- Holidays and Celebrations
Weird Indian rituals that will shock you!
India is a culturally diverse country and has a rich cultural heritage. Every state of India has a different culture and different traditions. Every state in India has its own culture but such variation sometimes also brings along some weird rituals and traditions. Yes, there are certain rituals which are unebelievable. Though we are very proud of our culture and traditions, however there are also some strange and weird rituals which will shock you and you will wonder if this really happens.
- Bani Festival is celebrated during Dussehra every year at Devaragattu Temple in Andhra Pradesh. During the festival, hundreds of lathi (stick)-wielding devotes hit each other on the head till midnight. It’s shocking to see blood dripping all over the place during the festival which is celebrated to commemorate the death of a demon at Lord Shiva’s hands. It is said that about a century ago, people used swords instead of laths and sticks. Medical attendants and policemen are deployed during the festival but they are mostly mute spectators amidst the frenzy that follows.
- During the festival of Nag Panchami, cobras are worshipped and offered milk to drink. Generally people are so scared of snakes and kill them on spotting a snake in the house but Nag Panchami is an exception.
- India is the land of agriculture. Farmers depend on rains to get a good harvest. To appease the Rain God, frog weddings are organized by farmers in Maharashtra and Assam.
Rituals are not fixed--they are constructed and reconstructed over time, to fit people's needs.— GLEB TSIPURSKY
- During the Pushkar Mela in Rajasthan, a spectacular camel fair is held in which almost 50,000 camels participate. The fair goes on for five days during which the camels are shaved, dressed & decorated, entered into races and traded. There is even a beauty contest for the camels. The camel fair is so popular that people come from far and wide to attend it. An array of musicians, dancers, acrobats, magicians and snake charmers entertain the crowd and add to the charm of the fair.
- Cow is considered a sacred animal in India. However in Bhiwdawad village in Maharashtra, the worship of cows is done to an extreme. Cows are decorated with flowers and henna on Enakdakshi. Villagers lay down on the ground before the cows to offer their respect and let the cows walk over them.
- In some rural villages, if a girl child is thought to be possessed by evil or born with some deformity then they marry off the girl with a dog to exorcise bad omen.
- During Pongal celebrations at Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, scores of unarmed men chase the bull trying to snatch a prize from its horns. (Somewhat similar to bull fighting in Spain) However unlike bull fighting in Spain, here the bull is not killed. The Supreme Court banned Jallikattu in 2014 as in the past two decades, over 200 men have lost their lives in this dangerous sport.
- In this utterly shocking and bizarre ritual practiced at Baba Umer Dargah near Sholapur in Maharashtra, babies are dropped from a height of 50 ft. to the people waiting below. (I can’t even imagine how somebody can do this!) A similar custom is alsi observed at the Sri Santeswar temple near Indi, in Karnataka. This weird ritual has been followed for over 700 years and is said to bring prosperity to the family. No injuries have been reported so far but The national Commission of Protection of Child Rights is investigating the claims.
- During the Theemithi Festival in Tamil Nadu, devotees walk on fire to get the blessings of the God. The practice of fire walking during Theemithi has spread to Sri Lanka, Singapore and South Africa as well. The festival is celebrated to commemorate Draupadi’s act of walking over fire after the battle of Mahabharata.
- At Kukke Subraman Temple in Karnatka, people from lower caste roll over the left over food by the higher caste Brahmins to get rid of ailments and evils.
- At Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, the residing deity is the vagina of Mother Goddess. The Goddess goes through menstruation in June and Ambubachi Mela(fair) is held during that time. Everything offered to the Goddess is red during the time of the fair.
- In Mahalakshmi Temple at Mettu Mahadhanapuram in Tamil Nadu, the priests smash coconuts on the head of the devotees for good luck, wealth and prosperity.
Do non-religious people carry out religious rituals?
Pushkar Mela: Dancing camel #4
© 2017 Shaloo Walia