The Chinese Farming Village Where Everybody Knows Kung Fu

0 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Ganxi Dong, a small village hidden deep in the mountains of Tianzhu in central China, is gaining worldwide attention for its unusually skilled residents. Apparently, everyone who lives in the self-sustaining village is a martial arts expert!

The Dong people, one of the 56 recognised ethnic minorities in China, pride themselves for having shunned the outside world in favor of local tradition. Apart from farming, every villager is well-versed in the art of kung fu, each one pursuing a different style of the ancient Chinese martial arts. They use a range of weapons including sticks, pitchforks, and their own fists.

Ganxi-kung-fu-village2

..

Couple Married for 60 Years Celebrate Every Anniversary by Eating a Piece of Their Original Wedding Cake

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

For the past 60 years, this Florida couple have been celebrating their anniversary by eating a piece out of their wedding cake – not a replica, the original one!

Ann and Ken Fredericks were married on 19 August, 1955 and Ann’s grandmother had baked a three-layer fruitcake for the occasion. The top layer of that cake, baked six decades ago, still exists in a metal Maxwell Coffee House can. “Every year, we unwrap it, pour brandy over it – because you need to moisten it – and we break off a piece,” Ann said.

“Everybody just looks at us with amazed looks when they hear about it,” she added. “Our children are appalled that we would be eating something that’s 60 years old. But believe me, it’s quite tasty, as long as it’s got enough brandy on it. And it’s never made us sick.”

old-wedding-cake ..

Colombians Celebrate Iconic Jeeps by Loading Them with Everything They Can Get Their Hands On

0 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The Yipao is a unique annual tradition in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle dedicated to the Willys Jeeps, the iconic American car the locals have been relying on since the 1940s.

For the people of Quindío district, Jeeps have been a source of livelihood and a significant part of daily life since the 1940s. The unpaved roads of the coffee mountains are filled with Jeeps that transport people and their belongings – including piles of coffee bags, livestock, harvested produce, and more. When families have to relocate, they often pile all their belongings onto one Jeep and move in a single trip.

Jeeps are such an integral part of life that they’re fondly known in Spanish as ‘mulitas mécanicas (mechanical mules). The country’s farmers use them to get to places that were previously accessible only by riding pack animals. Given how deeply Jeeps have impacted the life of locals, it’s only befitting that they pay homage to the vehicle during the annual Yipao parade.

Yipao-Jeep-parade ..

In Some Parts of the World Ant Heads Were Once Used as Stitches

Comments Off on In Some Parts of the World Ant Heads Were Once Used as StitchesStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Remember the gut wrenching scene from Apocalypto, where Jaguar Paw’s wife uses ants’ pincers as sutures on her young son? Turns out it was inspired by a real medical treatment used in part of Asia, Africa and South America.

According to survival expert Cody Lundin, who starred on the Discovery reality show Dual Survival, army ants – soldiers that guard the rest of the colony – are known for their whopper mandibles. “I know that in ancient China, they were used as sutures by a lot of native peoples,” he explained on the show. “Take it on both sides of your wound and it’s going to clamp down on your flesh, and when you pinch off the body, it will hold that wound shut. Once they bite on, they don’t let go. You can physically pull their body away from their head, and they will stay embedded in the flesh.”

ant-heads-sutures ..

Men Shower Themselves with Molten Iron During Fiery Chinese Celebration

Comments Off on Men Shower Themselves with Molten Iron During Fiery Chinese CelebrationStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Every year, during the Lantern Festival, the Chinese village of Nuanquan hosts one of the most spectacular pyrotechnics show in the world. Called Da Shuhua (Chinese for “tree flower) the tradition involves experienced blacksmiths showering themselves with molten iron.

Da Shuhua is believed to have originated over 300 years ago, when local blacksmiths came up with a unique alternative to fireworks. The rich would always celebrate New Year with fire crackers, but poor blacksmiths could not afford them, so they had to rely on their to find a cheaper alternative. Inspired by iron striking, the blacksmiths started melting iron at temperatures of around 1,000 degrees Celsius and throwing it at a large stone wall to create an effect similar to fireworks. In contact with the cold stone, the splashed molten iron would generate beautiful iron flowers that rained down on the brave blacksmiths.

Da-Shuhua ..

Shocking Mexican Drinking Game Has People Electrocuting Themselves for Fun

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

‘Toques’, an increasingly popular Mexican drinking game, is both literally and figuratively shocking! Played among friends who want to affirm their macho status, the bizarre game involves participants electrocuting themselves while drinking to see how much they can handle.

“The drunker people get, the more voltage they can generally handle,” said Javier Rodriguez, who conducts the game in Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood. “I’ve seen party-goers pass out after 100 volts, although it usually has something to do with what they’ve been drinking.” He visits all the bars and restaurants in the area every day, starting at 3pm and playing into the wee hours of the morning, equipped with a ‘shock box’ containing the metal handles that players have to touch in order to complete the electrical circuit.

Toques-drinking-game2 ..

Indian Village Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Girl Child is Born

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

While a vast majority of Indians continue to prefer sons, a small village in the Indian state of Rajasthan has its own unique tradition of celebrating their daughters. Since 2006, the residents of Piplantri village, in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, have been planting a whopping 111 trees to celebrate the birth of a girl!

Given that an average of 60 girls are born each year, the villagers have managed to plant over 250,000 trees so far – including varieties like Neem, Indian Rosewood, and Mango. The community of 8,000 residents is also dedicated to making sure that the trees survive and attain fruition as the girls grow up.

Piplantri-village

..

Male Belly Dancers Are All the Rage in Turkey These Days

Comments Off on Male Belly Dancers Are All the Rage in Turkey These DaysStumble it Icon digg it Icon

If you thought belly dancing was exclusive to women, you’re in for a surprise. Believe it or not, male belly dancing is a real thing in Turkey, and it’s totally in vogue. Sporting designer stubbles and dressed in skirts decorated with coins and shimmering tassels, the dancers jerk their hips to Turkish tunes, enthralling their audience with their exotic moves.

Interestingly, these male performers are not a recent phenomenon. Known as ‘zennes’, they used to be a regular feature at the courts of Ottoman Sultans, because Muslim women were not permitted to perform on stage at the time. But as the 600-year Empire declined and society modernized, women took on more public roles. The number of female belly dancers rose, and the number of zennes slowly declined.

Although they haven’t made an appearance for decades, interest in the ancient art form is now at a new peak. It all started with the Islamic-rooted Turkish government’s attempt to revive the nation’s conservative Ottoman past. Apart from the government’s attempts, the enthusiasm among the nation’s population for the Ottoman-era culture has helped improve the popularity of male belly dancing.

zenne-belly-dancers3 ..

Buying Love at Bulgaria’s Roma Bridal Market

Comments Off on Buying Love at Bulgaria’s Roma Bridal MarketStumble it Icon digg it Icon

The Romani people, who constitute one of Bulgaria’s largest ethnic minorities, have a unique marriage tradition – a ‘bride market’. Held four times a year on various religious holidays, the market is a chance for poor families in the community to arrange financially beneficial marriages for their children.

The families that gather in the city of Stara Zagora for the festival are part of a gypsy community of 18,000 Roma known as Kalaidzhi. They are traditionally coppersmiths, and among the most poverty-stricken people in the nation. The bride market is a chance for these families to get together, catch up on gossip, and arrange matches for their adolescent children. The event is a colorful one, with grannies dressed in traditional Kalaydzhii long skirts, and children running about and eating candyfloss.

The prospective brides are usually dressed provocatively in mini skirts, with gobs of mascara, flashy jewellery and towering heels. They dance alongside their male suitors on car hoods, which is quite rare in a community that generally does not allow youths to mingle with the opposite sex. In fact, the Kalaidzhi, who are devout Christians, take girls out of school at age 15 to keep them away from temptation.

bride-market ..

Humane Bullfighting in Costa Rica – No one Can Hurt the Bull but the Bull Can Kill Anyone

Comments Off on Humane Bullfighting in Costa Rica – No one Can Hurt the Bull but the Bull Can Kill AnyoneStumble it Icon digg it Icon

While the bullfights of Spain and Mexico generally don’t end well for the bull, Costa Ricans prefer to do things differently. Since cattle are revered as a source of income for thousands of farming families in the nation, they don’t consider it practical to kill bulls for sport. Although bullfights are a main event at Zapote – the annual Costa Rican bull festival – the bulls always leave the arena unscathed.

Corridas de toros (bullfights) are held all through the year in Costa Rica, but Zapote’s is considered to be the country’s grandest event. At the end of each year, cattle farmers from all over the nation haul their bulls and gather at the capital, for the much-awaited celebration. And instead of glorifying man’s power over the beast, the bullfights during Zapote celebrate bulls. The animals are never to be killed, only dodged.

Costa-Rica-bullfighting ..

Indian Priests Smash Coconuts on Devotees’ Heads in Bizarre Good Luck Ritual

Comments Off on Indian Priests Smash Coconuts on Devotees’ Heads in Bizarre Good Luck RitualStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Every year, thousands of devotees travel to a remote village in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu to put themselves through a gruesome ritual that they hope will bring them good health and success. Believe it or not, men, women and even children willingly permit priests to smash hard coconuts on their skulls!

Breaking coconuts on a sacred stone as an offering to the deity is a common practice in South Indian temples. But breaking them on one’s own head is quite rare, and viewed as an extreme display of devotion. Several devotees squat on the floor in a line, waiting patiently as the temple priests approach with a sack of coconuts. One priest holds the heads firmly, while the other one brings down the coconuts without hesitation. The whole process is completed in a matter of minutes.

Some devotees can be seen wincing in pain as the coconuts come crashing on to their heads. Some massage their heads, while others promptly collect the broken pieces as holy offerings. Surprisingly, there are a few who don’t flinch at all – these people are often in a deep meditative state of prayer. Nonetheless, medical staff are always present to tend to serious injuries.

coconut-ritual

..

The Eerie Smoked Corpses of Papua New Guinea

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

For centuries, the Anga tribe of Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Highlands have practiced a unique mummification technique – smoke curing. Once smoked, the mummies aren’t buried in tombs or graves; instead, they are placed on steep cliffs, so that they overlook the village below. The very sight of a string of charred, red bodies hanging off the mountains might seem quite grotesque, but for the Anga people, it’s the highest form of respect for the dead.

The process itself is carried out carefully and thoroughly by experienced embalmers. At first, the knees, elbows and feet of the corpse are slit, and the body fat is drained completely. Then, hollowed-out bamboo poles are jabbed into the dead person’s guts, and the drippings are collected. These drippings are smeared into the hair and skin of living relatives. Through this ritual, the strength of the deceased is believed to be transferred to the living. The leftover liquid is saved for later use as cooking oil.

smoked-corpses

..

Nepal’s Worshiped Child Goddesses Whose Feet Cannot Touch the Ground until Puberty

Comments Off on Nepal’s Worshiped Child Goddesses Whose Feet Cannot Touch the Ground until PubertyStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Nepal is a land of mysticism, where a select few pre-pubescent girls from the Newar clan are worshiped as ‘Kumari Devi’ or ‘Virgin Goddess’. According to tradition, Durga (the Hindu goddess of destruction) herself is incarnate in young girls belonging to the silver and goldsmith community. Until they attain puberty, Kumaris are worshipped as deities and deemed protectors by thousands of adoring Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal.

To prove that she is the chosen one, a prospective Kumari must go through over 30 tests. Initially, high priests choose girls based on their physical characteristics – with a slender neck like a conch shell, gentle eyes like a cow, and other special traits. In the next stage, the girl must pass through a series of unusual trials. In one test, she is placed in a darkened room with severed animal heads and hideously masked dancing men, while her reaction is observed. In another test, she must correctly identify the items worn by her predecessor (similar to the ritual used in Tibet to choose a new Dalai Lama).

14137347067_9a869b71d1_z

..

Fishing with Otters in Bangladesh – A Dying Tradition

Comments Off on Fishing with Otters in Bangladesh – A Dying TraditionStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Otter Fishing has been a long-standing tradition in Bangladesh. For centuries, fishermen have been using trained otters to lure fish into their nets – a unique technique passed on from father to son that has long died out in other parts of Asia. Bangladeshi fishermen have managed to keep it alive so far, but the future of otter fishing seems uncertain due to the dwindling  population of fish in the country’s rivers.

As a part of the tradition, fishermen lower their nets into the water close to the banks of the river. As they do this, their pet otters also dive tails up into the water with a splash. The animals do not catch the fish themselves, but chase them towards the fishing nets for the fishermen to haul in. Otter fishing is generally practiced during the night, with some fisherman throwing their nets until dawn trying to catch enough fish to support their families. Their hard work yields anywhere between 4 and 12 kilos of fish and shrimp every night.

A fishing family makes about $250 a month with the modest catch. “Our job depends on the otters,” said Shashudhar Biswas, a fisherman from Narail district in southern Bangladesh. “The otters manage to spot fish among the plants, then the fish swim away and we stay close with our nets. If we did it without them, we wouldn’t be able to catch as many fish,” his son Vipul added.

Otter-Fishing

..

Taiwan’s Notoriously Dangerous Beehive Rocket Festival

Comments Off on Taiwan’s Notoriously Dangerous Beehive Rocket FestivalStumble it Icon digg it Icon

When I light a firecracker, I make sure to run at least 10 yards away before it pops. That’s how terrified I am of the noise and sparks. So when I watched a video of Taiwan’s Beehive Rockets festival, I was quite shocked. These crazy people deliberately run into bursting firecrackers. They dance in clusters as hundreds of crackers go off, allowing the sparks to rain on them. Like I said – crazy!

The Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival is one of the oldest folk festivals in Taiwan and the third largest in the world. It has been celebrated for over 180 years in the southern district of Yanshui. Its origins date back to 1885, when a cholera epidemic had gripped the district. Due to primitive medical facilities, the disease consumed thousands of victims. Locals lived in a state of fear and prayed to Guan Di, the god of war, to save them.

So what exactly is a Beehive Rocket? Essentially, it is a multiple launcher of bottle rockets. Thousands of bottle rockets are arranged in rows in an iron-and-wooden framework that looks like a beehive. When the contraption is ignited, the rockets shoot out rapidly in all directions. A deafening, bee-like buzzing sound fills the air. The dazzling explosives whiz and whirl across the sky and into the crowds of dancing people surrounding the beehive.

Beehive-Fireworks-Festival

..

Page 1 of 912345...Last »