focus questions-3

Focus questions-3 - Rites of Initiation"Initiation Rites and Secret Cults 1 The structure of puberty initiation rites of the Australian aborigines

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Rites of Initiation “Initiation Rites and Secret Cults” 1. The structure of puberty initiation rites of the Australian aborigines is as follows. First the initiate, between ages 6 and 14, is isolated and they are tutored about their culture, and then operations on the body are performed. This is done after their education has completed. When the initiate is isolated mothers in particular tend to lament and cry. After isolation, ritual objects are given to the initiate, and a special cleansing is performed. Here is when the the novice is reincorporated back into society. 2. The importance of the sacred stories and histories are imperitive to the rites so that the initiate can better understand his culture. These stories also serve as life lessons for the initiate, as they keep their morals in mind for the future. The stories tell the novice certain things like how to deal with life, and its’ meaning. They also teach manners, on how to treat others in the world. Overall, after gaining knowledge of these stories, the initiate has become part of the history. “Talikettukalyanam: The Marriage of Opposites” 1. This girls puberty rite is performed prior to a girl’s menstruation. If menstruation happens before the rite, the girl cannot be initiated into society and can not be accepted into the community. This is due to the Tiyyar’s belief that they can control the girl’s menstruation. They do not want it to be up to fate, and by having the ritual before menstruation gives the appearance of control. It now looks as if menstruation was a result of the ritual. The ritual itself is about four days long. The ritual begins with the girl being isolated in her mother’s ancestral house for about three days. She is there to absorb all the rituals menstruating women do when in the secluded house. This is why her being isolated in this house is significant, it symbolizes what will happen when she starts to menstruate herself. The fourth day is set aside for ceremonies. A pavilion is built for these ceremonies, and the girl goes to a special bath. This is just the beginning of purification. She then cuts coconuts, and returns to be dressed and adorned with ornaments. Rice is thrown and her hair is cut off to certify purification. The initiate then goes to the pavilion to make an offering of rice into the fire. There is then a pot, filled with significant objects. She is to pick one of these special objects, and the one she picks decides her destiny. This is extremely significant to outline the rest of the girl’s life. After this, the girl is given new clothes and given a golden leaf to wear around her neck. 2. The conclusion the author comes to about the meaning of the symbolic actions and objects of the “tali” rite are that they represent the future, fertility, and marriage. In the girl’s rite the pot ritual is representative of future children. The objects put into the pot represent the initiates’ future children, and the pot itself represents the womb. The
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course AN 101 taught by Professor Crohn during the Spring '08 term at Quinnipiac.

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Focus questions-3 - Rites of Initiation"Initiation Rites and Secret Cults 1 The structure of puberty initiation rites of the Australian aborigines

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