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The Weirdest Creation Myths from Around the World

Updated September 23, 2021 4.3k votes 1.4k voters 69.7k views15 items

List RulesVote up the strangest cultural creation myths from religions and people around the world.

Throughout history, humanity has asked: How was everything made? Whether it was the earth, the stars, the sun, or the sky, we've always wondered how things came into being. Most cultures developed myths about how different parts of our universe were created, a few of which you might have heard before. However, you might not have heard of some of the truly weird creation myths out there. Have you heard that life is actually made from butter? No? Then do we have some stories for you.

No matter what religion, culture, or belief system formed in any part of the world, there seems to be some common themes. Either the gods create the world through hardship and sometimes death, or some mother goddess births everything. But besides these common threads, things can get pretty weird, gross, and even disturbing, no matter where the myth comes from.

So get ready for vomit, circumcision, weird snakes, and even sea urchins as we begin our voyage through worldwide creation mythology. You'll be surprised at some of the stories still being told around the world today. 
  • Photo: Al_HikesAZ / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Humans Didn't Exist Until the Zuni Gods Did Some Plastic Surgery

    The Zuni believed that in the beginning of humanity, we had no mouths or anuses. That's right, no entrances, and no exits. We had webbed feet and crept around like some sort of pale lizard, and didn't know what we were or what to do. We were unfinished, and not quite humans yet.

    We eventually came into the light with the Bow Priests, who wanted us to grow and improve. To help us do this, they planted corn, grew it, and harvested it for us. However, seeing as these early humans had no mouths or anuses, they really couldn't do anything about it. To fix this, the bow priests waited until we were all asleep, then took a knife, and cut mouths onto our faces.

    Of course, then humans ate, but by nightfall they were very uncomfortable because they could not poop. To fix this, the bow priests took the same knives and made us all anuses. We should probably be really glad they didn't make those two holes in opposite order. 

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  • Photo: _chrisUK / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Chinese Believed the Sky and Earth Were Made of Eggshells

    Eggs actually play a major role in many creation myths, but the Chinese had a particular good one. You see, according to them, in the beginning heaven and hearth were one creation, and the universe was nothing but chaos. Everything was all contained in one massive, dark egg. Then Pangu, a great god, was born inside of the egg and waited there, growing strong.

    When he awoke, he realized he was trapped and wanted to free himself. He tore the egg apart, the upper half of the shell becoming the sky, and the lower half becoming the earth. When he eventually died, various parts of his body became different parts of the earth, much like the Norse mythos. 

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  • Photo: Heather / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    The First Maori Children Caused a Perfect Marriage to Break Up

    The Maori creation myth is actually pretty sad, and doesn't speak very well about having kids. The story goes that there was a Sky Father, Rangi, and an Earth Mother, Papa. They loved each other immensely, and at the beginning of time they just lay together, hugging so tightly that there was no separation between them at all. Everything was peaceful. But then they had kids. Like, a lot of kids.

    These children were contained between them in darkness, and didn't much like this arrangement, so they decided to force their parents apart. They at last managed to do this, and the Rangi separated from the earth and went to live as the sky. Still, to this day, Rangi misses Papa so much that he will sigh and weep, and this is why it rains. The moral of this story? Don't have children, I guess. 

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  • Photo: siamesepuppy / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    A Native American Hummingbird Created the Stars

    If you're a little guy and need some serious inspiration, keep reading. Many myths credit the creation of the stars to the spirits of ancestors, distant gods, or messages left for us. In one Native American myth, however, it has more to do with punishment than promises. The great spirits were noticing that none of the animals were getting along, constantly bickering and fighting with each other. The great spirits decided to teach the disagreeable animals a lesson and took the sun away, covering the sky with a great dark blanket. Many animals volunteered to pull away the blanket, including Coyote and Bear, but none could do it.

    At last, the smallest of the birds, the Hummingbird, volunteered. Given that she was so tiny, the animals all laughed at her, but still they let her try. With all her might, she flew all the way up to the blanket, and was able to puncture it with her beak. But she was too weak to do much more. Still, determined, she flew up again and again, each time poking a new hole. Eventually, the other animals, amazed at her effort, began to help, boosting her up when she lacked energy.

    When the great spirits saw this teamwork, they removed the blanket as a reward. But once at night, every night, they put the blanket back so that we can see the stars, and be reminded that we should not forget that everyone is useful in their own way. And that is why we have the night, the day, and the stars. 

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