strange and weirdest cultures noticed around the world. 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 burying them. Not only this, but they also treat them as living members.
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 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 corpse is dressed in special garments and paraded around the village while special care is taken to clean the body, the corpse’s garments, and coffin. If someone’s death took place outside the village, the corpse will be taken to the spot of death before being walked back to the village as an act of returning home.
2. Next level coal walking (China)
According to Chinese customs, a husband should carry his bride over a pan of burning hot coals when entering their home for the first time.
According to tradition, the ritual ensures that the wife will have an easy and successful labor. Firewalking is also performed by some Chinese people as a means to prevent natural disaster.
3. Monkey Buffet Festival (Thailand)
Monkies enjoy food during an annual monkey buffet festival at an ancient temple in Lopburi province in northen Thailand
In the province of Lopburi, Thailand, the local monkeys are treated to a special feast at one of the strangest festivals in the world.
Fruits, flowers, cake, and candy are set up buffet-style on tables in Lopburi’s downtown area. The monkeys are attracted by the food and come in hoards to enjoy their annual feast.
As you can imagine, this festival has become popular with tourists and takes place on November 25 each year.
4. Bride Kidnapping (Kyrgyzstan)
In Kyrgyzstan, kidnapping a bride 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.
5. Cutting Off Fingers When Someone Dies (Indonesia)
The death of a family member in the Dani tribe 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. This bizarre tradition is still followed in some parts of Indonesia
6. Endocannibalism (Yanomami, Amazon)
The Yanomami tribe who reside in the Amazon rainforest bordering Venezuela and Brazil are repelled by the idea of burying the dead.
They believe that no physical trace of the body should be left in order to allow the spirit to rest in peace.
They are known for their tradition of endocannibalism: consuming the flesh of a member of one’s own tribe, usually, after they’ve died. The ash and the bone powder obtained after the cremation is mixed into a plantain soup which is consumed by the deceased’s family.
By doing this, the Yanomami believe the soul of their lost and loved one will reside within them.
7. No Bathroom for Three Days after Wedding (Borneo)
This strange culture is practiced by the Tidong tribe from Borneo, the largest Indonesian island. The newlyweds are not allowed to use the bathroom for three days. Just after the wedding, the couple is banned from bathing, urinating, and defecating.
The tribe believes that this custom leads to a happy, fertile, and blissful married life. Breaking the rules of the observation will bring bad luck in their married life like stillbirth and death.
Relatives of the couple supervise them over the three days after which they are bathed and may answer their calls of nature.
8. Wearing Neck Rings (Thailand)
Wearing neck rings is another weird culture from around the world that heralds only women.
This ring tradition is mainly followed by Thailand’s Kayan Tribe.
According to this ritual, Brass rings are coiled around the neck of women from 2-3 years of age to get a long 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.
the Padaung women of Kayan people, Myanmar and The South Ndebele peoples of Africa also wear neck rings to show off their wealth and status.
9. Vegetarian Festival (Thailand)
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 to 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.
10. Bullet Ant Gloves (Satere-Mawe, Amazon)
Every country has its ritual of welcoming young people into adulthood. In America or other countries where adolescents are 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.
11. Night Hunting (Bhutan)
Known as Bomena in eastern parts of the Himalayan kingdom, young men looking for love and marriage set out at night for a different kind of hunt.
They break into the rooms of eligible spinsters and spend the night there. If caught, they have to marry the girl or work in her father’s fields as a punishment.
This tradition is much debated today as women are subjected to rape and an invasion of privacy.
12. Lip-Plating Or Lip-Disking (Ethiopia)
If you look at the Mursi women of Ethiopia, you will notice a very weird thing. They insert clay plates into the lips of Mursi women to cause the lips to stretch.
Besides the Mursi people, this very weird culture is practiced among the Chai and Tirma people too.
When a girl of the Mursi tribe reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is cut and when after 3 or 4 months the cut is healed, they insert lip-plate (dhebi a tugoin) into the lips.
Researches say that these certain disfigurations are done to show female strength and self-esteem.
Shiite Muslims are well known for their martyrdom, and Ashura is no exception.
Ashura is an event recognized by many Muslims around the world for various reasons.
For some Shiites, the day is observed in commemoration of the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad, at the 7th century battle of Karbala.
Hussein, along with his comrades, was repeatedly struck on the head with daggers.
Today, selected men join a procession and flagellate themselves with daggers to the head, among other means, in order to pay tribute and absolve sin; people spill their own blood and those of their relatives to mourn the fact that they were not being present to save Hussein.
14. Thaipusam (India)
Celebrated by Hindus in Southern India and South East Asia, the festival of Thaipusam observes the victory of Lord Murugan over an evil spirit.
Devotees pierce themselves with sharp objects through different parts of their bodies while going into a complete trance.
Some even go as far as pulling vehicles with hooks pierced into their backs.
15. Tooth Filing (Bali)
While most of us file our nails, Balinese men and women have their teeth filed in preparation for marriage.
Smoothed teeth are symbolic of control over sinful emotions like lust, greed, anger, and jealousy.
These mark passage into adulthood, and is extremely grueling and painful experiences.
While some of these traditions are no more in existence due to civilization, It is still being practiced in the remote parts of the continent.