I have never heard of the culture Nacirema. So I was very fascinated about the different traditions they have and just how different their way of life is. For example, they perceive the human body differently than the way we do. They spend their day doing different rituals in order to cleanse their body. One ritual that I found very intriguing was called the mouth-rite. This is when they put “hog hairs into the mouth along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures” (Miner 89). They do this to feel like they are healthy people. I find this as an interesting way to cleanse your mouth. It can also be seen as a form of brushing their teeth. In addition, every household has a box with these magical powders in them. They believe that without this magic, they could not survive. When hearing about these rituals, it is shocking because I am sure it comes with a lot of pain. It is interesting to read that there are also some rituals that are only for men. For example, they clean their face by “scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument” (Miner 90). This ritual was not so shocking to me because it can be seen as a form of shaving. This certain ritual highlights that we are doing things differently, but with the same goal. Naciremas is a small tribe that live in North America and came from the east. Specifically between the Canadian Cree, the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles, and the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico. I learned that their people do certain rituals everyday where “the focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health” (Miner 88). They see the body differently than we do; in that they believe it is dirty and holds diseases. These rituals are a unique way to cleanse themselves. They believe that if they are not clean, people won’t be their friends and they would have a poor appearance. Their care for the human body is like no other. They want to be perceived a certain way and will do whatever it takes, even if there is pain involved, to get there. Although the Nacirema’s culture may seem out of the ordinary, I am sure that our culture and traditions may seem weird to them. For example, during Passover in the Persian Jewish culture, we do a ritual called “dayenu” meaning “it is enough.” In this tradition, we whip our family members with green onions. We do this tradition to resemble the Egyptians who whipped the Jews while they were slaves in Egypt. We do this to remind ourselves of the hardship we had to go through in order to get to where we are today. It is a way of telling us to never take anything for granted. Just like the Nacirema’s rituals have different meanings behind them as well. These rituals may seem very strange to other cultures, just like the Nacirema’s mouth-rite ritual is strange to us. However, I learned that just because it is different, it does not mean it is necessarily weird. We are just not used to it. Works cited: Henslin, James M. Down to Earth Sociology. 14th edition. Simon and Schuster. 2012.
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