Whether you celebrate your coming of age with a birthday party or by permanently disfiguring your body, most cultures recognize the importance of a rite of passage. However, not all rites are created equal.
Some can be downright deadly. The crazy rites of passages in this list commemorate a young adults’ entry into adulthood. They also highlight the agonizing things people are willing to endure to earn the respect of their peers. Check out these 25 Crazy Rites Of Passage from around the world!
Naghol (Land Diving)
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.
Hamar Cow Jumping
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 left on their backs are a testament to the pain they were willing to endure for the initiation. Afterwards, four castrated bulls are lined side by side, the naked boy runs across their backs, and voila…he’s a man.
Maasai Lion Hunt
The Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya replace their warrior class every 6-10 years. The next generation of warriors is circumcised and moved into warrior camps 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, 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 to find direction for their lives.
The Okiek Roar
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 to take on the appearance of a wild creature. 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.