For starters, check out this image of what males in Vanuatu have to do to become a man. Land diving looks a bit like bungee jumping, but it`s way scarier! The divers leap off wooden towers that can be nearly 100 feet high -- with only 2 tree vines tied around their ankles for safety.
All around the world, various cultures put their young men through bizarre and frightening initiation rites on their journey to manhood. These destinations might not make the best spots for family vacations, but you can click through to see what you`re missing out on!
You`ve got to be tough to live in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. And if you`re a boy from the Satere-Mawe tribe you have to prove your readiness to become a man by enduring an intense amount of pain without making a sound. Bullet ants have a sting that is unbelievably painful. These ants are woven into a glove which the boys have to wear for minutes at a time -- without making a sound. If a boy can make it through the ordeal several times he shows that he`s ready to be a warrior of the tribe.
Boys of the Ethiopian tribe of Hamar go through a unique rite of passage -- cow jumping. Once the cows are all properly lined up, the boys have to leap from cow to cow, down the whole row without falling. It`s harder than it sounds! And if a boy fails in the attempt, then he`s not allowed to get married. Also part of the ceremony -- whipping of the women of the tribe!
Traditionally, the rite of passage for a boy in the Maasai tribe involved a terrifying challenge. He had to hunt and kill one of the most feared of all wild animals -- the lion. Being chosen to participate in the lion hunt allowed a boy to show his bravery and fighting skills, and prove his worth as a warrior. Not something for the faint of heart!
In Bali, a traditional rite of passage for both boys and girls is to get their teeth filed. Supposedly, the teeth symbolize animals. Filing them is believed to ward off all these evils -- anger, greed, lust, drunkenness, jealousy, and confusion. Sounds like a bad trip to the dentist!
A traditional manhood ritual for Australian Aboriginals is to take a journey of self-discovery known as a walkabout. To undertake this solitary journey -- which can be up to 6 months long -- a boy needs to be extremely brave as he learns how to survive on his own in the wilderness of the Australian outback.
If you`re a male of one of the Sepik tribes in Papua New Guinea you need to endure a painful process of "scarification" on your journey to manhood. After a boy is lacerated with bamboo sticks on the chest, back, and buttocks, his scars take on the look of crocodile scales. He effectively becomes a "crocodile man."
The Matis tribe in Brazil doesn`t mess around when it comes to its manhood rituals, which include:
To become a man in the Algonquin tribe of Quebec, a boy was given a drug which was supposed to make him lose all his memories of childhood. If the boy somehow managed to survive the ordeal but still remembered his childhood, the whole process would start over!
Boys in the Sambia tribe of Papua New Guinea are separated from their mothers at the age of 7 to go live in an all-male hut. There they toughen up with some extreme manhood rituals, including forced nosebleeds, beatings, and even drinking the semen of grown men. Yikes!
Walkabout isn`t the only Australian Aboriginal manhood ritual. In some tribes it was traditional for a boy to have a tooth knocked out with a stone as part of becoming a man. And while circumcision is a rite of passage for boys in many parts of the world, it was particularly gruesome for some Aboriginal boys -- who also actually had to eat their own foreskin during the ceremony.
Fulani boys in Benin, West Africa each choose a stick, sharpen it -- and then battle it out in pairs in the fight to become a man. After each boy has given 3 blows, the crowd decides on the bravest, who is then declared the winner.