Weird and Strange Traditions
There are still countries that practice ancient weird traditions. Countries like Asia and Africa, still adapts these weird traditions. Here are some of these weird and strange traditions that I have researched. Some of these practices are banned by their government and some are still being accepted up until today.
1) Eunuchs ,Ancient China
In ancient China, castration are traditional punishment until the Sui Dynasty and the Eunuchs or Castrati, are employed by the Imperial Services. Castrated men were called eunuchs. Eunuchs were castrated at a very young age and the result has a negative effect on their hormones. Additionally, eunuchs were vocally trained and were known for their pitch and childlike tune. Young boys were castrated prior to them being able to decide for themselves. Additionally, castration did not guarantee that the eunuch’s voice will stay the same after the surgery.
2) Eunuchs or Hijra of India
In, India some men and young boys undergo what seemed to be like painless castration. In this method the male’s testes and penis are removed with the help of anesthesia. These eunuchs undergo castrations to become Hijra. Some go for voluntary castration but some young boys are forced to be castrated. Luckily, for the Hijras they do not need to go for sex change. Some Hijras are forced to work as prostitutes, because no one would hire them. There is no exact numbers of Hijra existing in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Hijra’s are believed to cure illnesses by performing dances.
3) The Fulani Sharo Tradition
The Fulani tribe, Fula Tribe (also called Fulani Indians or Fulbe) are tribes found in West Africa. Young Fulani men are severely whipped . The act of whipping is referred to as “sharo”- it is a public ceremony to introduce young Fulani into manhood and to prepare them into getting a wife. Young Fulani men are whipped continuosly by the “challenger” (it’s amazing how they can manage the pain as you won’t see any reaction on their faces) . Injury for the participating young boys are visible after the rituals. The victorious survivor of the painful whipping will be called survivors. These traditions are common to Fulanis in Mali, Nigeria, Nigers, Cameroon and some parts of Africa.
4) Sati Traditions, India
An ancient traditions in India, where the widow kills herself and join her husband during the cremation of the dead, the wife jumps into the fire, and this is called “Sati”. For the widow, it is honorable to kill herself during the husband’s funeral. It is believed that she will enter heaven, become the goddess and built a statue in memory of her sacrifice. But in the late 1980s, the British government banned and imposed the Prevention of Sati Act and as of now the practice is considered illegal, and is therefore punishable by the law. But there were reported cases that sati still existed in 2002.
5) Chinese Foot Binding
Foot binding in ancient China is intensely painful and agonizing for Chinese women. They undergo this practice for elegant and beautiful looks. Young Chinese girl’s have their feet bound at age four and up. The practice is done by tying bandages tightly. Some herbal medicines and tea were used to soak their bounded feet. The soaking of their feet was done by their elderly relatives. Bandages are kept on and changed regularly until the desired sizes of 4 to 3 inches are acquired. Feet deformities resulted for years of doing this practice. Also, some of those Chinese women whose feet were bandaged, they have to survive infections and gangrene. Consequently, women who did not take part of this practice were considered disrespectful and were considered excluded from the society. In 1930’s this practice was banned in China, but in some areas, the tradition lives on.
6) Geisha Girl, Japan
The traditional Geisha girls were harshly trained and strictly disciplined. They also did not engage themselves into prostitution compared to the modern Geisha.
Traditional Geisha, start as young child and were trained to sing, dance, play musical instrument and Japanese traditional arts like Origami. Original Geisha’s are now very rare and most of them come from respected family. On the other hand, the modern Geisha comes from the poor family, because of this modern Geisha opts for prostitution.
7) Seppuku or Harakiri
Seppuku or Harakiri, is a ritual performed by cutting the stomach and plunging a short sharp blade called “tanto”. The ritual of seppuku represents honor code for samurai Bushido, it is done voluntarily by warriors who have committed grave offense. Warriors prefer to die with honor by harakiri or seppuku than facing the capital punishment and torture. The ritual starts by leaving a poem or a suicide note before plunging the tanto into their abdomen. They then slice the abdomen by moving the tanto from left to right motion.
Sokushinbutsu or Self- Mummification
Japanese Buddhist monks or priests practiced Sokushinbutsu or self mummification by eating special diets like nuts and seeds for three years. Apart from their diet are doing harsh physical activities to remove fats from their body. Sukoshinbutsu practiced are very exclusive in Northern Japan in Yamagata. For several more years, they eat tree barks and roots and begin drinking Urushi tree sap. Urushi tree sap is toxic for human consumption because this sap is used for lacquer bowls. This causes vomiting and fluid loss in the body. It is also believed to kill maggots that cause decomposition of the body after the monk’s death. After the diet is practiced, the monk lock himself in a tomb made of stone in a lotus position, with air tube connected outside so he could breath. In his hand is a bell, which he rings every day. This bell ringing is to let the monks outside know his status. Once the bell stops ringing it means that the monk has died. Consequently, the other monks (living monks) will remove the air tube and seal the tomb.
9) Tibetan Sky Burial, Tibet
The Sky burial or dissection is practiced by Tibetans. It is performed by cutting the corpse into pieces to expose flesh and elements (known as “Mahabhuta Sanskrit” – lithurgical language of Hinduism and Buddhism). The “Jhator” is ritual which is carry out by giving alms to the birds. Sky burial rituals are common to the local Tibetans. The “stupa” burial and cremations, on the other hand, are for the high Lamas who were given honorary funerals. Dead pregnant women, children below 18 years old and death caused by accident and infectious diseases were excluded from the Sky burial rituals.
The Sky burial rituals are headed by the monk. The monk starts by cutting the limbs and hacking the body into pieces. He then hands the parts of human skeleton to his assistant and pounds the bones by sledgehammers and rocks. The human body pulp is then mixed with “tsampa” (barley flour with tea, yak butter and milk). This mixture invites vultures to consume the flesh. The pounded bones are given to crows and hawks.
A concubine is called “other woman” of any married man or quasi-matrimonial relation with man of high status in the society. These men are still legally married and still lives with their spouses. The weird thing about this culture is the concubines and their children are accepted and acknowledged by the society. However, the children are still considered as illegitimate and have lower status compared to the legitimate children. In ancient China, concubines are protected by Eunuchs (men who underwent castration).
11) Marsupial, Easter Bunny of Australia
In Australia, they consider the rabbits as pests that destroy farmlands crops and vegetables. In the United States, rabbits or bunnies are used to represent Easter. On the contrary, because Australia considers rabbits as pests they instead use a marsupial called Bilby.
12) New Year’s Tradition, Belrus
On New Year’s Eve, single ladies in Belarus play an unusual game. The game starts by putting piles of corns in front of the women. They then release a rooster; a woman whose piles of corns was approached and consumed first (by the rooster) is considered to be the fortunate one. The fortunate woman is believed to get married in the coming year. Another game that single girls in Belarus involves the use of 2 mirrors. The 2 mirrors are placed in the right position, one of the mirror is said to show the image of the future husband. Single ladies in Belarus, group together and partake in what seemed to be like a fortune telling game to see if one of them will get married, settle down and have a family in the following year.
13) Melting Tins, Finland
On New Year’s Eve, the Finnish melt horseshoe tins in a metal ladle. As soon as the tin liquefies, they pour it on a bucket with ice-cold water. The random shapes that appear in the water is then interpreted. A round shape or ring shape means an wedding coming up in the following year. An animal shape is considered prosperity. And a ship shape means travel or journey.
In Finland, Easter Sunday might seem a little weird. Children on this day wear costumes (like Halloween costumes) and bring broomsticks with them. They then proceed to beg for alms in the street. In West Finland, bonfires are made on Easter Sunday; their traditional belief is that the bonfire will cast away the witch that roams around on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
14) Turkish Baths, Turkey
Turkish bath is an ancient tradition. Turkish performs a modern way of steam bathing, they use the Mosque annex building (public bathe) for their steam baths. Hamam’s have 3 rooms for Turkish bath rituals. The “Sicaklik room or hararet-caldarium or hot room, is a large dome with glass windows so light would come in. The “gobektasi” or marble stone (also known as tummy stone) is located in the center where customers lay. The customers then get their body scrubbed and massaged. The warm room or “Tepidarium” is used for soaping and washing the body with water. It is also called the “intermediate room”. The “sogukluk”, is a room where customers could dress up, relax, have a refreshment. They can also take a nap in a private cubicles or room.
*Mikve, are the ritual cleansing baths for women.*
Tellak are traditional male masseurs, they are usually non-Muslims (they could be Jews, Roma, Greeks or Armenian) they provided services to their customers such as massage, soaping and scrubbing (apparently they also provide extra services too). Tellak and Hamam customer used silk or cotton cloth called pestimal covering their body. Wooden clogs or nalin, are used to prevent sliding on the wet floor. Rough mitt or kese, used for body massage and accessories like perfume bottles, soap boxes, jewelry boxes, mirrors and henna bowls.
Misogi, Japanese Bath
Misogi is a Japanese practice; it is a ritual of purification of the body under ice-cold water bath. Sometimes they also use other methods of bathing. Participating member of Misogi ritual undergo purifying rituals like fasting, praying and exercising. The ritual also put them into sleepless nights because they have to stand on cold waterfalls. This dousing practice “furitama” starts what is called “furitama” or spirit shaking. The Misogis’ performs this ritual by having their hands clenched in front of their stomachs. They then shake and make their torso vibrates, to help them become aware of the presence around them. The “Tori-fune” or warming up exercise is performed next, this ritual involves prayers or invocation to awaken the “kami” or spirits.
15) Egg Omelet, Haux, France
In the streets of Haux, France, an unusual Easter tradition is carry out by of cooking more than 4,500 eggs. These 4,500 eggs are used to make a giant egg omelet. This omelet is then prepared in the main square in time for lunch to feed more than 1000 people.
16) Sacrificial Pig , Taiwan
People in Sanxia, Taipei raises the biggest pig for the sacrificial parade in front of Zushih Temple. It is somewhat the weirdest and craziest, weird and strange tradition in Taiwan for their Chinese New Year.
In Taiwan, before the opening of the Pig Festival, the Chinese priests’ drinks rice wine, recite the scriptures and burn incense, this is held in Sanxia, Taipei.
17) Chinese God Parade, Taiwan
The month of August is considered the month of the ghosts and is celebrated yearly. The Chinese gods are paraded on the road around Taichung City in Taipei.
18) Wedding Tradition in Taiwan
Taiwanese are very strict when it comes to wedding traditions. On a wedding day, the bride’s family members bring personal things to the groom’s house. Most of Taiwan’s newlyweds live with their parents (in this case the newylyweds lives with the groom’s parents).
19) Taiwanese Funeral Traditions, Taiwan
In Taiwan, funeral traditions are practiced weirdly and noisily. The grieving families hire weepers and cries on microphones. The weepers also recite continuous prayers and traditional Chinese funeral music. This practice last for more than a week, at times 14 days of mourning is usual. The wakes, on the other hand, are held on the streets under built tents.
Tomb Sweeping Day in Taiwan
In Taiwan, they celebrate the “Tomb Sweeping day,” this celebration is done by lighting firecrackers on the graveyard of their dead love ones. In Ancient Chinese tradition, firecrackers are lighted on special occasions such as wedding, festivals, and prayers, opening of new businesses, moving into a new house and casting away of evil spirits. Aside from lighting up firecrackers, Chinese also believes performing a dragon dance can bring good luck to anyone opening a new business establishment.
Bizarre and Weird Taiwan Ritual
This man to be said possessed by the evil spirit, hits his own head with axe, while observers are watching the weird ceremony.
20) Duel Tradition
In the 20th century, duel are practiced between two parties, using pistol or sword and done with rules agreed upon by both party with witnesses, representatives they trust most, in contravention of law. Duel begin with challenge by the oppressed or insulted party, to regain his honor back, he should challenged the person who insulted his honor. He then takes the risks of dying and injury during the ritual of duel. After the offense, offender throws his gloves to the offended opponent and say, “throwing down the gauntlet”.