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Strange Traditions of the World You Probably Didn’t Know About

by Abi Fam on 11/03/08 at 9:45 am

A look at some traditions that you would probably consider strange, but are perfectly normal to the believers and practitioners.

The Eunuchs of India (Hijras)

The eunuchs, also known as the “impotent ones” or Hijras, are men and boys who have been castrated through a genital reassignment surgery where the penis and testes are removed. This process is usually done through unsophisticated means, without the use of anesthesia or antibiotics. Some of the Hijras go through this process voluntarily while others are forced into it. The “lucky” ones are the intersexual ones, who do not have to go through any surgery to become Hijras.

This tradition has been in India for generations and as of 1990, studies say there were 50,000 Hijras. Their exact number today is unknown but they still live in some parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Modernization of the Indian society has, however, reduced their chances of getting decent jobs and some have turned to prostitution as a means of livelihood.

Another similar tradition occurred in China, before the Sui Dynasty, where eunuchs worked with the Imperial Service and gained a lot of power in the society.

The Fulani Sharo Tradition

“Sharo” means flogging. It is a public ceremony that demonstrates to the society that a young man has come of age, and may take a wife. The young participant is continuously whipped by someone else, called a challenger, but he must show no signs of pain. Blood and injuries are usually sustained. Many have died in this ceremony and survivors are deemed courageous.

The tradition is common amongst a group of people known as the Fulanis and they can be found in Mali, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and some other parts of Africa.

The Sati Culture in India

Sati is an ancient culture that existed amongst the Hindus in India, where a woman would burn herself on her dead husband’s funeral fire. It was considered an honorable act and the widow was believed to enter straight into heaven, as a reward for her sacrifice. She became a goddess and statues were built in her honor.

The act was banned by the British Government, but in the late 1980s, an instance was reported. Another case was also reported in 2002.

The Prevention of Sati Act now makes it illegal to aid, glorify or commit Sati. All offenses are punishable under the law.

Chinese Foot Binding

This was an ancient and extremely painful tradition practiced by the Chinese. An estimated 5 billion Chinese women were subjected to excruciating pain in a bid to make their feet look elegant.

From as little as the age of four, a young girl would have her feet bound tightly with bandages by elderly women. These bandages were kept on, but were changed regularly and increasingly tightened. The general aim of foot binding was to keep the foot at a desired size of 3-4 inches.

After years of agonizing pain, toe deformation and tight bandages, the girl would end up with a pair of tiny, folded feet.

Some of the women, who didn’t die in the process from infections like gangrene, lost the convenient use of their toes.

Despite the fact that walking and running were almost impossible for these women, those who didn’t take part in the tradition were deemed disrespectful. They were ostracized and it was difficult for them to find husbands. Their toes were considered ugly and unattractive.

Even though the tradition was outlawed, it still continued until the 1930s.

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30 Comments

MsToni

Mar 12th, 2008

Interesting!!!!

selena

Mar 28th, 2008

im doing a project in english about indonesia and i need to know strange customs that they have. does anyone know any good sites or books about it?

alex

May 7th, 2008

i am also doing a project in english and i cant find any good sites is SO hard lol

wildbubble

May 22nd, 2008

very nice customs. i wish we still had some of them now. for example, what if we still had something like this in Nigeria

OSTRA

THIS IS A CUSTOM AMONG A GROUP OF PEOPLE CALLED MIGERIA. IT GOES THIS WAY, WHEN A WOMAN’S HUSBANDS DIES, HER HUSBANDS KINSMEN PURSUE HER FROM HER HOME AND DISPOSSES HER OF HER HUSBANDS PROPERTY…….I THANK GOD WE ARE PAST THAT NOW, OR DO WE STILL DO IT

Pamela

Jun 14th, 2008

I love the internet,I try to learn something different everyday. This is very interesting.

mercy

Jun 26th, 2008

this is amazing.thank God for civilization.else……..traditions like this ll make me wanna commit suicide instead.lol

Denise

Jul 13th, 2008

The U.S. has this strange custom of cutting off the foreskin of male babies.

Reem

Jan 7th, 2009

that’s interesting
the facts about africa really helped me with my english project

BNT UAE !

Mar 6th, 2009

wow!!

thnnnnnxxx it helped me in my english project as well .. ( the chinses footbinding)

dksha

Mar 7th, 2009

im pretty sure i know who # 9 is!

:)

Cali

Mar 25th, 2009

i am very dissapionted with it i am in seventh grade and i know more then this website shows i need good info not bad. thanks

CRAZY!!!!!!

May 1st, 2009

please add more crazy traditions!!! They are so cool!!

HELLO

May 13th, 2009

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO AMAZING

ananya

May 15th, 2009

it is very valuable information but i think u can add more cultures…..thank u

melanie

May 31st, 2009

really interesting. a good source of information for my history assignment (chinese foot binding)ADD MORE MAD INFO its crazy nd disturbing but soooo fascinating. xMel

krystal

May 31st, 2009

that Cali girl obvious;y doen’t appreciate the gift of pure knowledge. dissapointing.

unnati

Jun 6th, 2009

it is nice n gives less information

jaini

Jun 11th, 2009

oh!!!!!!!!!!!thank god….now we don’t have these kind of customs to follow

sweety

Aug 1st, 2009

god will punish them for doing these foolish custom with women and girls

cool cat

Sep 11th, 2009

good to know sad to hear

mak

Oct 1st, 2009

soo amazing thank god v dont hve these types of customs ne more

jack

Oct 9th, 2009

somethin more plzzz….

narges

Nov 18th, 2009

i am so happy that dont live there .i cant beleive wemen burn themselves just for their husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

zaini

Dec 9th, 2009

some ppl still follow these kinds of customs still

jessi

Dec 11th, 2009

I’m gld i dont liv by these traditions.

natural home remedies

Aug 28th, 2010

India cultural traditions are full of excitement, fun and tragedy. One of them is Hijara community. Few decades before the Hijara’s spoken words were believed to be a blessing or a curse. But now they have made a business out of it, and some suffers a lot. Similar to this was Sati tradition. In Chittodgad of Rajasthan you can still see the place where the widowers use to jump into the fire of their dead husbands.
http://www.travelindia360.net

;D

Jan 9th, 2011

thanks for the info. although some of this give me a strange feelings. However this is there culture, so we must respect it, like we respect ours. :D

Genna

Mar 8th, 2011

lol…. circumcision (the cutting of the foreskin from the male children) originated OUTSIDE of the US…. just thought i’d put that out there. it is because of a tradition started back in the biblical times that it is still continued today… you should go out and do research yourself before you assume something.

nadeem

Mar 17th, 2011

00966531888414

Kayla

Nov 29th, 2011

Haha circumcision started with the Jewish religion and many Christians used to follow it as well. It originated outside of America.

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