"Around the world there are rituals that mark the transition from child to adult. In the UK, the American import of the school prom is increasingly popular. But in some cultures, young boys in particular still undergo ancient and sometimes brutal rites of passage to become men. One of the most extreme is in Papua New Guinea, where young men's skin is cut with the patterns of crocodile scales to represent the strength and power of an ancient crocodile spirit. John has spent six months sequestered in a spirit house, learning lessons on manhood from the elders and building up fat with the help of meals cooked by his mother Mathilda. It is preparation for the cutting ceremony, when hundreds of razor cuts are made in John's torso, each representing a bite from the crocodile spirit."

Extract from BBC iPlayer, Extraordinary Rituals Episode Guide

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