Think you can consider yourself a man? Then you’ve obviously never seen the hardcore Bar Mitzvahs that take place in these cultures. Check out these insane rites of passage, and when you’re done, feel free to go get that Hummer… yes, that was a dick joke already.
Imagine yourself standing on the 5 meter high dive at your local lake, ready to plunge into the murky depths below. Nervous? Now get rid of the lake, climb about 20 meters, and replace that sturdy, made-for-little-girls diving board with one of these:
That’s right. To be considered a worthy man on Pentecost Island, you have to throw yourself off Hell’s bungee jump, relying only on two vines wrapped around your ankles and faith to keep you from snapping your neck on terra firma.
This ritual, known as “land-diving” in English and Naghol in the native, much more badass-sounding language, has been practiced on the island for centuries. The idea behind this absolutely insane pursuit is that jumping off a 30 meter high, homemade wooden tower is the equivalent of a sacrifice to the spirits, which ensures a plentiful harvest the next year. It also proves you’ve got balls bigger than a school bus, which I guess is where the whole “male initiation” thing comes in.
Obviously, there’s a certain degree of danger in this otherwise leisurely activity. Let’s say everything goes as it’s supposed to, and there you are, dangling within inches of the ground (if it’s done right, the diver should be able to touch the Earth with their shoulders). First of all, after going from roughly 45 to 0 mph in less than a second, you’re going to be in for one hell of an ankle-ache (according to Guinness World Records, the g force experienced in land diving is greater than that of any non-industrialized activity in the world).
And then there’s the all too likely chance that something goes wrong. If, for example, the diver doesn’t jump far enough away from the tower, he could swing back and get impaled, which would be kind of like getting stabbed by a telephone pole at high velocity.
Finally, you have to consider the fact that, shockingly, the vines do occasionally break. If it’s just one of the vines, the diver will probably escape with a broken hip, maybe a broken collarbone. Of course, if both vines break, the diver is royally screwed.