7 Truly Bizarre Rites of Passage

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It’s amazing how various cultures of the same species – in this case, homo sapiens – can be so different. A rite of passage is defined very differently among humans, and although some of them may be shocking to us, to others, it’s just a normal part of life. When we think of rites of passage in the west, we might think of someone getting their driver’s license or perhaps graduating from high school or college. A rite of passage is often considered a challenge, and although many of us are comfortable with challenges like those previously mentioned, some of these might leave you feeling very thankful you don’t have to overcome them.

1. The Fire Down Below

If you’re a guy, brace yourself for this one. The Mardudjara Aboriginal people of Australia may have something that makes some of these other macho rituals seem tame in comparison. When a boy is somewhere between the ages of six and eight years old, the process of becoming a man gets underway. First, he is basically treated as if he is dead; not allowed to speak. Then the fun starts. He travels with the men of his tribe to other tribes in the vicinity where he is honored with a bonfire. He is then pinned down and circumcised. He must then swallow his detached foreskin whole. A few weeks later, as the horror of that experience begins to fade a bit, the final phase of the ritual begins. Once again, he is pinned down and a stick is inserted in the urethra to make sure the next step is executed properly. He is then cut on the underside of the penis starting near the top and going as far as the surgeon feels like cutting that day, apparently. The boy is then sent to the bonfire so that the heat and flame can heal his wound. At that point he becomes a man, and probably has a fear of bonfires for the rest of his life as well.

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