Incredibly Bizarre Rituals From Around The World
Ian Marsh
Oct 05, 2018
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Have you ever wondered what kind of bizarre rituals are in the world? Believe it or not, there's quite a few out there. Through religionor tradition, rituals have been handed down for thousands of years and because of their ancient nature, many can be dangerous and disturbing. Despite the harm they cause to themselves or others, people keep doing these things. Be warned, some of these rituals are not for the faint of heart and have graphic images. With that said, here are 25 Incredibly Bizarre Rituals From Around The World.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Don't let the name fool you, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival isn't all about vegetables. During the festival, people abstain from meat for nine days. That may sound bad enough, but it gets much, much worse. To honor the animals, they shove sharp objects through their mouths and cheeks.

Throwing Babies

In India, parents of newborn babies drop their infants off the roof of a 30-foot tall shrine. The ritual is believed to give their baby good health and has been around for almost 700 years. How did this practice start? Well, when it first started, the baby mortality rate was high, and parents were desperate for answers. A saint advised the parents to drop their children as an act of faith that God will protect their children. Technically, the practice is illegal, but some parents still do it.

The Eskimo Funerary Ritual

Since the Eskimo people fight hard for their food to survive, old people that couldn't help wouldn't be taken care of. Instead, they would be put on an ice float and sent out to sea to die by starvation or freezing to death.

Hounen Matsuri

TheHounen Matsuri is a Japanese fertility ritual that starts at theTagata shrine on March 15th. During this festival, there's a parade of people carrying phallic shaped objects. Couples will pray with these statues around in hope of being able to bear a child.

Drinking Cow Blood

In Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania, an indigenous tribe known as The Maasai drink cows blood for various life events, like the birth of a child or a marriage. They also drink it to help with hangovers. Using a bamboo shoot, they cut the vein of a cow and suck the blood from it. Supposedly, the cow doesn't die from it.

The Gloves of the Satere Maw Tribe

Rites of passage are as old as time, and today, many young kids go through it in some shape or form, be it bar mitzvah, sweet sixteen, or humiliating prom. But for the Satere Maw Tribe, they force their boys to shove their hands into gloves full of ants that inflict painful bites. They wear the gloves twenty times for ten minutes each time as they dance around. The ants are not any normal house ant but the bullet ant, an ant that got its name because its bite feels like being shot by a bullet.


In Papua New Guinea, the Fore tribe performed endocannibalism for years. Endocannibalism is the act of consuming a family member after they have passed away as a religious act or ritual. Many times this is done out of respect, believing they absorb that individual.

Carrying Wife Over Burning Coals

In China, one ritual has a husband carry his pregnant wife over coals with nothing but his bare feet. It's believed this act will allow her to have a successful delivery.

Sky Burial

In Tibet, sky burial is the act of dragging a dead body up a mountain, chopping it up into pieces, and leaving it out to the elements. Usually, it's eaten by vultures. For Buddhists there, once you're dead, your body is an empty shell and giving it to other living creatures is an act of kindness.


Ashura is a Muslim day of fasting and commemorates different things for Sunni and Shiite Muslims. However, Shiite Muslims perform gruesome acts of self-flagellation as a sign of mourning. Some use whips, chains, or use swords to bash themselves in the head.

Jumping Over Babies in Spain

In Spain, at the festival of El Colacho, men dressed in red and yellow, like devils, run through the streets insulting and whipping people. During this, newly born babies are laid out on mattresses in the streets while these men dressed as devils leap over them. It's believed this was once a fertility ceremony that mixed with Christianity to symbolize the triumph over evil.

Eating Dogs for Good Luck

During the Yulin Festival in China, people eat dog meat for good luck and health, according to Chinese superstition. They also believe eating dog meat increases your body temperature. In 2009, thefestival brought about a wave of protests, social media outrage, and animal rights concerns.

About the Author

Ian Marsh: Crossfitter, compiler, gender activist, lard face. I chew on straws.
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