Rites of passage are events that symbolize an important time in a person’s life. However, some cultures have insane rites of passage, that inflict pain, or embarrass the guest of honor.
Boys who are between the ages of 7 and 8 must jump off of a 30 meter tall wooden tower, being held by only a vine on their legs. They must be able to touch their head and shoulders to the ground whilst dangling from the vine. This is very unsafe, as most people fall at speeds of 42 miles per hour, and any miscalculations in the length of the rope would likely result in death.
The tribes living along the Sepik river would often perform a rite of passage, in which they would cut deep into their skin to create various patterns. The patterns were meant to represent coarse skin, similar to that of a crocodile’s. They believe that after the thousands of cuts, a metaphorical crocodile eats the boys partaking in the ritual. The crocodile would regurgitate the boys as men.
The Mentawaian people of Sumatra have a rite of passage, in which a woman must sharpen her teeth to become ‘beautiful’. The women have their teeth sculpted using a hammer and a chisel, and they are not allowed to use anesthetics of any kind. The teeth are then filed, so that they appear similar to shark teeth. The process is also thought to help please the spirits, and bring balance to a woman’s life. This rite of passage still exists today, yet women aren’t forced to do it anymore.
Alone in the Wild
Many Australian aboriginal tribes send boys into the wild for 6 months, in an attempt for them to become men. The boys must spend their 6 months completely alone, and they must be completely unassisted. If the boys successfully return home after the ritual, they are considered men.
The Amazon Tribe participates in a very painful rite of passage. To become a man in this tribe, one must put their hand into a baseball glove filled with drugged bullet ants. Bullet ants are thought to be the insect with the most painful sting. Many compare these ant stings to be more painful than getting shot with a gun. The drugs the ants are injected with makes them even more agitated. To complete this rite of passage, one must keep their hand in the glove for the entire 10 minutes. Even if you have completed your ten minutes, you will have to repeat it if you cry. This has taken some tribe members over 20 attempts.