What Are Some Examples of Cultural Practices?

Some examples of cultural practices are Ashura, a Shiite tradition of self-flagellation and the Chinese tradition of walking on burning coals after a wedding ceremony. Another example is endocannibalism, practiced by the Yanomami tribe of the Amazon rainforest, which is the consumption of the human remains of a person's own tribe member.

The day of Ashura, for some Shiite Muslims, is meant to commemorate Imam Hussein, a grandson of Muhammad, who died in battle from repeated dagger blows to the head. Today, Shiite men participate in a procession where they flagellate themselves on the head with daggers, spilling their blood to absolve sin and pay tribute to Hussein.

Some Chinese people believe that on the day of marriage, a husband should walk over a pan of hot coals when carrying his wife over the threshold of their home. Some Chinese believe that this act means that the wife's labor is likely to be successful and less painful when she gives birth. Some Chinese also walk on hot coals to prevent natural disasters.

Endocannibalism, practiced by the Yanomami tribe, begins by wrapping a tribe member's corpse in leaves and letting insects eat it for 30 to 45 days. The next step is to pulverize the bones and mix them into a banana soup which all members of the tribe proceed to eat. A year later, the tribe consumes the ashes of the corpse mixed into a plantain soup. The villagers believe this practice helps the soul find its way to paradise.