Virginity is a highly controversial topic. While some girls and women consider it to be a construct created by men to either idolize or demonize females, others value it so highly that they would risk their life to keep it. Here, we present our list of the top 10 shocking cultural traditions – from ancient times to today – surrounding virginity around the world. Check it out for yourself below; you might be surprised by what you learn!
Number Ten: Auctioning Off Virginity
The unfortunate practice of auctioning off virginity is something that still goes on today. Some places in India will auction off young girls’ virginities as soon as they hit puberty. There are no restrictions – it simply goes to the highest bidder. Essentially, this practice is socially accepted rape for “religious purposes.”
Number Nine: The Horror of Being a Vestal Virgin
In ancient Rome, the priestesses were deemed Vestal Virgins. These Vestal Virgins were given the responsibility of keeping their hymens intact for until they were about 30 years old. If they broke their hymen before then, they were usually buried alive.
Number Eight: A Bloody Thumb in White Cloth
Many Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, continue to practice an ancient ritual many girls undergo on their wedding day. On the wedding day, the girl is to wrap her thumb in white cloth and place it inside of herself; if there is no blood on the cloth when she removes her thumb, then disgrace is brought upon her entire family.
Number Seven: The Wedding Guest of Honor
There used to be a tradition in Bosnia, Montenegro, and northern Slovakia in which brides were to sleep with the groom’s best friend before the wedding. The best friend would then become the man of honor at the wedding reception.
Number Six: Priestly Responsibilities
In Cambodia, priests used to do a lot more than preach. In fact, during the wedding ceremony, Cambodian priests used to dip their finger in wine and tear the bride’s hymen right there.
Number Five: In Russia, You Have to Choose the Right Boot
In 19th-century Russia, weddings were pretty bleak. Before the ceremony, the groom’s female friends were to undress the bride to check for “defects.” If there were no defects, the ceremony went on as normal. After the ceremony, the groom would hide a small whip in one of his boots. The couple would go into a chamber and would be left alone for two hours. If the bride took off the boot with the whip in it first, then the husband would strike her with it before consummating the marriage. Cute.
Number Four: Native Colombian Virginity Rituals
In Colombia during the early 1900s, the groom’s best man had an interesting responsibility. The best man would brandish a whip, follow the newlyweds into their marital hut, and yell “Take the woman!” at the groom. The best man would then beat the groom.
Number Three: In France, New Brides Are Hazed
When you hear the words “french wedding,” you probably think of rolling meadows, delicious Champagne, and tastefully chic decor. However, this isn’t exactly the case with a wedding tradition called “La Soupe.” After the ceremony, the newlyweds skip off to their marriage bed where they presumably consummate the marriage. During this time, the members of the wedding party are tasked with cleaning up. To do this, they dump the leftover punch, cake, hors d’oeuvres, and trash into one large chamber pot. When the “stew” is ready, the wedding party marches over to the couple’s wedding bed and makes them drink it. How romantic!
Number Two: Blood-Soaked Bedsheets Treated Like a Prize
In ancient Medieval times, the only real way a groom could prove paternity is if he married a virgin bride. Midwives were often tasked with checking young girls to make sure they were virgins before their wedding day. However, the real proof comes during the act itself. After consummating the marriage, grooms and brides would often parade the blood-soaked sheets around the village for everyone to see.
Number One: The Magic of Nutmeg
In ancient times, if a girl’s hymen wasn’t intact or she wanted to restore her virginity, all she had to do was grind up some nutmeg and put it, you know, up there. The nutmeg was believed to instantly restore virginity with the added perk of making everything smell like Christmas. Thanks for reading!