photo – telegraph.co.uk
Conceptually similar to bungee jumping, land diving is done with vines instead of elastic chords and the objective is to come as close to death as possible. Performed by the Vanuatu people, the jumper’s goal is to brush his head on the ground. If he survives, he’s a man. A very, very lucky man.
This rite of passage must be performed by men of the Hamar tribe in Ethiopa before they are allowed to marry. First, the young boy’s closest female friends and family chant while they are whipped by the men of the tribe. The scars that are left on their backs are meant to be a testament to the pain they were willing to endure for the initiate. Afterwards, four castrated bulls are lined side by side, the naked boy runs across their backs, and voila…he’s a man.
The Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya replace their warrior class every 6-10 years. The next generation of warriors are then circumcised and moved into a warriors camp where they will live until the next generation takes over. In the past the Maasai had to stalk and kill a lion with only a spear before they were considered warriors, but today the lions are protected under government animal legislation. Let’s face it, you know you’ve crossed into manhood when the government has to stop you from killing too many lions.
Similar to the Aborigine practice of sending young men to fend for themselves in the wilderness (#20) although not nearly as involved, many Native American tribes would send their young men off into the wild for several days during a period of intense fasting in order to find direction for their lives and become adults.
photo – survival-international.org
After being ceremonially circumcised, the young boys and girls of the Okiek tribe in Kenya are secluded from the adults for several months. During their seclusion they paint themselves white using clay in order to take on the appearance of a wild creature and they are then haunted by a mythical beast whose roar can be heard at night. They become adults when the elders show them the instrument used to produce the roar and they do it for themselves.
Many aboriginal tribes of Australia send their young men into the wilderness for up to 6 months to test whether they are ready to become men. The boys must survive, unassisted, and keep themselves totally isolated. When they return after 6 months they will be considered men of the tribe
To the natives of the Mentawai Islands beauty is extremely important because if a person’s soul becomes dissatisfied with the appearance of its body, they believe the person will die. In order to beautify themselves young female Mentawaians who have reached puberty sharpen their teeth with a rock and chisel, and file them down to points.
As soon as the time comes for boys of the Matis tribe in Brazil to go on the hunt they have a bitter poison dumped in their eyes in order to “improve” their vision. After this they are beaten and whipped. Finally they must endure the excruciating conclusion to the trial in which they inject themselves with the poison of the Giant Leaf Frog using wooden needles.
photo – cleveland.com
Woman of the Fula people in West Africa must have their faces tattooed before they are considered adults. The process takes several hours and is usually done with a sharpened piece of wood. Similar to a Fula boy’s whipping match (#13) if the girl cries or grimaces she is believed to be too young, and must wait to finish her tattoos and marry.
A boy of the Xhosa people of South Africa must be circumcised before being considered a man. He is shaved and taken into the mountains where he will live in seclusion in a hut built for him by his family. While in isolation, a surgeon comes and circumcises the boy, after which he is not allowed to return to the tribe until he is healed.