Why am I not allowed to visit a temple when I bleed? Will the pickle really smell foul and unfit for consumption if I touch it while I am menstruating? Why do I have to sit separately to eat during 'that time of the month'?
There are various questions that haunt a girl when she enters this phase of her life where the process of getting transformed into a woman begins. It is the time when the journey of womanhood is embarked and a female becomes biologically fit to produce a child.
People from different traditions have different reactions to this natural phenomenon. We have made a list of some unconventional, bizarre, supportive yet unknown facts and customs about periods that are definitely going to change the way people see it.
People of Rastafarian societies, Bali, Hindus in South India, and certain tribes in Nigeria keep women in isolated and confined huts. This was done to keep the woman away from other members of the family and even her husband because a menstruating woman was considered 'impure'.
In Bali, Bangladesh and in Rastafarianism, a woman is not allowed to cook food or come in contact with anyone's food when she is bleeding. In fact, to safeguard the interest of the society and religious beliefs of people, women are not even allowed to visit temples during 'that time of the month'.
In Bali and in Orthodox Judaism, after every cycle, a woman is supposed to perform a sacred bath called a mikveh.
YES, they do.
According to RubyCup.com, Bengali Bauls take up a ceremony in which a woman's first-period blood is mixed with cow's milk, coconut milk, camphor, and is drunk by those present at the event as a substance to regenerate energy, increase memory and grant happiness.
When a girl bleeds for the first time, there are certain groups in society that celebrate it with zeal and enthusiasm. A lavish spread of food and customary gifts are given to mark the beginning of adulthood.
In Karnataka, the young girl who starts menstruating is dressed up like a bride and the neighbourhood aunties perform aarti and gift her certain valuable things. The same is takes place in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Among the Zulus of South Africa, a goat is slaughtered and the girl who starts her periods is secluded from her friends, she is bathed and smeared in clay. Bizarre, eh?
As per a BBC article, Dhamilekh, a village in Nepal, has a huge population of Hindus. They believe that if a woman touches you she has to undergo a religious ceremony to atone for accidentally touching a man, or polluting their environment when she bleeds.
In South India, it is customary for women to keep a lemon or a piece of iron along with them, whenever bleeding. This is done to keep themselves away from any vulnerable evil spirit.
It is ironic yet surprising to note how different cultures deal with periods/menstruation. People see this natural phenomenon as both, something frightening and empowering. Maybe, it is just a matter of perception.
That's all, people.
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