From head butting coconut to following a ritual believed to keep the spirits of the dead away, there are many interesting religious traditions seen around the world. In this article, you will encounter a few, which involve cultures in India, China, and Greece.
Burning of Paper Possessions
We already know that the ancient Egyptians believed that burying their pharaohs with possessions would ensure an afterlife with all of the luxuries they enjoyed in life. In the past, the Chinese had a tradition that somewhat follows in the same footsteps. There is a belief that when someone dies, mourners should burn paper replicas of household items to make sure the deceased can enjoy them in the afterlife. It is an attempt to please the dead in hopes that they burnt offerings will keep their ghosts from haunting the living.
Twirling for Meditation
If you belonged to the Sufi Mawlawi order, you may have endured training required to perform at a ritual that lasted for centuries. The Sema ceremony saw meditation that involved twirling in circles. The act is thought to bring someone closer to Allah. In order to participate in the ritual, each individual experiences 1,001 days of training, which took place in seclusion. During this time, dancers studied music, poetry, and Sufi prayers. The dancers also wore distinctive clothing , white gowns that were wide and flared out. This type of clothing allowed them to easily twirl for hours.
In the Gothic town of Valencia (in Spain), a yearly tradition takes place during the Feast of St. Joseph. Bonfires light up the city and smoke fills the air, as hundreds of gigantic sculptures made out of paper mache are set on fire. The five-day festival that takes place in March is called Las Fallas, and fancy figures can reach more than 50 feet tall and cost as much as $75,000 to construct. The majority of the sculptures depict unpopular politicians and celebrities. To burn the sculptures, it makes the public feel better.
In southern India, it is not uncommon to see an individual highlight their religious devotion by participating in a tradition that involves the coconut. One time per year, priests at the Veerapathiran Samy temple will break open thousands of coconuts by smashing them on the heads of devotees. You must be 18 years or older to participate. The ritual is a method that the culture uses to give thanks to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi for their good luck and well being. However, the ceremony has its ups and downs. Some people are injured during the process because the shell of the coconut is so hard. Those that sustain injuries are told that they are being punished by the gods for not being devout enough. Priests claim that injuries do not happen that often. Every year, thousands of participants are willing to take place in the ceremony.