319.7k readers

The Most Brutal Rites Of Passage To Become A Man In Cultures Around The World

Updated December 19, 2018 319.7k views8 items

Crazy rites of passage into manhood have been around for a long time. Throughout history, humans have come up with some pretty bizarre, and sometimes violent, methods for their children to prove themselves worthy enough to call themselves men. Nowadays, in much 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 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 cell phone bill.

  • Before A Hunt, The Matis Poison Their Eyes, Are Whipped, And Are Poisoned Again

    Video: YouTube

    The men of the Matis tribe of Brazil are skilled hunters; they have to be, otherwise they might miss out on that whole "eating" thing. However, before they are allowed to go on a hunt, they must endure a series of painful rituals to strengthen their bodies and minds.

    The first ritual involves dripping a bitter juice into their eyes. The juice causes intense burning, but is supposed to help them see more clearly. Next, the potential hunters are whipped to build up their courage and instill discipline. In fact, they believe so strongly in the practice of whipping, that they extend the courtesy to young children and pregnant women. When a hunter reaches the third ritual, their skin is broken with a hot coal, and poison from the green tree frog is rubbed into the wound, causing vomiting and diarrhea. After completion of these trials, the young men are considered worthy to join the hunt.

  • Members Of The Fulani Face Off In A Whipping Match

    Video: YouTube

    The Fulani are a nomadic people from West Africa. As a test of bravery and an initiation into manhood, two young boys from neighboring tribes are pitted against one another in a violent whipping match.

    With help from their fathers, each boy chooses and sharpens a long, thin branch that they think will inflict the most pain on their opponent. When the time for the match arrives, people from all around gather to watch and decide the winner. After each combatant takes three strikes from his opponent, the crowd chooses the victor based on how well they handled their respective beatings.

  • Young Men Of The Hamar Leap Over Cattle After Their Sisters Are Whipped

    Before a man of the Hamar tribe in Ethiopa can marry, own livestock, or have children, he must first leap across a line of cattle. While that sounds easy enough, you have to consider that failing to make the leap can bring someone a lot of shame within the tribe. Also, before he makes the leap, he becomes indebted to his female relatives as they are whipped to show their dedication to him, and if they run into trouble in the future, he owes them big time. The women of the tribe are accustomed to whippings, as wife beating is an accepted part of life among the Hamar, and husbands are usually expected not to tell their wives why they are beating them.

    After the women are whipped, the young man's head is shaved and he is smeared with dung. A line of castrated bulls is arranged and covered in dung, because running across the backs of cows not covered in excrement would be way too easy. The young man then has to run across the cattle four times, and while falling does bring shame, he may try again.

  • The Okiek Are Circumsized And Live In Seclusion From The Opposite Sex For 6 Months

    Photo: Mongabay / YouTube

    Around the age of 14 or 16, the boys of Kenya's Okiek tribe (sometimes written as Ogiek) are circumcised and immediately sent to live in seclusion from the opposite sex for six months (girls go through a similar rite on their own). This helps them form a bond with the men of the tribe, and learn a little bit of history.

    While they are in seclusion, they cover themselves in white clay to look like wild animals, and elder men from the tribe pass on secret knowledge of the tribe. But this secret knowledge isn't a conversation about the birds and bees. The young men are told about the cemaasiit, a mythical creature that haunts them with its nightly roar during the seclusion. How does this transform boys into men? Once the elders show them the instrument that makes the noise, the boys then use it to produce the sound themselves. The ritual is complete and they can leave as men.