It is impossible to say who the first people were with stretched ears, or why they did it. Today, many cultures (including our own!) practice the art of ear stretching for many different reasons. Religion, coming of age ceremonies, warding off evil, sexual enhancement and physical beauty are common motivations.
However, that just barely scratches the surface as there are many other reasons, as well. People all over the world still practice ear stretching. From the Masai tribes in Kenya to the Huaorani tribe in the Amazon Basin, stretched ears are still a common sight. It is a fascinating testament of human culture that a Western youth can walk into a piercing shop to select stretched ear jewelry while a Hmong youth in Thailand selects from an array of silver tubes.