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Odd Cultural Rituals: Passing Into Manhood

Here are two ways to pass into manhood in two different cultures.

Jumping of the Cows

This is performed in small parts of Ethiopia. They have all of their festive dances and special foods when this event takes place; everyone is all pumped up. Boys between the ages of about 14 to 20 participate in this ritual volunteering. They do it when they think they are ready. There is a line of between five and eight cows and the boy trying to pass into manhood but nude and walk on top of the cows backs to the other side without falling. If the boy fails the first time then they might get another chance depending on how much they are liked. Once they complete this ritual and pass into manhood, they have the right to get a wife, to own land, and to own cattle. But if they fail than they are going to have a very hard time trying to find a wife.

Bullet Ant Gloves

This ritual is performed by the Satere-Mawe people of Brazil. The men and woman there weave gloves resembling oven mitts out of native leaves. Then they are dipped into bullet ant hives and fill up with bullet ants. Then the two gloves are put on each hand of the boy trying to pass into manhood. These boys have to keep the glove on for about ten seconds before they can take them off. The only protection the boys have is a layer of charcoal on their hands. The pain of the bullet ant sting. Each boy has to do this same thing 20 times before they can be called a man. They can do it whenever they want no matter how spread out each go is.

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