India is a country filled with cultures and rituals. Apart from being a growing economy, many parts of India still follow age old rituals and customs in the name of religion or superstition. Although scary, these rituals make India a multi-faceted and interesting country.
10. Walking on Fire
This ritual is celebrated by people in South India at the Theemithi Festival. It requires people to walk bare feet across a pit that has been filled with hot charcoal or burning firewood. This is done in honor of Hindu Goddess Draupati Amman. Devotees cannot run across the pit. They have to walk across calmly. The ritual starts by a head priest walks across the pit with a pot of sacred water on his head. He is followed by devotees who try to prove their devotion by bearing the burns. The common injuries are burns and blisters on the feet. However, serious injuries occur when devotees fall into the scorching pit.
When the Thookam festival arrives, Hindu devotees pierce their backs with sharp hooks and get lifted off the ground using ropes. Some devotees even tied children to their hands. Due to the cruelty of this ritual, the government of India has banned the ritual after coming under pressure from various Human Rights Organizations.
8. Bull Fighting
The bull fighting that takes place in India is very different from its Spanish counterpart. When the festival of Pongal descends upon India, some youth of India strive to tame the bull or hang onto the bull for as long as possible to earn a reward, which is usually money. This ritual has seen over a hundred people dying and court case is on against this ritual in the Supreme Court of India.
The month of Muharram marks the anniversary of the Karbala battle. This was the battle where Imam Hussein ibn Ali was killed. Shia Muslims mourn this event by flogging their bodies with chains that contain knives or razor blades.
6. Burning Widows
Started in the 17th century, the ritual of Sati is burning a widow, voluntarily or involuntarily. The widow is asked to lie down beside her dead husband and burned alive along with the body. Even though this ritual was banned by the British Empire in 1859, this narrow minded ritual is still prevalent in many small parts of India.
5. Tossing Babies
Every December, babies are tossed from a temple roof onto an on looking crowd. The babies plummet over 200 feet with a group of men holding a cloth to catch them. This is done to bless childless couples and help them get a baby.
4. Drop And Roll
In various temples in Karnataka, devotees are asked to drop and roll towards the temple. They are also covered by food discarded by the Brahmins. This is by lower castes and is also supposed to cure skin diseases.
3. Chicken Exorcisms
Hindu religion has seen exorcism performed in many ways. One of the weirdest ways is slaughtering a white chicken. The bloody parts are then taken and strewn around the house by a head priest who is performing the exorcism. The priest then addresses the demon within the possessed person. Demons are supposedly scared of white chickens and the demon is said to leave the body immediately.
2. Piercing The Tongue
Piercing the tongue with a stud is a fashionable thing to do in the west, however when you pierce your tongue with long sharp needle made of wood or steel, it becomes weird and painful. In some cases the tongue is pierced so badly that it is unable to retract into the mouth. Many youngsters also take part in this painful ritual that is done to appease the Gods.
1. Female Infanticide
This is one of the worst rituals ever to exist in India. Apart from India, this ritual is seen in many other countries as well where a make child is preferred over a female child. Families craze for a male child is so extreme that they kill female infants or set them afloat in a lake or river. Although banned in the 19th century, female infanticide is still prevalent in many parts of India and the world.