Body Ritual among the Nacirema - Essay Example

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Each group owes its traditions to a particular reason and advantages. The life of the Nacirema targets a quantifiable developed economy that has with time matured into a valuable natural habitat. While…
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Body Ritual among the Nacirema
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Body Rituals among the Nacirema Magical practices and beliefs are a common characteristic in every society. Each group owes its traditions to a particular reason and advantages. The life of the Nacirema targets a quantifiable developed economy that has with time matured into a valuable natural habitat. While most of the indigenous members of this society dedicate most of their time in economic pursuits, a good portion of their profits are channeled into ritual activities. The rituals focus on the human body, their health and improvement on their appearances. It is more of the usual trend and concern in ritual based societies; however, the philosophy and ceremonies behind this culture are unique and diverse. It has similarly attracted many anthropologists whose concern is to identify and to expose the special unique practices (Murdock, p. 506) their practices embrace the limits to which people’s behavior could explore. The name Nacirema would be reversed to mean American and in that context the majority of the outsiders actually consider them total reverse due to their strange and unique practices.
In addition to that, the culture of body ritual among the Nacirema asserts that the body is quite in an ugly state and is vulnerable to diseases and infections. These are a major concern since man intends to make the body appealing, stronger and resistant to illness. And this they believe can be countered through a series of rituals and traditional ceremonies. In respect to that, every household owns a shrine indoors for these purposes. The amount of the shrines owned by a household would, therefore be dependent on their social status and economic depth. For instance, the opulence of a family is based on the number of ritual shrines that they posses. Most houses of the Nacirema group of individuals are made of daub and wattle. However, the shrines are built with strong magnificent stones an illustration of the special attachments and considerations of the shrines.this may seem so public but the rituals of every family secret to its members.
Among the many daily body rituals performed include the mouth rite. It entails an insertion of a smaller hog of hair pieces into the mouth accompanied with a powder that is magical and ultimately running the bundle in precious formalized routines of gestures. Another mouth rite, though done once or two times a year, is the private mouth rite. The procedure looks scarier and is a visual torture to most anthropologists who dare to unveil the practice. It involves more paraphernalia that consists of probes, augers of different varieties, prods and awls. It is meant for exorcism of the evil spirits (Malinowsli, p. 231). The scenes may appear to be scary and painful, but the clients are eager to making appearances every year with enthusiasm. The women are not left behind, for instance, they bake their head in an oven close to an hour four times in a lunar month. Other rites include lapisto ceremonies held in the temple.
These practices are intended to improve the looks and health of the people of Nacirema, however, it appears as they have continuously made them look worse and even causes death amongst some of the practitioners. This notwithstanding, the natives continue to embrace faithfully and with total compliance and loyalty. It is just an evidence of their passion and faith in their traditional beliefs and culture.
Works Cited
Malinowsli, Bronislaw. “Magic, Science, and Religion.” Glencoe: The Free Press, 1948, Print.
Murdock, George P. Body Ritual among the Nacirema. American Anthropologist 1956, (58): 503-507. Read More
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