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!
As part of agoge (Spartan training), a young Spartan would participate in the Krypteia, which was essentially a yearly “war” against the helots (slaves). Boys as young as 12 would partake in the slaughter using the stealthy tactics they learned in agoge. So, next time you have a final exam, just be thankful you’re not being graded based on a body count.
Algonquin Indian Trip
When it comes time to test the manhood of young Algonquin Indian men, they are taken to a secluded area, caged, and fed a powerful drug called wysoccan. The whole purpose behind this is to cause the man to forget any memories of his childhood, which consequently includes his family and friends. If the new man acknowledges any memories from his youth after returning to the village, he will be given a second dose of the drug.
Fula Whip Match
Young Fula boys must undergo a whipping battle in which they trade blows with another boy from a different tribe to become a man. The sticks they use to whip each other have sharpened points and thorns to maximize the pain. Both boys attempt to take blows without wincing or showing signs of weakness. The boy whom the observing crowd deems the winner is considered the bravest and earns the right to be called a man.
Though scarification is a common rite of passage around the world, it is heavily practiced by Sepik River tribes in Papua New Guinea as part of an initiation ceremony for men. This is only a small part of a ceremony that lasts weeks and includes public humiliation and is ridiculously painful. The elders of the tribe use razor blades to cut the young men all over their bodies in a pattern that closely imitates the rough skin of an alligator. They believe that the alligator will then consume any semblance of a boy left in their bodies, and they will become men.
The Okrika tribe of Nigeria believe young women of the tribe form romantic relationships with water spirits during their childhood. For this reason, young girls must perform the Iria ritual to end their love affair with the water spirits before being married. The ritual consists of singing songs by a river for days on end during which the water spirits make one final attempt to capture their lovers, but not before they are rescued by a man from their tribe. This makes for a good rite of passage poem.