9 Controversial Rituals Still Practiced Today
1Female Genital Mutilation (Africa)
In most cases cutting is done by a traditional practitioner without any anesthesia and little care for hygiene. Razors, knives, or scissors are used and they are rarely sterilized. The surgery takes place wherever it is convenient, from out in the open to a bathroom floor.
2Bloodletting for the Annual Mourning Rite (Shi'a Muslims)
People mourn the fact that they were not present at the battle to fight and save Husayn and his family by spilling their own blood and that of their children. Shi'a Muslims commonly believe that taking part in Ashura absolves them of sin. A popular Shi'a saying has it that, "a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins."
3Putting Elderly Out to Die in the Ice (Eskimos)
When old age strikes, the elderly Eskimos are taken out to sea and set adrift on a floating iceberg. Alone on their iceberg, the elderly must inevitably freeze or starve to death.
Because the Eskimos believed that another world awaits their dead, they would be sending the elderly to move on to the afterlife with dignity, a way to gracefully exit without becoming a burden for the family. However, there are concerns that this practice is still in use among modern Eskimos.
4Drinking from Human Skulls and Practicing Cannibalism (India)
5Eating Dead People's Ashes (Venezuela and Brazil)
6Pulling a Tooth during Adulthood (Australia)
7Massacring Animals (India, Indonesia and Nepal)
The ritual slaughter normally forms part of a festival to honor a Hindu God. Ritual animal sacrifice also includes a cockfight where a rooster is used to fight against another rooster, a form of animal sacrifice. The spilling of blood is necessary as purification to appease the evil spirits.
8Making a Subincision into the Urethra (Australia)
In this operation, a slit is cut through the ventral surface of the penis into the urethra from its orifice to a position about a inch along the shaft of the penis. The slit is usually extended bit by bit until the full extent of the penile urethra is converted into an open channel.
Because the channel tends to heal over at the proximal end, some people modify the operation by making transverse cuts.
9Wearing Collars of Metal (Thailand and other African tribes)
The length of the coil is gradually increased to as much as twenty turns. The weight of the coils eventually places sufficient pressure on the shoulder blades to cause them to deform, creating an impression of a longer neck.
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