10 Nacirema

10 Nacirema - MFHD 354 MFHD Body Rituals of the Nacirema...

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Unformatted text preview: MFHD 354 MFHD Body Rituals of the Nacirema The Nacirema The Unique Cultural Beliefs and Practices Practices Underlying belief that the human body is Underlying ugly and prone to disease and impairment. ugly Rituals used to guard against the Rituals debilitating nature of the body include: debilitating – Use of household shrine for private and secret Use individual body-related rituals. Children initiated into their use. initiated – Charms and magical potions acquired from Charms medicine men and herbalists and stored in box or chest in the shrine Unique Cultural Beliefs and Practices Practices Other associated rituals include: – – – Use of font in shrine room for washing of body Securing water from the community Water Temple Mouth-rite (see paragraph describing rationale for this Mouth-rite ritual) ritual) – Yearly visits to “holy-mouth-man” in order to exorcise Yearly the evils of the mouth. the – Reliance on curing powers of the holy temple (or Reliance latipsoh) for healing of severe illnesses, reliance on treatment from medicine men and daily ministering from vestal maidens. Unique Cultural Beliefs and Practices Practices Other associated rituals include: – Exorcism of devils that “lodge in the heads of Exorcism people” by the community “listener.” – Ritual fasts and feasts to change body size – Not uncommon ceremonies to change body Not types, particularly in the area of women’s breast size breast – Taboos and secrecy associated with Taboos procreation from conception through birth and delivery delivery Questions Questions What other rituals or practices stood out to What you as different or even strange? you Questions Questions What other rituals or practices stood out to What you as different or even strange? you Who are the Nacirema? Questions Questions From those of you who have personal From contact with the Nacirema, what other strange practices do they have? strange Questions Questions From those of you who have personal From contact with the Nacirema, what other strange practices do they have? strange Is there a temptation to ridicule another Is culture for their reliance on magic potions and logic-defying rituals? and Another Rite of Passage Another For a subset of the tribe, their young men and women are not entrusted with adult For responsibilities and rewards until they have survived a lengthy test of their swimming endurance. This test is primarily emotional and intellectual, but they are often tested socially, spiritually, and physically as well. When they are sent away from home to swim, some children actually drown in the process. These risks notwithstanding, Nacirema parents look forward to the children leaving and even demand that they undertake this rite of passage. This orientation is surprising given the risks associated with this rite of passage: increased availability of toxic beverages and other harmful substances, exposure to predators in the form of handsome strangers who promise attention or merchants who exchange articles of clothing (Tee-shurts) for the child’s promise to use a flat, rectangular-shaped piece of plastic. Other hazards include an increase in body weight during the first year, adoption of values inconsistent with the tribe’s lifestyle, and so forth. Swimming and other skills are practiced and developed with the assistance of teachers and prophets. Each prophet narrowly practices some small portion of the truth that they fanatically believe to be the key to future success for the young men and women. Knowledge is acquired usually through a process of transcribing the prophets’ revelations while in a seated position. Inquiries regarding specific revelations are encouraged unless it appears that the child is drawing attention to the prophet’s lack of preparation or expertise. prophet’s Important Question Important So what do we learn from all this? ...
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