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7 Extremely Bizarre Religious Practices

Created by: infozooms | Last Updated: 03/24/2010

Purposely hurting or killing loved ones, going nude, practicing odd rituals...all in the name of religion? Check out these totally strange religious practices!
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1. Scythian burials

Throughout the 13th to the 17th century, a unique type of burial was practiced in India, tracing back to Scythian times. When a person of wealth died, a specially prepared tomb was created. A square pit was made with the king's (or other male of wealth) body placed on a mattress in the middle. Spears were lined up along both sides of his body, forming support for a roof. Also in the pit would be strangled members of the king's household, such as his cook, chamberlain and butler. Items of value, including his horses and gold, were also placed in the pit. Sand was then built up around the pit. In some cases, servants chose to commit suicide to avoid being strangled.
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Points: 7

2. Jainist Digambaras

Digambar is a main sect of Jainsim. Digambar monks follow the practice of Lord Mahavira--they wear no clothes and believe they are wearing the environment. By doing so, they represent a refusal for comfort and private property. These monks only have two possessions, a water gourd and a peacock feather broom. Digambaras are located in Jain communities and north India.
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Points: 5

3. Breast cutting

In India, among the Cholas in Tamilnadu and Gujarat, breast cutting was a common practice of the Hindus and Buddhists. It was believed that Buddha, in a previous birth, was a woman named Rupavathi. As the story goes, she came upon a starving woman who was about to eat her newborn child. Rupavathi cut off the woman's breasts and gave them to her for food. Later the woman's breasts were restored. In Gujarat, it's believed that as a woman was traveling to a nearby village she was attacked by men. She took a sword from one of the attackers and cut off both her breasts. The woman perished and was worshipped as a Goddess.
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Points: 4

4. Shamanism

Shamanism is communicating with the spirit world. Although beliefs and practices may vary, Shamans claim to be able to diagnose and heal human suffering or to cause suffering. They are believed to have the ability to interpret dreams, control the weather and travel to different dimensions. In Tibetan Buddhism, Shamans were used to give prophesies and advice to the Dalai Lama.
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Points: 4

5. Levitating stone

A levitating stone is located in Pune and has been visited by thousands of people. The stone weighs approximately 90 kg. It's claimed that it can be levitated by a group of nine or eleven men. The men place their index fingers beneath the stone and chant "Hajee Kamarali Durvesh", a saint's name. As they chant, the stone rises. At some point when the men run out of breath and stop chanting, the stone falls down. It is believed that the men have been blessed by the saint. Women are not allowed to participate in this ritual.
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Points: 3

6. Baptism of the dead

Beginning in 1840, one of the practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is temple baptism. It is believed that baptism is a requirement for entry into heaven. If a person has died and wasn't baptized, then a living person serves as the deceased person's proxy and is baptized by immersion.
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Points: 2

7. Jewish Kaparot

Kaparot is a traditional Jewish practice that occurs near the High Holidays. Each participant holds a live chicken by the shoulder blades and swings it around his head three times, symbolizing transferring his sins to the chicken. The chickens are then slaughtered and given to the poor. Because there have been documented cases of chickens being abandoned, animal rights organizations, particularly in Israel, have begun to picket the practice of Kaparot.
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Points: 0
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