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10 Brutal Religious Practices From Around The World

10 Brutal And Bizarre Religious Practices From Around The World

Every religion or culture has certain traditions and rituals which may seem weird to the world but are perfectly acceptable to true believers. While some rituals are peaceful and silent, there are others which are extremely painful and violent.

Before you watch this video from Nat Geo Times, here is a list of those 10 weirdest religious beliefs that are simply unbelievable:

1. Garudan Thookkam – South India, India

Devotees are hung with metal hooks to the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

Also known as Eagle Hanging, Garudan Thookkam is a famous ritual art form of Kerala. After the performance of people dressed as a Garuda, the devotees are pierced with sharp metal hooks and are hung like eagles to the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. They are then taken around the city as procession.

2. Okipa Ceremony – North Dakota, United States of America

Young men are pierced in the skin and are then suspended from the roof until they faint.

This brutal and torturous ceremony is done to prove physical courage and seek approval of the spirits in North Dakota. This involves piercing in the skin of young men who are then suspended from the roof of the lodge until they faint. This ritual is no longer practised today.

3. Sun Dance – North America

Sun Dance involves fasting for four days and then piercing the chest of the participants with a skewer that is connected to a pole called a Tree Of Life.

The native Indians of North America perform a fast for four days and then enter the holy place where their chest is pierced with a skewer that is connected to a pole. This self sacrificing ritual was banned and is now practiced in secret. The object of the sun dance is to offer personal sacrifice as a prayer for the benefit of one’s family and community.

4. Self-Flagellation

Hitting with chains and sharp objects to mourn the death of Imam Hussein.

To commemorate the Day of Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram), Shi’ite Muslims all over the world hit themselves on the back with chains and sharp objects such as knives to mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein.

5. Scarification – Papua New Guinea

Scarring and cutting of skin to represent the scales of crocodile.

Practised by the Chambri Tribe of Papua New Guinea, Scarification is an ancient initiation tradition for boys entering manhood in which their skin is cut and scarred to represent the scales of a crocodile.

6. Eating the dead – Amazon, Brazil

Eating ashes of a burnt dead-body mixed with bananas.

The people of Yanomami tribe of Amazon believe that death is an unnatural phenomenon. They eat ashes of the burnt dead body mixed with bananas. It is done, they believe, so that the dead person lives forever among themselves.

7. Sky Burial – Tibet

Bodies of the deceased people are chopped off and are then offered to the vultures.

Sky burial is the usual means for disposing of the corpses of commoners by offering them to vultures. Tibetans believe that vultures are angel-like figures that will take the souls to the heaven.

8. Dancing with the dead – Madagascar, Africa

Funerary tradition during which family crypts are opened up.

Also known as Famadihana, Dancing with the dead is a funerary tradition during which the family crypts are opened up and the remains of dead ancestors are brought out to be wrapped in a new cloth. Music, dance and animal sacrifice are also a part of this festival.

9. Teeth Chiseling – Indonesia

Teeth are chiseled with crude instruments to make women more beautiful.

A tribe in Indonesia considers women with chiseled pointy-sharp teeth more beautiful. This ritual is performed with crude instruments and without any anesthesia. After the procedure, they are given green bananas to dull the pain. The tribe also believes that teeth chiseling maintain a balance between the body and the soul.

10. Gol – Bunlap, Vanuatu

Men tie vines to their ankles and jump headfirst from a tower.

The Gol or land diving is an ancient ritual performed by the Bunlap people in which men tie vines to their ankles and jump headfirst from a tower. It is a ritual performed for rich yam harvest and also for proving manhood. The Gol inspired the modern sport of Bungee Jumping.

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