It’s an age-old annual ritual carried in southern India, meant to bring participating infants good luck, health, and prosperity. Horrified children’s rights groups have labeled it ‘barbaric’ and want it banned by the Indian government.
The practice is believed to date back centuries and takes place across India – involving both Hindus and Muslims. Video of a ceremony in 2009 shows robed priests shaking babies, before dropping them to the crowd below, where locals are waiting with blankets to catch them.
When the children land safely, the crowd celebrates, passing each infant around before returning them to their parents.
Participants believe it’s their religious duty to attend the ceremonies and it creates an opportunity for fellowship and community.