Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra

Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.

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Self mutation still goes on today.




Strange and Weird Human Customs

By Tammy Maygra

The Middle Ages have been stamped an unlucky time to be born and popular consensus is that people were poor, food was dull, everything was dirty, and for the vast majority of it the population was dropping like flies. What we don't hear about is that people created some of the most peculiar, bizarre, hilarious and astounding trends in human history. Let's take a look at some of the things medieval people did. We might get a laugh or two.

Life in medieval times was tough, and this didn't just apply to humans. Just like their two-legged owners, all manner of animals from livestock to insects were put on trial if suspected of breaking the law. There are records of at least 85 animal trials that took place during the Middle Ages. And we thought people in 2019 did weird things.

The most serial offenders were pigs, accused and convicted of chewing off body parts and even eating children. Most were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging or being burned at the stake. In 1386, a convicted pig was dressed in a waistcoat, gloves, drawers and a human mask for its execution. In 1474 a court found a rooster guilty of the "unnatural crime" of laying an egg; unwanted rats often found themselves on the receiving end of a strongly worded letter, asking them to leave the premises. Humans writing letters to rats! What was wrong with these people.

Medieval Europe joined together at the beginning of January to celebrate the Feast of Fools. This eclectic event, like most Christian festivals, was inspired by a pagan festival — Saturnalia — and turned the status quo on its head The highest respected officials swapped with the lowest, serving maids became masters and a king of misrule was crowned.

 Although originally intended to be confined only to the hallowed halls of churches, the common people took it upon themselves to celebrate. There were parades, comic performances, costumes, cross-dressing, bawdy songs and, of course, drinking to excess.

Then they had The Festival of the Ass, where a young girl carrying a child would ride a donkey into church, and throughout the service the congregation replaced "amen" with hee haws.  I suggest this practice be continued today. It might be good to loosen up the Christians with a little humor.

If you thought the people in the Middle Ages did weird things here are some examples of odd thigs people still do today. Being weird is still happening in the modern world.

The death of a family member in the Dani tribe of Indonesia heralds a vast amount of emotional and, for women, physical pain. Aside from the inevitable emotional grief, women of the Dani tribe physically express that grief by cutting off (by compulsion) a segment of one of their fingers.

This lunch offer might be one you refuse. The Yanomami tribe lives in villages within the Amazon rainforest, near the border of Venezuela and Brazil. They are known for their tradition of endocannibalism: consuming the flesh of a member of one’s own tribe, usually after they’ve died.

The bizarre cultural practices surrounding endocannibalism involve wrapping the corpse in leaves and allowing insects to pick at it. 30 to 45 days later, the bones are collected, pulverized, and mixed into a banana soup to be consumed by all. After a year, the villagers consume the ashes, which are mixed with plantain soup. According to tradition, the ritual helps ensure that the souls of the dead find their way to paradise. 

Shiite Muslims are well known for their martyrdom, and Ashura is no exception. Ashura is an event recognized by many Muslims around the world for various reasons. For some Shiites, the day is observed in commemoration of the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad, at the 7th century battle of Karbala. Hussein, along with his comrades, was repeatedly struck on the head with daggers.

 Today, modern men practice a self -harming tradition. A select number of men join a procession and flagellate themselves with daggers to the head, among other means, in order to pay tribute and absolve sin; people spill their own blood and those of their relatives to mourn the fact that they were not being present to save Hussein.

A rather well-known fact about Eskimos is their ritual (albeit incredibly rare and seldom practiced—if at all—anymore) of setting the elderly adrift on a floating iceberg when facing death or old age. Eskimos believe in the afterlife for the dead, and this practice is a way of ensuring the elderly are not a burden on the family by sending them off in a dignified and graceful manner. Not such a bad idea, it beats being locked up in a nursing home where you wither away in a bed.

Wow! This one is really gross,

The Toraja people of Indonesia practice a truly singular ritual of exhuming the corpses of their fellow villagers. But it doesn’t end there: The corpse is draped in special garments and paraded around the village. Even the bodies of children and bodies that are decades old are exhumed.

The ritual is mainly carried out in order to clean the corpses, their garments, and coffins, and to ceremonially return the corpses to their home village. That is, if someone died outside the village, the corpse will be taken to the spot of death, then walked back to the village, as an act of returning home.

The United States has few weird traditions that we still do today.

We have the turkey pardon, Since the 1940s, US presidents have been presented with a Thanksgiving turkey at a special ceremony and, occasionally, have spared the bird’s life by officially pardoning it. (It’s not clear what crime the birds committed in the first place to warrant a pardon.)

In 1989, George Bush Senior made the turkey pardon a permanent part of the ceremony, so it’s now an annual event. The happy turkeys are returned to a farm to live out the rest of their lives – which, unfortunately, usually last less than a year, as the birds have been so overfed that they contract heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses.

Ice on the Tanana River in Alaska accumulates to more than a metre deep during the winter. Back in 1906, six people in the city of Nenana bet on the exact time on the exact day that the ice would break in the spring.

 A decade later, a small group of railroad engineers fired up the ice pool again, and it’s become an annual event every since – and anything that’s been going over a hundred years in America is a very longstanding tradition indeed. A "tripod" (with four legs) is placed on the ice and connected to a clock in the town. When the ice breaks, it stops the clock and the winner is declared. From a prize of $800 in 1916, the winnings have  upped just a tad, hitting a high in 2014 with a record $363,627.

With so much wildlife roaming around in the US and so many SUVs cruising on the highways, there’s bound to be some unfortunate collateral damage. But every September, people in Marlington, West Virginia, have a Roadkill Cook-off, where you can try such delights as biscuits covered in squirrel gravy, teriyaki-marinated bear or deer sausage, all scooped up from the side of the road after an unfortunate accident.

The United States has a few weird contests like cherry spitting to punkin chunking but none as weird as digging up dead people and walking them along the community or beating ourselves. But all in all --most every culture has some weird events. And maybe we do.






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