If you want to get an idea of how big and diverse the world is then you don’t need to look much further than the most fascinating tribal traditions on the planet.
Bungee Jumping on Pentecost Island
You really don’t want to be afraid of heights if you are born on Pentecost Island. Here, the men have a terrifying annual tradition that involves throwing themselves off a giant tower while tied to a vine. The tower is 90 ft (27 metres) high and the tribal bungee jumping tradition off it is viewed as a rite of passage for males on the island. They fall at up to 40 mph (64 km/h) and land inches from the ground, with only their hair allowed to touch the soil. The tradition is known locally as Naghol or Gol but you can call it Land Diving if you like.
Tribal Tattoos – Many Places
Tribal tattoos are now pretty cool, aren’t they? No matter where you live, you can get a tattoo of a dragon, a Mayan symbol, a Celtic cross or whatever else you want. However, the real, authentic tribal tattoos have been around for a very long time. The one in the photo is from the Philippines. It is something that has been practised for centuries all over the world.
Eating the Ashes – Venezuela / Brazil
The Yanomami people who live in Venezuela and Brazil have a tribal tradition you don’t really want to try. This ancient tribe hasn’t really been affected by modern life. This means that their old fashioned tradition of dealing with their dead carries on. Their beliefs mean that they can’t hold on to any parts of a deceased family member. So what do they do? Well, the body is burned and everything left over is crushed and added to the ashes. This is then added to a banana mash and eaten.
Kidnapping the Bride – Sudan
The Latuka tribe in Sudan have a very interesting way of arranging weddings. The guy who hopes to be the lucky groom kidnaps his potential bride and gets elderly family members to go and tell the other family that he wants to marry her. If the girl’s father agrees with the marriage then he give the groom a good beating. If he disagrees then the man can try and marry her anyway and presumably save himself a beating.
The Ant Glove – Brazil
The tribe of Satere-Mawe from Amazon region in Brazil have one of the most painful sounding tribal traditions around. A boy who wants to prove that he is now a man needs to put his hand inside a glove. Nothing wrong with that, you might think. Ah, it’s what’s inside the glove that counts, though. It is filled with bullet ants, which give out some of the most painful stings in the world. He must wear the glove for 10 minutes and then repeat the tribal torture 20 more times in the next few months.
Negotiating for the Bride – Southern Africa
Lobola is a tradition in parts of Southern Africa in which the families of the bride and groom enter into negotiations for the price of the bride. The interesting thing about this is that the negotiations are all done in writing. The two families can’t meet to talk about the matter until it is settled.