Birthing Cermonies Of Other Cultures Essay Research

Birthing Cermonies Of Other Cultures Essay, Research Paper Birthing Cermonies of Other Cultures The birthing ceremonies of the Indian culture has a lot of

Birthing Cermonies Of Other Cultures Essay, Research Paper

Birthing Cermonies of Other Cultures

The birthing ceremonies of the Indian culture has a lot of

different aspects then the American culture does. I guess that is why they are

different cultures. All cultures have different views on different things such

as religion, but they also share the same as well for example every culture has

some form of the family. This is what helps most cultures understand other

cultures. In the Indian culture their view of bringing a child into the world

is much different then the American culture’s view.

In the Indian culture there are a lot of preparations that go

into getting the parents and the community ready for the new member. Their

culture does more work with the child before they are even born. First of all

plans are made for them so they know who is going to be there to witness the

child being born into their society. They are usually the grandparents, the

representatives, and the Godparents that were selected by the parents and the

representatives. The mother is to keep on working as she did before the baby is

born. They say that this shows the child the importance of work in their culture.

During the pregnancy, around the seventh month, the mother introduces the baby

to the natural world. She does this by taking walks in the fields and over the

hills. They believe that the baby is consciously taking all of this in to

prepare him/her for life within that culture.

When the baby is born none of the mothers children should be

around. The only people there are the ones that were chosen by the

representatives and the parents. If someone can not make it then someone will

have to fill in for them. The only people besides children who are not allowed

to see are the single women. The only way that they can attend is if there is

no one else to go. There has to be three couples at the birth of the child, the

child doesn’t just belong to the parents but to the community as well. It is

considered to be a scandal if an Indian women goes to a hospital to have a baby.

For the mothers other children there are not to know where or

how the baby is born. Only the three couples know where the child is born. The

children are told that a baby has arrived and they can not see their mother for

eight days. After the baby is born the placenta has to be burned at a certain

time. If the baby was born at night then it is burned at eight in the morning

and if the baby is born in the afternoon then it will be burned at five in the

afternoon. It is usually burnt on a log and the ashes are just left there. They

will not bury it because they believe that the Earth is the mother and father to

all children, and the Earth must not have it abused by burying it in the ground.

During the pregnancy, seeing how the mother has no time to relax,

they take these steam baths. In an adobe hut there is a stove, called a

temascal , which is were the placenta can be burned also, which produces steam

that is supposed to calm the women down. This stove is made of stone. The

stones are heated up and then the door is shut and then cold water is poured on

the rocks and this makes steam. This is said to prevent the mother from having

a miscarriage. A lot of times they add Herb’s and leaves to the bath which

helps them relax as well as supply them with nutrients. The mother usually

takes this after work so that she can sleep and get up and do it all over again


The purity of the child is protected after birth for eight days.

The newborn baby is alone with its mother for these eight days. None of the

other children can see the child for this time frame. The mothers only visitors

are the people who bring her food. This time frame is the baby integration into

the family.

When the child is born they kill a sheep and there is a little

fiesta just for the family. The neighbors start coming to visit and bring gifts.

the gifts they bring are usually food for the mother, or something for the baby.

The mother has to taste all of the food that is brought to her, that is to show

her appreciation for their kindness.

After the eight days are over the family counts up how many

visitors the mother had, and how many presents were received. The normal gifts

are eggs, clothing, small animals, wood for the fire, and services like carrying

water and chopping wood. If a lot of the community calls or visits, this shows

how the child will grow up and have a lot of responsibility. After the eight

days another animal is killed to show that the child’s right to be alone with

his mother is over. All of the clothes and sheets that she used during the

birth are taken to the river to be washed, no matter how far away it is.

After the baby is born they are given a small bag with a little

garlic, lime, salt, and tobacco. This is to ward off all of the evil spirits.

When the child reaches forty days old there are speeches and promises on his

behalf, this is his baptism. At around ten years old the parents and the

leaders talk to them again. They tell them that they must never abuse their

dignity. They also remind them about the ancestors who were dishonored by the

white man. They also make sure they remind them to respect their elders, and

also pregnant women.

There is a difference in ceremonies for the two different

genders. For instance when a girl is born there aren’t nearly as many

celebrations as there are for a boy. They say this is because of all the hard

work and responsibilities he will have as an adult. The girls ears are pierced

at the same time they cut the umbilical cord. Also the male child is given an

extra day with his mother. All of this doesn’t mean girls aren’t valued their

work is hard to and there are certain things due to them as a mother. They

place gender roles kind of like we used to with the women staying home and

taking care of the kids and the man earning a living for his family.

Our culture has many different characteristics then the Indian

culture in the way of giving birth and raising children. In the Indian culture

they consider the baby owned by the community as well as by the parents, and in

ours they only belong to the parents. Unless they are proven to be unfit

parents the child belongs to the state. Also in their culture they make sure

there are three couples there to receive the child while it is being delivered.

This is different then our custom where the only one allowed to watch is the

father of the child. In their culture after the birth the mother and the child

are hidden away and pretty much left alone for eight or nine days depending if

its a boy or a girl. This is the time in our culture where the mother and child

are being seen by family and friends. Also for their culture the mother is

pushed on to continue to work as she was before where as for ours we encourage

the mother to take it easy and in some cases to stay off her feet even. Another

thing is that they don’t allow women to give birth in a hospital because it is

considered to be degrading. In our culture most women try to have their babies

in a hospital, but some can’t help but having them in different places like a

car, plane, or a boat.

The next story that I read had to deal with the initiation of a

warrior. The way you are initiated is by through circumcision. This is done by

using a sharp knife to cut the skin in the most sensitive part of your body.

There are requirements that you must follow like you can’t budge, move a muscle

or even blink. You can only face one direction. The slightest movement on your

part means you are a coward and unworthy to be a Maasia man. When they are

circumcised they have entered adulthood. If you are not brave during the

procedure then there are consequences like the families herd will be beaten

until they stampede away, all of the slaughtered oxen and honey beer will go to

waste, his food would be spit on and he would be expected to eat it or else he

would get a severe beating. He will also be called the knife kicker which is an


When it becomes time for the ceremony they pour ice cold water

over his head. After he is done shaking he is told to sit down. Then a large

crowd of boys and men form a semi-circle in front of the him, women are not

allowed to watch. Next the circumciser appears and grabs the knifes, which have

been guarded by the boy. Next he spreads the boys legs and announces ?One Cut?

this is so the boy can not say he was caught off guard. Then a white paint is

splashed in the boys face, and this is where it begins. After the cutting is

over with he calls for milk so he can wash the knives.

There is a lot of blood lost during this so it takes a while for

them to recuperate from this. After they are able to walk and do stuff again

they join other newly circumcised boys. During recuperation they are protected

from the cold and the rain. They are not allowed to even touch their food

because they are considered to be unclean instead they are given these special

sticks to eat with. When they are healed their heads are shaved and the black

cloaks are thrown away, this is when they are considered to be Maasia warriors.

In our society most children are circumcised when they are born

with some exceptions, but the parents are given the choice after they are born.

In our society you wouldn’t be considered to be any less of a man if this was

done to you and you screamed in pain. in our culture we don’t put that much

into our ceremonies as they do and also tradition doesn’t play that big of a

role in our society.

The next story is about the same operation but on a women. This

is common in the middle east. The belief is that by removing parts of the girls

genitals the sexual desire is minimized therefore preserving their virginity

until they are married. This is a high risk procedure meaning there have been a

few deaths related to this being done. Unlike the last story women are allowed

to kick and scream as much as they want, or at least try because there are women

holding down each limb which makes it hard to move. A lot of women who have had

this done say they had the feelings before it was done but now they weren’t as

strong as they were before. This procedure can cause long term effects on a

women psychological as well as physical.

This almost never happens in our society unless it is absolutely

necessary , but I guess that is because virginity is taken lightly and not

considered sacred in our society. I would hope that after a while these

societies will stop this procedure but until then they will continue to do it.

This culture believes that virginity is more important for a woman then a man.

This is like our society where your manliness is ranked by how many women you

sleep with, but for women they are called sluts if they sleep with more men then

someone else did. In our society I believe we want to treat everyone the same

but to me it doesn’t seem like we are doing a very good job of it.

My next story is about another initiation but this is into a

tribe of headhunters. The test began when they had him lay down in a pit of

carnivorous ants. He had to lay there until they gave him a signal to get up

because it was over. The test doesn’t stop there next was he had to go into the

woods without any weapons or food and survive for three days and nights while

three headhunters are hunting you down. If you fail this part of the test then

they do a ritual using your head, but if you pass you are finally allowed to

join them as headhunters.

They apply gender roles kind of like we did. The male has to be

strong and not a coward whereas the female is dependent on the male. In our

society we have a lot of initiations that go on like for clubs, sorority,

fraternity, but none of them are usually this much based on courage most of them

are based on embarrassing you. I think that these four stories show you how your

society is not the only one and also it is not the best but just different from

all of the others.