You know the strange things practised in some cultures here in Nigeria; like how a woman must shave her head if her husband dies, or how in some other cultures, a woman must drink the water used to wash her husband’s corpse (Ewww!), and plenty other yamayama practises like that.
But it’s interesting and bizarre to note that, there are cultural practices just as bad, and some even worse out there.” Take a look at these 7 bizarre cultural practices from around the world.
Cutting Fingers Off
In the Dani tribe, the death of a family member and the grief that usually accompanies the loss makes women express their pain by cutting off a segment of their fingers. Before being amputated, the fingers are tied with a string for thirty minutes to numb them. Once amputated, the new fingertips are burned to create new scar tissue.
This custom is performed as a means to satisfy ancestral ghosts and is rarely, but still sporadically, practised in the tribe.
In the Yanomami tribe (an Amazonian tribe that lives near the border of Brazil and Venezuela,) the tradition of endocannibalism, which involves consuming the flesh of a member of one’s own tribe after they’ve died, is practised.
In this culture, the corpses are wrapped in leaves and insects are allowed to pick at it for 30-45 days. After that, the bones are collected, pulverised, and mixed into a banana soup to be consumed by all. After a year, the villagers consume the ashes, which are mixed with plantain soup. The ritual is done to ensure that the souls of the dead find their way to paradise.
Living With & Homecoming For The Dead
The Toraja people of Indonesia are known for practising a ritual of exhuming the corpses of fellow villagers. After exhuming, the corpses are dressed up and paraded from the point of its death, around the village, and then back home. As a sign of homecoming.
This is practised by Shiite Muslims during Ashura. Ashura is an event recognised by many Muslims around the world for various reasons. For Shiites, the day is used to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein – a grandson of the prophet Muhammad, at the 7th century battle of Karbala. Hussein, along with his comrades, was repeatedly struck on the head with daggers.
Today, select Shiites join a procession and flagellate themselves with daggers to the head as a tribute and to absolve sin. They basically spill their own blood and those of their relatives to atone the fact that they weren’t there to save Hussein.
Carrying Wife Over Burning Coal
Though not all Chinese people practise this, there is an interesting traditional Chinese custom that says a husband should carry his bride over a pan of burning coals before crossing the threshold of their home as husband and wife. According to tradition, the ritual ensures that the wife will have an easy and successful labour and also to prevent disasters.
The Eskimo Funerary Ritual
A rather well-known fact about Eskimos is their ritual (albeit incredibly rare and seldom practised—if at all—anymore) of setting the elderly adrift on a floating iceberg when facing death or old age. Eskimos believe in the afterlife for the dead, and this practice is a way of ensuring the elderly are not a burden on the family by sending them off in a dignified and graceful manner.