Tale of Bizarre Rituals
One of the most terrible rituals I have ever heard of is the Hindu ritual of Sati. This horrible ritual involves the Hindu widow throwing herself on the funeral pier of her husband; committing suicide by burning herself alive! This is done supposedly as a sign of respect and dedication to her dead husband; showing that she cannot live without him. I have a feeling that it wasn't a woman that came up with this awful ritual. Widows were either forced to do this by others or they did it on their own because they knew it was expected of them. These poor women had no other options; widows were not treated well; they were left to fend for themselves after their husbands died. Thank goodness this ritual has been banned in Modern day India. This ritual makes me feel thankful that I was raised in a country that does not condone this type of horrible ritual.
I remember the first time I heard about the practice of foot binding was when I was a teenager learning about Geisha girls. I wondered why they all walked taking very tiny steps. When I was told about the foot binding ritual that they went through I was horrified! In China this had been common practice up until the earlier part of the 20th century. The poor Chinese woman that went through this endured unbelievable pain. Their toes would all be individually broken and then bent back under their feet. They would then be bound by a large piece of wet cloth which when it dried it would tighten the bind even more. The woman couldn't take big steps because they were left with feet that were too tiny for their bodies so they could only take small steps. I myself have always wished I had smaller feet but if it meant going through this horrible procedure to get them- I say no thanks I will keep my big feet!
Say Hi by Spitting!
In the culture of the Masai tribe of East Central Africa to spit at one another is a form of greeting or also done when saying goodbye. It is also used in a blessing ritual of a new born baby in which people spit on the baby this is supposed to bring the baby good luck! When Masai are making a business deal they seal the deal by spitting at each other. I don't think I would make a good Masai Tribes person as the act of spitting just grosses me out. A neighbor of mine has a ritual that every morning when he leaves his house he spits. I wonder if this neighbor has Masai blood somewhere in his bloodline. It is funny how an ordinary act like spitting can be seen in some cultures as an endearing ritual and by others it is considered a revolting ritual or habit. I wonder where the ritual of where two people sealing a deal spit on their own palms then shake hands comes from.
This is a ritual that is practiced by an assortment of African Tribes. This ritual involves a 3 day old baby, burning of some Sifudu leafs. Relatives gather at the home of the baby where there is a fire burning Sifudu leafs which give off a strong smell. A woman then take the infant and swings it upside down through the smoke of the fire seven times; she then hands the baby to the mother who passes the baby under her leg. This ritual is done as it is believed to prevent the baby from becoming shy or timid and will never be exposed to fright. Personally I would say that being swung upside down over a fire sounds pretty frightening to me!