Cutting Fingers And Self-Flagellation? Just Some Weird But Common Cultural Practices
It’s a common knowledge that we, Western travelers, can often get baffled by other culture’s customs, traditions and rites. It’s not that we are not prepared for the unknown, it’s just that some of these are so opposed to every notion of ours on how to treat certain parts of our body, for instance, that they are hard to believe. But these have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years with a very clear purpose of perpetuating the existing richness of local culture and ethnic values. And while some of those practices are something you’d gladly adopt and take home with you, others are…well, less likely to enthrall you. Here are some of those cringe worthy.
One of the tribes in Indonesia’s rainforests has a very unique and a specific way of mourning their beloved. Whenever a relative is lost and his loved ones faced with nearness of death, women related to the deceased have to cut their fingers off in order to please the spirits of the ancestors! Ouch! Then they burn the remains of the finger so that the new tissue formed creates a new finger, as well.
A ritual that means self-inflictions leading to possible serious injuries is organized annually among Shi’ite Muslims in certain regions of the world. After this ritual, the streets are left covered in rivers in blood. So, what are they doing? They are absolving for their sins, that is the sins of their ancestors, through self-flagellation and hitting themselves with sharp objects like daggers and knives all over their body. Prophet Mohammad’s grandson was murdered brutally during the 7th century battle and for this, the young and devout Shi’ites are repeating this act as a way of confessing their ancestor’s erroneous ways.
Now, here’s hoping that you haven’t just finished your meal or, heaven forbid!, you’re still munching something. One of the tribes that inhabits the territory between Brazil and Venezuela owns this very bizarre custom of, well…practically eating their deceased. OK, it’s endocannibalism, meaning that they don’t directly indulge into eating of the corpses. What they do is wrap the corpse into jungle leaves and leave it in the forest so that insects nibble it for about 30 days. Then they take what is left of them, pour it all into a banana soup – and eat it! By their belief, this helps the souls of the deceased to ascend into paradise.
Yeah, we know – this article has impacted your day to the point you wish remained blissfully ignorant on these matters. Still, remember one thing: it is easy to judge other cultures and proclaim something you don’t like for barbarism. Within their historical confines and passed-on traditions, these are highly-respected rites that need be obeyed. In any case, we will be bringing you many other bizarre rituals from around the world, here on The Crazy Bus.