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Zar (religious custom) - Research Paper Example

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As a religious custom, Zar traces its origin from central Ethiopia around 18th century and later spread to other regions like North and Eastern Africa. This custom revolves around spirit possessions and in particular the female. In addition, this religious custom is also…
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Download file to see previous pages For instance, mental illness among the believers of this cult is often associated with Zar possession. This possession is further considered to be more common among the feminine gender; however, in the west, immigrants associate the Zar possession with the male gender. Further, Zar being a trance ceremony in some parts of Africa and the Middle East is technically unacceptable in the Islam religion. Despite the prohibition, the practice involves a healing cult where believers engage in drumming and dancing. Zar also provides an avenue for sharing knowledge and doing charity work among women in a patriarchal society evident for instance, in North Africa and the Middle East. In this religious custom, women dominate the sphere of leadership and participation is also dominated by the female gender (Boddy 6). This paper explores the practices related to Zar cult in Northern Sudan, Egypt and also the Middle East.
This ceremony normally occur purposely to treat mental illness, despite being several ways of resolving psychological disturbance, the Zar ceremony is considered as the last resort in dealing with a number of ailments. However, this practice is not common in most part of Egypt, but is popular in the southern Egypt and extends to Sudan. In times of conducting the ceremony, this practice normally occur in a big room and one that is not used by the family members. As such, families normally rent a room to conduct the ceremony (Boddy 21). The other important aspect of the ceremony practiced by the Zar, is an emphasis on the altar. The altar used by Zar believers resembles a round tray and is placed on top of a bench that is in the center of the room used by the believers. In addition, the altar used by Zar is covered using a white cloth that also contains piles of dried fruits and nuts. In essence, the person who leads the Zar ceremony is required to keep the ritual on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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