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The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Summary

Categories: Nacirema

The Nacirema views the body as ugly and tries to keep it hidden and covered as much as possible and everything is done in secret. They believe the body has a natural tendency to lead to debility and disease and they all have at least one shrine in their homes to try to deter such ailments. They worship the shrines in secrete and they are not family ceremonies. The shrine boxes contain potions, and charms; the potions are so important no native believes he could live without them, and instead of disposing of the charms after they are used for their purpose they are discarded into a magical packet never to be used again or disposed of in fear something tragic could happen.

The Nacirema believe the mouth has the most magical power and they take pride in their mouth in fear if they did not their teeth would fall out. Medicine men would inject potion into the decaying portions of one’s teeth in hopes of removing the evils of the mouth.

If the client who went to the medicine man did not have any decays in their mouth they would create a hole in their tooth to inject the magical potions.
A rite of passage for the Nacirema men is for facial markings and carving, while a rite of passage for the females is to stick their head in small ovens and bake their head for one hour each lunar month.

They believed so heavily in tips ceremonies they would be willing to present an expensive gift just to get into the temple to either die or be cured of their ailments or disease.

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During the ceremonies, they would be subject to having needles poked in them and have to use the bathroom in front of people a ritual that once was only done in private.

My reaction to the Nacirema rituals is they hold their body as a holy temple. They view them as sacred and should be kept hidden, they want to do everything they can to live a long healthy life by praying to these shrines. I do feel they like to keep everything in secrete so they will not be judged by others, and they only discuss the rituals with the children to give them insight as to what they should do when they join these rituals.

The Nacirema have “listeners” just like we have psychiatrists and psychologists as our “listeners”. Our “listeners” help us with our problems and help us get past our hang-ups, while the Nacremia believe they will exorcise them of all of their troubles as far back as their births. People still to this day perform exorcisms all over the world, the Nacremia just take it a bit further from demons to curing all of the life problems to where people feel ex-halted after such rituals, and not just having a demon removed from their body. I believe we have followed in their footsteps with our listeners, I mean we do have extensive therapies that reach as far back as one can remember to see where their troubles started.

Like in our society today teeth are important, we just do not hold them to the standards of care the Nacirema do. We do not view our mouths as “holy” We are supposed to visit the dentist at least twice a year like the Nacirema visit the medicine men to ward out the evil spirits out of their mouths. We get fillings in our teeth for our decaying spots, but we do not believe it is magical like the Nacirema do, and even if they do not have any decaying sports they will get a hold made in their tooth just to inject the magical potion, we, on the other hand, do no such thing.

The Nacremia have temples that they go to for ultimate healing or even death, comparable to what is seen in modern-day hospitals. We don’t have extensive rituals performed over us, but we seek out hospitals to help, cure, and even prolong the inevitable death.

The Nacremia just have un-traditional ways of doing things based on how we see things done in our culture. If you look outside from their culture into our culture, they may think the same thing about us. Every culture has different traditions and different rituals, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong, it just means they have different beliefs than we do.

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The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Summary. (2020, Oct 08). Retrieved from

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