The Aztecs would sometimes sacrifice the second-born children of their noble class to Tlaloc, the god of water and fertility. If, as the children were paraded to their doom, they began to cry, this was viewed as a positive omen for the coming rainy season.
(“We’re going to cut the hearts out of these kids to honor our god. If the thought of that makes them cry, it foretells a blessing from Tlaloc.”
“What are the odds that they’re going to cry about that?”
“Not sure. Fingers crossed.”)
Sometimes, they’d even pinch the stoic children to ensure the flow of tears.
(“Uh, hey Atahualpec? You sure we should be pinching them? Won’t that invalidate the omen?”
“Tlaloc helps those who help themselves.”)
The priests would flay and skin the sacrifices, and they’d wear the pelts around for a few weeks as they performed other Tlaloc-related rituals. Then they’d store them in sacred caves.
(“Oh, man, there’s guano all over my favorite toddler hide!”
“That sucks, brah. Want my second-born? He’d go well with your brown eyes…”)
Of course, the Spanish Conquest put an end to this barbarism, primarily by killing so many children that the Aztecs had to rethink their policies.
(“Hey–I’m here for that kid you promised me. You know, the one that matches–”
“Look, I wish I could help you, but some white guys cut him to pieces for sport last week.”