7 Truly Bizarre Rites of Passage

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2. Better to Bite You With

The traditional Mentawaian people of Sumatra have some very specific notions about what makes women beautiful. One of them is sharp teeth. Very sharp teeth. In order to achieve the desired appearance a shaman is called upon to sculpt a young woman’s teeth with a chisel and hammer of sorts. In a painful process that does not involve the use of anesthetic of any kind, the teeth are chiseled and then filed to a fine point, not unlike the teeth found in a shark’s mouth. In addition to enhancing their beauty, it is also believed that the process pleases the spirits, who will then help bring balance to the woman’s life. Although it is still practiced today, women may now choose if they want to have their teeth sharpened or not.

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