cultures around the world view menstruation in varied and
interesting ways. Here are some examples:
Australians linked rebirth with the blood of the womb.
Aboriginal men exercise ritual power through ceremonies in
which they cut themselves to imitate women’s
menstruation. In some tribes, men actually cut open their
penises to reproduce the look of bleeding female
the winter, most households in a small town in Portugal
kill a pig and cure its meat for later use. There is a
strict taboo against menstruating women. They are not
allowed to help butcher the pig or even enter a house
where a pig is being cured. It is believed that a
menstruating woman has the power of the evil eye that she
can ruin the meat by merely looking at it.
Beng people of Africa’s Ivory Coast believe that
menstrual blood is special because it carries in it a
living being. Menstrual blood is said to be like a flower
which must first emerge before the fruit (i.e., the baby)
can be born.
a small Muslim village in Turkey, menstruation was
believed to be punishment given to the women as punishment
for Eve’s disobedience against Allah in Paradise.
Turkish women are not allowed to enter the mosque, touch
the Koran or join the community in fasting during Ramadan
while they are menstruating. Also, a menstruating woman
cannot join the Hajj to the holy city of Mecca. Thus most
women make the journey after menopause.
Tribes of North America
Navajos hold a ceremony for girls who have their
menstruation for the first time. Considered as the most
important of their religious rites, it is supposed to make
sex holy and fruitful. The girl is secluded and given
instruction and afterwards, there is a great celebration
in which the entire community is involved.
The Yurok menstrual rules say that menstruating women are isolated in a
menstrual hut or in the back room of their house during their
period. She is supposed to be very powerful during this time
and should isolate herself so that she would not waste her
energy on everyday matters and not be bothered by members of
the opposite sex. All her energy should be focused on
meditating on the purpose of her life and the gathering her
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