Rites of passage, or coming of age ceremonies are common throughout a variety of cultures. In America, many bratty teenagers receive shiny new cars on their sweet sixteen. In other cultures around the globe, there is far more blood, pain, suffering, insects, and castrated bulls involved when it comes time to blossom into a young adult. Many of these traditions have been passed down from ancient times, but their brutal traditions stand strong in the modern era. Next time your little cousin scoffs at an itchy birthday sweater from Aunt Mable, tell him hes lucky he didnt receive a handful of deadly ants or one hundred lashes on his bare back.
In an indigenous Brazilian Amazon tribe called the Satere-Mawe, an unusual and excruciating rite of passage awaits all thirteen-year-old boys. The members of the tribe are better known by their nickname, The Sons of Guarna. The ritual begins when the boys trek through the wilderness with a tribe leader in search of bullet ants. Bullet ants are about one-inch long, and are said to have the most painful bite of any insect known to man.
Elders in the tribe sedate the ants using an herbal mixture, sending them into a temporary sleep state. The bullet ants are then woven into gloves, stingers pointing inward, which the young boys will wear during their ceremony. The ants come out of their slumber eager to inflict their terrifying sting.
The boys must not cry or show weakness, and they will wear the gloves in ten-minute intervals over twenty times in the span of several months! The tribe believes that this initiation will prepare the young boys for a lifetime of manliness.