Crazy rites of passage into manhood have been around for a long time. Throughout history humans came up with some pretty bizarre, and sometimes violent, methods to prove their children were worthy enough to call themselves men. Nowadays, in most of the developed world, becoming a man consists of surviving to the age of 18, at which point you can buy all the "vape" juice and pornography that your heart desires. However, there are still some cultures in the world today that have held on to their ancient practices, and these brutal male rites of passage will make you more than happy to start paying your own cellphone bill.
The Matausa Blood Initiation Rids Them of Female Contaminants
People of the Matausa tribe in New Guinea believe that if you really want to be a man, then you need to get rid of all those filthy woman bits that your mom left behind when you were born. This is why all of their initiates must suffer through their blood cleansing ritual.
The first part involves purging the stomach by inserting two long, thin, strips of cane down their throats to induce vomiting. After their stomach is cleaned out, it's time to clean out all of the dirty woman air that's passed through their noses. This is done by taking bundles of reeds and shoving them deep into the initiate's nostrils, causing them to bleed profusely. Finally, using what looks like a miniature bow and arrow, the elders repeatedly prick their tongues with the arrow's razor sharp head so they can bleed out any impurities in their mouths.
Tribes Along the Sepik River Cut and Scar Their Skin to Resemble a Crocodile
Along the Sepik river in Papau New Guinea, the crocodile is an important part of the local people's culture. According to myth, the most important parts of their belief system were passed on to them by a crocodile spirit.
Having skin like a crocodile isn't something most people want, but for the people of the Sepik, it is a symbol of masculinity. The ritual is intense, only happening about once a decade, and initiates range from age eleven to thirty five. Before the actual skin cutting begins, the initiates spend weeks of seclusion in the tribe's Spirit House, adhering to an extremely strict set of rules that limit everything from their diet, contact with the outside world, and even how they use the bathroom. After their time of seclusion is over, a family member, usually an uncle from their mother's side, holds them down as a trained "cutter" begins to make about 450 tiny incisions all over the initiates' back and chest in the shape of a crocodile. The intention is that the bleeding will rid their bodies of any female influence left by their mother at birth.
After they are cut, the blood is washed away, and the incisions are filled with mud from the river to promote infection. This is what causes the scars to well up into little bumps and give the appearance of crocodile skin.
Boys of the Sateré-Mawé Stick Their Hands Into a Glove Full of Bullet Ants
If you've seen Antman, then you've probably heard of the Bullet Ant, which has one of the most painful stings in the world. It can cause paralysis, and the effects can last up to a day or more. Most people probably wouldn't volunteer to let one of these little guys sting them, let alone stick their hand into a glove full of them. However, if you are a member of the Sateré-Mawé tribe in Brazil, and you want to be considered a man, then you have to do just that.
In order to pass into adulthood, young men of the tribe have to go through this ritual not once, but 20 times over the course of several days, or longer, depending on how long it takes to complete. The boys first have to go out and collect the ants, which are bathed in a sedative to render them unconscious. Then they place the ants into a glove, woven from leaves, with their stingers facing inward. Once the gloves are ready, the boys put them on and have to wear them for 10 minutes; they're stung a countless number of times. To put that into perspective, the sting from just one of these ants is 30 times more potent than a bee sting.
Boys from the Island of Pentecost Must Perform Naghol, AKA "Land Diving"
Every year on the island of Pentecost, boys from the local tribes start building a tall wooden tower. One would think that climbing these rickety towers would be enough to consider them men, but in order to prove their masculinity the boys must leap from the tower using nothing but a vine as a makeshift bungee cord. The towers can reach heights of over 90 feet, and in order for the ritual to be completed, their heads must brush the ground, often resulting in serious injury and sometimes death. A successful jump is supposed to signify a bountiful yam harvest.
The ritual comes from a local legend concerning the wife of a man called Tamalie and, according to the legend, it was Tamalie's wife who was the first person to perform the Naghol. Though currently, only men are allowed to perform the jump.