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Strangest Religious Practices Around The Globe

It is wonderful to live in a world where the majority of people are free to practice the religion of their choice. People can preach to a small congregation or a very large one, depending on the message they wish to spread. The variety of religions that exist can be described as ‘colorful.’

Many religions have specific practices that they require members to participate in. Here are some of the craziest religious practices from around the world:

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1. Garudan Thookkam – South India, India

In the country of India, many people still participate in ancient religious practices. Followers of Lord Vishnu perform this ritual art in certain Kali temples in the Central Keral districts of India.

People dress as Garuda (Vishnu’s flying mount) and perform a special dance in honor of their god. The performers are then attached by hooks that are pierced into the skin of their backs. Hanging from the hooks shows their dedication as they appear to be in the air like Garuda himself.

After being attached to the hooks, the participants are taken through the city in a procession signifying a close to the ceremonies.

2. Self-Flagellation

This is the practice by which devoted followers self-mutilate to demonstrate their faithfulness. On the Day of Ashura, Shi’ite Muslims will hit themselves on the back with sharp objects like knives as a way to mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

Even if you can withstand the pain of the abuse, there’s no telling what you can contract with all the blood flying every which way.

3. Scarification – Papua New Guinea

Tattoos are often received to commemorate some sort of major life event, making the decision to get one a very big deal. On the small island of Papua, New Guinea, the Chambri Tribe believe that scarification is a rite of passage into manhood for their boys.

The ‘rite of passage’ consists of a young boy or man lying on his stomach while one person holds them down and another cuts their back with a razor blade, the traditional method being sharp stone.

The skin is cut in a way that mimics the back of a crocodile, signifying that the individual has achieved manhood. The practice is still done to this day, but the tribe has adopted modern-day methods of sanitation when conducting the procedure.

4. Eating the Dead – Amazon, Brazil

You might want to get a bucket if you have a weak stomach. In the Amazon jungle that lies in the country of Brazil live the Yanomami tribe. The tribe believes that death is not a natural occurrence.

It is common practice for the tribe to burn the bodies of their dead, mix the ashes with bananas, and then ingest the mixture. In this way, past members of the Yanomami continue to live among them for eternity.

5. Sky Burial – Tibet

The name alone might make you begin to scratch your head. You might think that people are shot into the sky, never to be seen again. The truth is actually a little more disturbing than that.

In the Himalayan country of Tibet has a unique way of dealing with their dead. Corpses are left to be eaten by the scavenging birds known as vultures. In the Tibetan culture, vultures are seen as angels that carry their soul to the afterlife.

6. Dancing with The Dead – Madagascar, Africa

On the island country of Madagascar, the people have a funerary ceremony known as Famdihana, or dancing with the dead. Family crypts are opened up so that human remains can be wrapped in new cloth.

There is plenty to do at this lively festival for the dead including music dance and even animal sacrifice.

7. Teeth Chiseling – Indonesia

We’re always told how important it is to maintain proper hygiene to keep a straight smile and teeth. With many cultures still living so closely with nature, they conduct many practices developed society can’t grasp.

There is a tribe in Indonesia that believes women with sharp, pointed teeth are more beautiful than those with straight teeth. The chiseling is done with crude instruments and the ‘receiver’ of the chiseling is given nothing more than green bananas after it’s done.

The tribe also believes the chiseling can help women maintain a proper balance between body and soul.

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