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Reed dance - Essay Example

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Subject: Essay, Religion and Theology Date: Topic: Critically Compare and Contrast the Reed Dance with Lattmaar Holi in India. Introduction: Culture highlights the identity of a particular social group and it can contribute in a positive or negative manner for social development…
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Download file to see previous pages Their merit and usefulness to building the society are being constantly evaluated by the think-tanks of the society. In this essay, a discussion is attempted about their merits and demerits and their continuing intrinsic strength to hold sway over the people. 1. Swaziland Reed Dance The married women of Swaziland consider it as the occasion of lifetime. “Umhlanga, or the Reed Dance, is the culmination of eight days of honoring the Queen Mother in late August or early September when the reed harvest happens. For eight days maidens march to the fields of reeds, chop them down, bundle them up, and present them as windbreakers for the Queen Mother’s residence.”(Witnessing…)The ceremony is especially for the girls to show honor and respect to their Queen Mother and the King Mswati III. The girls arrive from their respective villages for the traditional rite of passage ceremony so that all the participants are accounted for. Once this procedure is over they are sent to the nearby valleys by foot to fetch ten foot tall reeds and they bring it to their place of residence. 1. Lattmaar Holi of Barsana (India) This is a traditional ritual cum festival celebrated in the District of Mathura in Northern India. It has immense cultural significance. It is a ritual to assert the rights of women and proclaim before the world that they are not only equal but more equal to menfolk. “Latt” means a big strong stick. “Maar” means to hit. Yes, this festival symbolizes violence. In the course of celebrating this ritual the super-charged women attack menfolk with bamboo sticks and it is no ordinary lashing. Men need lots of skills, which they have practiced intensely at least a month before the ritual to escape from the lashes that are unleashed without intermission from all ends. It is not a solo fight of one woman attacking one man. Men need to be ready to take blows from a group of women and they do their job mercilessly with a vengeance. 2. During Umhlanga, the girls are educated and counseled about becoming women as per their local traditions and beliefs. “This tradition is focused on encouraging young Swazi women to abstain from intimate relations and keep their virginity intact until they are considered old enough to be married.” (Witnessing…) On completion of these formalities the girls gather for two days of dancing and other celebrations. On the first day, all of them assemble and deliver their reeds to the Queen Mother and to King Mswati III. Next, they do a march past before the King and other important guests and the tourists who arrive in large numbers to witness this semi-naked phenomena. “At Umhlanga, thousands of virgins dance in front of the Queen Mother and the King at the royal residence stadium—and it is quite a spectacle.”(Witnesing…) The maidens are dressed in traditional attire and “Their regalia consisted of bead necklaces, wool sashes, rattling anklets made from cocoons, and the four-inch-wide blue pleated skirt. Many carried a machete, “to cut the reeds.” (Witnessing…) They all reveal their bare breasts while dancing and singing and this dance is supposed to be for the unification of the Kingdom’s women. His Majesty King Mswati III often utilizes this occasion to publicly court a prospective fiancee and he joins the celebrations to pay tribute to the participating maidens. “The current monarch, King Mswati III, has 14 wives, which is ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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