Another 10 Bizarre Traditions

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Following the success of some of our previous lists about the bizarre practices of humans through the ages (and up to modern times in some cases), we have prepared another list. This list includes only new items – excluding anything that has appeared on previous lists such as Tibetan Sky Burial or Thaipusam. In fact, we recommend you check out the Top 10 Bizarre Traditions, Top 10 Bizarre Festivals, and Top 10 Weird Religious Praticesbefore reading this list.

10. Iyomante Ritual

The Ainu people (an indigenous tribe from parts of Japan and Russia) are a once-suppressed ethnic minority whose religious roots are animist. Because of their worship of nature, they developed a tradition in which bears were killed in order to send their soul to heaven to bless mankind. This ritual (Iyomante) involves the slaughter of a hibernating mother bear in her cave. Her cubs are raised in captivity for two years and then fatally choked or speared in a sacramental act meant to show religious devotion. The villagers then drink the bear’s blood and eat its flesh. The skull is placed on an upturned spear which is wrapped with the bear skin. This bizarre type of scarecrow is then worshipped. The Ainu people believe bears are gods walking among humans. Unfortunately, due to a law change in Japan which revoked the ban on the ritual, it is now occurring again in some places.

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