The two cultures that I decided to compare and contrast is the Mexican culture and ancient Egyptians. Mexicans have embraced death as a part of life. The Mayan and Aztecs practiced human sacrifices which gave and example of acceptance of death. In Mexico when a loved one passed on to a better life the viewing traditional takes place at the family’s home. A catholic priest comes to the family’s home and leads a mass in honor of the recently departed. The coffin in placed on a table along with candles on the side. After the funeral the family members get together and pray for nine days to guide the deceased into haven and ask forgiveness for their sins.On the other hand Egyptians were buried in pyramids directly in the ground. Often bodies were
The author’s purpose in writing this article was not to show the “Nacirema” as an example of how extreme human behavior can become, but how an outside perspective can affect your perception of an alien culture. If one were to look at the “Nacirema’s” cultural behaviors regarding physical appearance and health without any insight or knowledge of the specific beliefs or values of that culture, they might seem bizarre and even incomprehensible. By showing behaviors and “rituals” performed by this unknown tribe, Miner allowed others to see that the way studies were representing distinctive cultures was narrowminded and defective. Without the proper comprehension of the basis of any society, huge cultural misunderstandings could occur. Of
Subcultures are around us everywhere. It’s a group within a larger culture, who have something in common. An example of this would be in ‘Body Ritual among the Nacirema’ which is a story filled with weird perspectives and traditions. Including the charm-box of the household shrine and the medicine men that have an imposing temple, or latispo. Culture is such a strong aspect in people as it determines how a person behaves and does things, which is shown in this book. The Nacirema people are not so far off from us modern day Americans.
The story relates to how we seek perfection on our bodies. It demonstrates how people will perform extreme procedures to achieve perfection, and even after this they will still feel they are ugly and not perfect. The rituals performed by the Nacirema tribe may seem inhumane, but if compared to our current culture and the procedures people perform on their bodies there is no much difference. I viewed the things they did as bizarre, but on close analysis of our culture, I realized they are no different from the things we do to achieve bodily perfection. I believe that other people who look or read about the things we do think if them as been inhumane.
This study examines Horace Miner’s essay “Body Rituals Among the Nacirema. While using the participant observation approach, he gives us a new perspective on the daily behaviors within this group of people. Exploring ethnocentrism and how we view cultures outside of our own.
It’s fascinating that as Miner stated in the text, the diversity of ways that different people behave in similar situations. The Nacirema people are a secluded society that not many people have heard about it and they are willing to go to the extreme with their bodies.
Today the society is looking for ways to ease life and to find solutions for problems which oppress our lives and make it hard to live through. Because of many reasons, the traditional burials in this century are becoming a problem. (Prothero,2001). The fact that they cover a lot of land to build cemeteries and other things that are attached to these traditional burials is enough for us to search for a practical solution. About a century ago the term "cremation" was unknown to many people. It is believed that it began to be practiced during the early Stone Age and still exists today. Since that time cremations have been made all
Burying individuals have impacted the people of ancient Hawaiians greatly. As in other cultures, recognizing a deceased person played a key role in the ancient society, whether it was a strong leader or a stranger. This was no different for the Hawaiians, as death was a matter not taken lightly. Even though emotion is common while observing burial, native Hawaiian had taken it to another level. “Relatives or close ones to the deceased person would tear away hair, knock out teeth with a stone, scar their skin, or even cut off an ear, especially if the high chief had passed” (Fullard-Leo). However, Hawaiians also saw a significance when a relative had been
In this paper, we will discuss the different death rituals performed in different cultures. We view death rituals from Native Americans, Africans, those of the Chinese decent, and endocannibalism from the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea. Death is universal to all people in every culture. Responses to how one deals with death and dying differ greatly. Death rituals are usually based on beliefs. This can come from religion, history, language, and art.
In 1956 a professor from the University of Michigan, Horace Miner, wrote an article in The American Anthropologist that has become a mainstay of learning for anthropology students. Miner published the article to show a fictional exotic society called “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” as an example of how one’s own limited perspective might affect the perception of a foreign culture (Miner, 1956, p. 503). The article uses subtle humor to make the reader more comfortable in examining cultural behaviors, physical appearance, and health as the reader soon discovers that the actual society being examined is the American society. To the reader, the article begins to sound very familiar after each paragraph is
African culture demonstrates a strong connection with deceased person, and believes that only a correct burial will bring a dead person peace. People in Africa strongly believe in spiritual life, thus their main goal during burial ceremonies is to address a spirit of a deceased person. An African funeral begins with removal of the body from home, which is done through a previously made hole in the wall of the home. Africans remove a dead body through the hole, instead of a door, to confuse a spirit and make sure that a spirit of a deceased person will not return back home, as a hole in the wall is immediately closed after removal of the body. In effort to confuse a spirit even more, they place thorns and sticks in a zigzag pattern along the way as body being taken to the place of burial.
In the Pashupatinath valley region, there is a cremation temple which is a part of the landscape of the dead in Nepal. A landscape of the dead is a place where burial rituals are carried out, which may vary by religion. In Pashupatinath, when a woman’s husband or family dies, she wears white. The attendees of the funeral offer the soul of the deceased body incense, food, and water so that it doesn’t feel troubled on its journey towards a new form. The deceased’s mouth is then lit on fire by the eldest brother, which is said to purify his/her soul. In the landscape, there are also many river cleaners who pan for gold fillings that come from the teeth of the deceased.
At some point in our lives, we all come to realize that death is a part of life. Cultural diversity provides a wide variety of lifestyles and traditions for each of the unique groups of people in our world. Within these different cultures, the rituals associated with death and burial can also be uniquely diverse. Many consider ritualistic traditions that differ from their own to be somewhat strange and often perceive them as unnatural. A prime example would be the burial rituals of the Native American people.
Every individual experiences the act of death, and most persons experience the death of someone they know of. Whether family, kin, or someone infamous, the living deal with the process of dying. Anthropology seeks to understand the universal process of death ritual and how different cultures deal with death differently. An anthropologist can extract social values of a given culture, past or present, from how death ceremony is practiced. Such values could be regarding political hierarchy or an individual’s status in a society, and about a culture’s spiritual or religious faith. By exploring death ceremony in ancient Egypt, contemporary Hindu death practice in India, and current North American funerary rites, it can be illustrated that
This act reflects the strong ties between birth and death because the same act is done to a newborn baby in Ashanti tradition. After washing the corpse, the body will be dressed and laid in state on a bed with corpse dressed in varies with age, wealth and religion. A corpse from a royal family is covered in kente cloth with a cigarette placed between his lips and another between his fingers, follow by a coin on his forehead. While the corpse of a non-royal family will be buried with the objects or symbols that is very significant to the individual placed with dead person in death. When burying women or men, women are often buried with their pot while men are buried with their bows and quivers.