Menstrual cycle, menstruation or menses is still a taboo topic in India. There are several rituals, customs and myths associated with this natural process and not just in India, but across the world. These traditions are usually followed by the non-western societies and may seem bizarre to others. Lack of formal education and poor understanding of reproduction, menstruation and puberty contribute to these beliefs. Some rituals give the women folks a break from the usual routine, while others may be detrimental to their health. Here are some weird rituals associated with menstruation across the world. (ALSO READ What is a normal menstrual cycle: Everything you wanted to know about periods) Also Read - Coronavirus: 5 COVID-19 Symptoms That Won’t Seem to go
1. First menstruation calls for a celebration in south India
In south India, the menarche or the first menstruation is celebrated by the family of the girl and the celebration is usually as big as a marriage. The menarche is considered as an important event in the girl’s life. Once the girl starts menstruating, she stays in a separate room. People visit her and bring gifts for her. Sweets and flowers are also brought for the girl. On the last day of her menses, she is given a ceremonial bath by her mother and other women. She is gifted new clothes and ornaments to wear for the ritual. She is given a lamp and the griha pravesh ceremony is performed. Also Read - Dragon Fruit Benefits: 5 Amazing Health Benefits of This Bright Pink Fruit
2. Intercourse is forbidden in Indonesia
In Indonesia, intercourse is forbidden during menstruation. It is believed that having sex during menstruation increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases as the menstrual blood is considered toxic. In other cultures like Judaism and Islam, sexual contact is forbidden when the women is menstruating. (ALSO READ Periods and health: 5 things your period tells about your health). Also Read - Colorectal Cancer: A Simple, Cheap Test Can Help Potentially Save Lives, Suggests Research
3. Menstrual isolation in many cultures
Menstrual isolation is a common practice in India, Nepal and Bali. The menstruating girl is not allowed in the kitchen or to enter the house. In some tribes, there are special huts where women are confined during their periods. In many Brahmin households in south India, the menstruating woman is given a separate room and separate utensils during those five days. She is also not allowed in the kitchen or in the area where the family idol is kept. During this period, she is also not allowed to do activities like drawing, singing or stitching. She cannot touch musical instruments or other tools used for important activities.
4. Slaughtering of goat in South Africa
People of the ethnic group of South Africa, the Zulu, have a special ritual for the girl who starts menstruating. When a girl gets her first period, she takes a blanket and covers her head. Then she finds a place to hide till sunset. She is then secluded from her friends and a goat is slaughtered. The next morning she is bathed and other women of the community give her lessons of womanhood. (ALSO READ Regulate your periods: 5 ways to regulate an irregular menstrual cycle).
5. Honoring menstrual blood among Bauls of Bengal
Baul, a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal, includes people who have renounced the norms of society and live by singing Baul songs and begging. They have a different view about menstruation and menstrual blood. They honor substances that are considered unclean by the society. For them, having intercourse with a menstruating woman is not taboo. Their ideology also includes ingesting menstrual blood. For Bauls, menstrual blood is a regenerating substance and it brings love, prosperity and happiness.
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