Anthropologists, the people who study everything we have ever done as the human species, like to say that all cultural practices are relevant. They ask us non-anthropologists to keep an open mind when we’re faced with cultural practices we can’t understand before we judge a group of people. They advice us to do this because there are so many differences in how cultures deal.
Sometimes people practice a ritual because it’s a part of their religion, or it’s such an old tradition that no one questions its existence. To an outsider or a non-practitioner of a religion, these practices can look extreme and shocking.
An Amazonian tribe has an stunning coming of age ritual. Boys must wear gloves filled with bullet ants.
Hindus pierce themseleves as part of this ritual. It’s to show devotion to Lord Murugan.
An interesting ritual in the Himalayas involves guys breaking into girls’ homes at night. They spend the night with them, but if they’re caught, they must marry the girl.
Yanomami tribe members actually drink their relative’s corpse when they die. The ashes are made into a soup.
Thaipusam involves more piercing. Again, it is a way for Hindus to show devotion
Bali women file their teeth before marriage. It’s to ward off jealousy and greed.
Indian babies are sometimes thrown off temples. The fifty foot drop is met with people at the bottom catching the babies with a cloth.