Some people might consider it inappropriate to call traditions from other cultures “weird.” But when you dress your dead grandfather up in his Sunday best and take him bowling, or throw your baby off a second story balcony, the term definitely applies. These practices still exist in the world, though some of them are more common (and less weird) than others. Fair warning – a few are pretty gruesome.
1. Bullet Ant Initiation
The bullet ant has the most painful sting of any insect on the planet. The pain from a single ant is crippling, and leads to major swelling and muscle spasms. Some victims compare the feeling to being shot. How appropriate.
The Satere-Mawe, a tribe in Brazil, use the bullet ant in what may be the most extreme initiation ritual still (or maybe ever) practiced. Hundreds of the ants are sedated and wedged into woven leaf gloves. When the ants wake up, they’re groggy and mad. If you can keep the glove on your hand for ten straight minutes, you’re a man. Assuming you can repeat the achievement 20 times in the coming months. Some initiates will come away with paralyzed arms, and will be unable to stop violently shaking for hours or even days.