From jumping over cows to sacrificing enemies these are 25 insane coming of age ceremonies and traditions.
Mentawai Teeth Sharpening
When young female Mentawaians reach puberty they sharpen their teeth with a rock and chisel, and file them down to points. It is supposed to look beautiful.
As part of a “graduation” exam, young Spartan boys would be pitted against captured slaves in a sort of death match called the Krypteia. The “barely teenagers” would employ all of their lethal Spartan training to quickly finish their foes.
Fula Whip Match
Young Fula boys must engage in a whipping match with boys from a neighboring tribe. During the match they cannot show any sign of pain. Whoever the crowd deems the winner earns the right to be called a man.
The Orika tribe in Nigeria believe that young girls have romantic relationships with water spirits. Before their marriage they must go down to a river and perform the Iria ritual which involves singing songs to break their relationship to the water spirits.
Hamar Cow Jumping
Men of the Hamar tribe in Ethiopia must undergo a ceremony where they are whipped by the other men of the tribe. They then run across the backs of four castrated bulls to become a man.
Some aboriginal Australian tribes send their boys off into the Outback by themselves for up to 6 months.
A Xhosa boy must be circumcised before becoming a man. He will be sent off to live in a hut in the woods where a tribe doctor will come and circumcise him. He will not be allowed to return to his family until he is healed.
Practiced heavily by the Sepik River tribes in Papau New Guinea, the elders of the tribe cut the younger men with razors so that their scars resemble alligator skin. They believe that the alligator will then consume their boy hood and leave them as men.
Algonquin Indian Trip
Young boys in this Indian tribe are caged and given a powerful drug called wysoccan which supposedly causes them to forget everything about their childhood. If they mention any aspect of it in their adulthood then they are given a second dose of the drug.
Matis Hunting Trials
When it comes time for boys from this Brazilian tribe to become men they have bitter poison dumped in their eyes, they are whipped, and then they must inject themselves with the potent poison of the Giant Leaf Frog.
The Ogiek Roar
The young boys and girls of the Ogiek tribe in Africa go off into the wilderness by themselves for several months. During this time they are “haunted” by a creature that produces a roaring sound. They become adults when the elders show them the instrument used to produce the sound and they blow into it for themselves.
Similar to the Aborigine Walkabout many Native American tribes sent their young boys into the wilderness for several months before they could become men.
Masai Lion Hunt
Although today government regulations in Kenya prevent the practice, in the past young men from the tribe had to kill a lion with only a spear in order to become men.
Naghol (Land Diving)
Something like bungee jumping, it is done with vines instead of elastic cords. When young boys in Vanuatu become men they must attempt to come as close as they can to brushing their head on the ground.
Fulani Facial Tattoos
Performed with a sharpened piece of wood, young girls in the west African Fula tribe must not grimace while their face is tattooed for several hours.
At the age of seven, boys in this tribe are taken from their mothers and placed in all male huts for the next 10 years. Throughout this time they are forced to vomit, defecate, and bleed from their noses in order to rid them of impurities.
In ancient Greece young boys would engage in an officially sanctioned relationship with an older man before becoming adults. Many historians believe this was often the beginning of a young man’s military career.
Festa de Mocas Nuevas
Young girls of the Ticuna tribe in the northwest Amazon are placed in small, isolated chambers for several months during which they are believed to go to the underworld. When they return they are officially a woman.
Although we realize internet penetration rates in most developing countries are relatively low, just in case you happen to be an African tribesman or Amazonian warrior checking in on your satellite phone allow us to introduce you to a peculiarity of western culture…the Sweet 16. No blood, no pain, no near death experiences. Sounds pretty tame right? Yea, we agree, so back to the insane stuff…
Aztec boys would not become men until they capture a prisoner and brought him back to be sacrificed.
Mandan Okipa Ceremony
Young Mandan boys had to fast for four days without sleeping. They were then hung from the ceiling by hooks that pierced their skin. During the entire process they had to smile until they passed out. When they woke up their pinky fingers were chopped off and only then did they become men.
Practiced in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East the labia and clitoris are typically removed. A small hole is then poked through the scarring to allow for menstruation and urine.
Boys in this Aborigine tribe are led of into the woods where the elders circumcise them. They then must swallow their foreskin and once they heal they are lead back out into the woods. More genital mutilation follows after which they must stand bleeding over an open fire. Only then do they become men.
In Papau New Guinea some tribes have their young boys stick two canes down their throats until they vomit. Reeds will then be forced up their nostrils and their tongues are stabbed. All of this is done for the purpose of purification.
Bullet Ant Glove
Young boys in the Amazonian Satere-Mawe tribe must wear gloves made of bullet ants while dancing around for 10 minutes without flinching. The stings are extremely painful and cause paralysis for up to 24 hours.