#3. Scissors Dancing and Other Bodily Impairment
We all heard the old "don't run with scissors" line as kids, and the fact that most of us are still sporting two eyeballs as adults shows that we must have listened. In Peru, however, they seem to have a vendetta against overprotective mothers, because not only do they run with scissors, they dance with them. Oh, and also they stab them through various parts of their bodies.
Also, flying self mouth kicks.
La Danza de las Tijeras, or scissors dancing, is performed annually in the southern highlands of Peru. It's a competition where dancers go through a grueling physical and spiritual test -- the dances can last up to 10 hours -- to see who can push themselves the furthest. But dancing around in brightly colored outfits while holding some scissors is pretty tame compared to some of the other events we've shown you, right?
This is what happens when you run with scissors, kids.
At some point, someone decided that dancing with sharp objects wasn't quite extreme enough. So they go through all sorts of terrifying trials, such as jabbing rusty metal objects through their skin, lying on a bed of broken glass (while people stand on them), sticking themselves with pins, sticks and cacti and eating live animals such as frogs and snakes on stage. But why do they do all this?
When a guy's getting his tongue nailed to a harp with a rusty hammer, should we really ask why?
Peruvian scissors dancing dates back to the 16th century, when Spain had just "discovered" Peru and decided to make it their new backyard. The natives didn't exactly appreciate Spain forcing their newfangled Catholic religion on them, and by doing their traditional dances, they believed that they could be possessed by their old gods, the Huacas, thereby signaling their return to defeat Spain's robe-wearing bearded guy. The Huacas never did show up to punch Jesus in the face, but the Peruvians kept right on dancing nonetheless, and today scissors dancing makes for one hell of a tourist attraction.
"Get in the picture, honey, quick! Before he moves!"
#2. Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival: Scary Tattoo Needles and Animal Spirit Possessions
Every March in Nakhon Pahom, Thailand, thousands of locals and adventurous tourists gather around the Wat Bang Phra temple, where they pray to the shrine of Buddha and pay their respects to the monks, who give special tattoos called sak yant. What's so special about these tattoos, you ask? Well, for one thing, they take an enormous amount of skill to create, because instead of using a normal mainstream tattoo gun, the monks use a horrifyingly gigantic needle, about 18 inches in length and 4 millimeters in width.
He's tattooing a dragon on that guy's kidney.
But there's more to it than just getting some bitchin' ink: The participants believe the sak yant are capable of bringing them spiritual and physical protection, and that they can possess their bodies with the spirits of the animals depicted. With these spirits, they believe that they become faster, stronger and resistant to pain, and during the festival many of them fall into trances and become literal party animals.
This guy's channeling a kitty. Hiss!
Throughout the day, with thousands of people praying in front of the Buddha statue, hundreds of tattooed men who've become possessed ("possessed" by tattoo ink fumes and sun exposure, we're thinking) start to scream and roar. And when they just can't hold it in any longer, they jump up and prowl through the crowd, launching themselves at the shrine like prepubescent girls at a Justin Bieber concert (prepubescent rabid girls, that is). They get so out of control that armed security guards have to be constantly at the ready to restrain them.
"HULK ... CLAW YOUR GODDAMN FACE OFF!"
And if you think these are just a few oddballs who got lost in the crowd, think again. Sitting in the crowd at this festival is like sitting inside a Street Fighter game, never knowing when the dude next to you will decide to power up a hadouken:
#1. Indian Good Luck Babies: The Annual 50-Foot Baby Toss
In many parts of the world, it's considered completely unacceptable to do things like leave your baby unattended in a car, drop it off at the mall food court to fend for itself like a feral cat or chuck it off of a 50-foot building. What, you've never heard of that last one? Well once a year in Sholapur, India, mothers from around the region do exactly that for the sole purpose of securing "good luck" for their child. And damn, do these kids need it.
In the event that you didn't watch that video (and good for you), a bunch of babies are gripped by their teensy little wrists and their tiny little ankles, jiggled up a bit, and then dropped from the top of a 50-freaking-foot tower onto a bed sheet held taut by the crowd below. And the kids just look terrifyingly confused about the whole thing. Wait, what are we saying? Of course they do -- they're infants. They rely on the adults around them to know better than to pull shit like this.
"Seriously, all of you are ending up in a nursing home."
But besides the whole "desperate for some good luck" thing, this seems to be a practice that hundreds of Muslims and Hindus are pretty OK with. The ritual has been going on for over 500 years, and since there haven't been any reported injuries (emphasis on the "reported"), the tradition has carried on.
But that hasn't stopped people who were presumably not dropped as infants from speaking out against the practice, citing some pretty convincing reasons to abolish it -- such as "Hey, guys? You probably shouldn't drop babies off of buildings." But since the ritual takes place in a region of the world where good luck is in seriously short supply, it's likely going to take something damn compelling to convince them to cut this shit out.
India Book of Records
And if the look on that kid's face doesn't convince them, nothing will.
You can check out more from Kier over at his blog, Makeshift Coma, or follow him on Twitter. When he's not busy being baffled by the things elephants can be trained to do, Gabriel is supporting an awesome band. You can follow XJ on his blog and on Twitter.
For more parties that got out of hand, check out The 7 Most Unexpectedly Awesome Parties in History and 5 Halloween Parties Too Badass to Be Real (That Totally Are).