#WackyWednesday: Strangest cultural celebrations from around the world

A tribe in Papua New Guinea sees young men scar their bodies to resemble crocodiles.

Culture plays an important role in a person’s life, as it gives one a sense of belonging.

While taking pride in one’s cultural heritage is essential, there are some cultural practices which seem a tad unusual to outsiders.

Here are five of the most unusual cultural practices.

1. Baby tossing, India

While baby tossing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, nor seem all that safe, it is apparently a common practice for the residents of Solapur, a village in the Maharashtra state of India.

The villagers believe it brings the children good luck, a long and healthy life, and plenty of intelligence. In this ritual, newborn babies are dropped off from the terrace of a 50-foot tower while a group of people at the base of the tower hold a sheet to safely catch the infant.

2. Waking the dead, Indonesia

This cultural tradition gives an entirely new meaning to the Walking Dead.

In Indonesia, the Toraja people exhume the corpses of their fellow villagers. The corpse is dressed in special garments and taken around the small town. The villagers take a great deal of special care to ensure they clean the body, the corpse’s garments, and coffin.

If a person died outside the village, the corpse would be taken to the spot of death before being walked back to the village as an act of returning home.

How odd… in fact, I think I will give it a pass.

3. Sifudu, Africa

Sifudu is practice in certain African tribes, where three days after a child is born, relatives gather at the hut, picking leaves from the Sifudu tree.

A small fire is made at the centre of the hut and the Sifudu leaves are burnt to produce a thin pall of smoke. The leaves have an extremely pungent aroma that irritates mouth, nose and eyes.

The baby is carried by a woman with his head downward in the smoke and is passed several times through the smoke, before being handed back to the mother who quickly passes the child under her leg.

Apparently the ritual ensures the child is never frightened, timid or suffers from shyness.

4. The Crocodile men of New Guinea

A tribe in Papua New Guinea, named Kaningara, have a rather unique way in displaying their strength.

Young men scar their bodies to resemble crocodiles, in order to show off their valour and courage. The reason for this, is the tribe believes people evolved from crocodiles and by marking their bodies, they are becoming closer to nature.

5. Endocannibalism, Amazon

If you thought the Indonesians were odd for exhuming corpses, then avoid the Amazon rainforest.

The Yanomami tribe lives in villages within the Amazon rainforest, near the border of Venezuela and Brazil. What makes this tribe unusual is they consume the flesh of a member of one’s own tribe… after they have died that is.

The bizarre ritual sees tribe members wrapping the corpse in leaves and allowing insects to pick at it. After 30 to 45 days later, the bones are collected, pulverized, and mixed into a banana soup, which is to be consumed by everyone in the village.

After a year, the villagers consume the ashes, which are mixed with plantain soup. According to tradition, the ritual helps ensure the souls of the dead find their way to paradise.

  AUTHOR
Quinton Boucher
Journalist

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