5 Real Life Make-it-Rain Human Rituals

Earth has been on the brink of the worst drought in 1,000 Years for a few years now, and in California where I live, the past four years are being referred to as the driest period in the state’s recorded history.

A few weeks ago I traveled back east to visit family, and experienced my first thunderstorm in I couldn’t remember how long. It was about 2 a.m. and I ran outside, lifted my face to the sky and let it rain. It had been so long since I felt that wet, cool sensation and it was then that I realized that my soul was parched, if that makes any sense.

In that moment, I started wondering about the rituals humans have performed in times of drought. I did some digging, and (besides some seriously brutal rituals I’ll spare you from) came up with 5 Make-it-Rain Human Rituals:

1) Drought Cult Sacrificed Handmade Objects to Rain God

A water temple complex was recently discovered alongside some sacred pools in Belize. Supposedly the ancient Maya people made offerings there to Chaak, the rain god, to end drought. National Geographic explains, “Nestled in a quiet forest in Belize, a deep aquamarine pool holds ruins from a time when the ancient Maya turned to a ‘drought cult’ and hurried sacrifices to a water god to stave off the fall of their civilization.”

Drought cult” sounds pretty intense, but the sacred sacrifices were nothing too dramatic; ceramic jars, pots and stone tools were discovered in the depths of the pools. What’s perhaps more interesting than what was sacrificed is where they were sacrificed. Ancient Maya believed that the rain god Chaak resided in cenotes, or natural wells—which were considered to be portals to the underworld. Whatever they are, they’re beautiful.

2) Cat Splashing in Thailand 

A traditional rain ritual in Thailand involves taking a live caged cat to sacred sites and splashing it with water. The kitty screams were believed to bring wet times, but to avoid accusations of animal cruelty, the practice has since been modernized. Now a stuffed animal toy in the form of the Japanese manga character Doraemon is used in place of the real thing, serving as an example of how an ancient cultural tradition can be modified to appease human’s enlightened view of how animals should be treated.

3) Indian Frog Marriage 

Do you, frog, take thee frog, to become your lawfully wedded…?

In India a frog marriage is arranged to please the rain gods. That’s right. A wedding between two actual living, breathing frogs is performed so that monsoon showers will come. Here’s a description of one such wedding that took place last year:

“People blew trumpets and sang songs, as the priest solemnized the marriage with the usual Hindu marriage rituals, even putting streaks of vermilion on the female frog’s head as is done with brides.”

Luckily, the frogs were left in Ambazari lake after the wedding. There’s no telling whether the couple is still together.

4) Men Sit in Tubs of Water and Pray

Also in India, another rain ritual involves men sitting in tubs of water while performing “Parjanya Yagya,” a ritual to bring rains through Vedic techniques in Ahmedabad.

The description doesn’t do it justice. Check out the photos here.

5) Native American Rain Dance

You can’t talk human rain rituals without coming around to the Native American rain dance. Just last year, the L.A. Times reported on a weekly rain dance at Mission San Juan Bautista where “Native Americans encourage everyone to join in a ceremony to break open the heavens and bring forth water.”

Apparently the native rain dance is actually making a comeback in California, but of course, it’s not the only state with a drought problem. Just ask South Florida, or take your pick of these seven recent worldwide droughts.

Drought is negatively affecting wildlife, including endangered animals. Lakes are drying up, and people are understandably concerned.

California residents are doing their best to make it work. While no one can say for sure how long the drought will last or what the consequences will be, some neighbors are filling buckets from shared water wells and praying for rain. Others are doing what they can to minimize their personal water usage. My baths are fewer and farther in between and used dishwater now ends up in our garden.

Some human rituals to bring rain are gone but not forgotten, while others press on. While we wait to see what rains will come, here are five things you can do to survive a drought. Spread the word.

Photo Credit: Dinesh Wankhede

46 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Maggie W.
Maggie D3 years ago

Thanks for the information. Does cloud seeding work? It used to be done but I don't know if it's used anymore.

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Rosemary H.
Rosemary H3 years ago

We have a "rain-making custom" in the UK.

I go to a lot of agricultural shows and love the Shire horses, who are often shown in harness decorated with brass. This takes forever to polish to the desired standard, and rain tarnishes it. So... out come the Shires for the decorated harness class, and, more often than not, down comes the rain!

(tongue in cheek)

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago

Thank you

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Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Very interesting practices.

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Miriam VOICEfortheVOICELE

Thanks so much for sharing! Good post!

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Lorraine Andersen

Interesting. People for centuries have been trying to make it rain. Unfortunately none of those will help California.

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Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Can the human do something beneficial as well?

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago

noted

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william Miller
william Miller3 years ago

we need more people turning to mother earth showing love

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