7 festivals of torture

2012-12-27 10:52
The festive season is packed with traditions and special meaning – take a look at these festivals that tend to push things to the limit, bordering on extreme torture.

1. Farra Do Boi

If you’re an animal lover then Farra Do Boi (festival of the Oxen) held in Brazil is most definitely not for you.  It involves the brutal torture of oxen, over a period of two days, including gouging out its eyes or cutting off its tail.  Previously this was celebrated as a religious Easter holiday, with the oxen said to represent Judas or the devil itself. More than thirty communities throughout the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina commemorate weddings, birthdays or other special occasions with this ritual while other states denounce it.  

2. The festival of Ukweshwama

Along the same vein as the Farra Do Boi, only closer to home, this festival is practiced by the Zulu tribe. The controversial cultural practice also involves the slaughter of a bull – only the youths who have been tasked to do this have to do it in a long drawn out fashion - by ripping out the bull's tongue, shoving handfuls of dirt into its mouth, gouging out its eyes, and mutilating the animal’s genitals. The belief behind the horrifying practice is that it transfers the bull’s power to those who kill it – all the while uniting the men in the act and thereby uniting the entire village.
3. Toro De La Vega - The Lancing of the Bull

Spain also has its own torturous festival involving a bull. It takes place in the streets of Tordesillas. The practice of chasing a bull through the town’s streets was done for centuries before being declared illegal. It was reinstated back in 1999 in the 'best interest of regional tourism'. The most grotesque aspect of the ritual is not the continuous lancing of the beast until it reaches a meadow outside the village – it is the fact that the person who delivers the fatal blow is then allowed to cut off the animal’s testicles to parade it at the end of his sword.

4. The Gadhimai Festival

This month-long Hindu festival, held once every five years at the Gadhimai temple of Bariyarpur, is said to be the world’s largest sacrifice of animals. Held in the Bara District, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the capital Kathmandu, water buffaloes, pigs, goats, chicken and pigeons are killed with the goal of pleasing Gadhimai, the goddess of power. The mass slaughter has provoked anger among people who are against animal cruelty but it has been defended for its religious tradition
and continues to take place.

5.The Pero Palo Festival

Spain seems to be the place for torture festivals. This one involves a donkey being forced around the street as it is repeatedly beaten. This festival is said to commemorate the capture of a rapist in Villanueva de la Vera back in the 1980s - when he was paraded through the streets on a donkey before being executed. These days however the donkey is subjected to the torturous ritual, leaving it badly injured, lame or crushed to death.

6. Snapper Turtle festival

Held in Ohio County, this particular US event has organizations like PETA up in arms as it allegedly involves yanking a snapping turtle's head until the animal's neck can be wrapped around the contestant's fist.  It has been taking place annually for over a decade but the organizers insist the turtle wranglers do not kill the turtles. It has no significance other than an event held in the name of fun, according to the organizers.

7.Ashura Festival in Karachi, Pakistan

Last but not least, human beings are not exempt from torture festivals – in particular the self flagellation of men during the Ashura Festival in Karachi, Pakistan. It takes place on the 10th of the Islamic Month of Muharram and is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the death of their Imam Hussain (the Grandson of the Prophet Mohammed) who was martyred at the Battle of Karballah, in what is now modern day Iraq, in the year 680 CE.

Read more on:    travel international


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