Anthropology Rituals

Topics: Religion, Culture, Ritual Pages: 3 (832 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Anthropologists define a ritual as an act of social practices that are repeatedly performed but are not always associated with religious beliefs or practices. These rituals are not the same as the day to day normal activity a person partakes in but more of symbolic gestures performed in a specific manner by a specific order in doing them (Lavenda & Schultz, 2013). The Nacirema culture performs specific ritual acts on a daily basis and as I quickly realized American culture is not that much different than the Nacirema’s.

I am beginning to realize that it isn’t the cultures around the world that differ so much as the languages that portray them. In class we discussed different definitions for the same words and how one meaning can completely contradict another meaning when the graphical locations differ. I have especially found this to be the situation when I was reading Article 33, what appeared to be acts of witchcraft and voodoo practices was nothing of the sort but instead my assumption of a culture based solely on my translation of their language.

After I realized my perception was based on words rather than practices I noticed just how much alike the Nacirema culture and the American culture truly are. Naciremas’ perform daily rituals that consist of then having a shrine where they perform private rituals that consist of practices such as hog hairs into the mouth with magical powders, men lacerating the surface of their faces by scraping them with sharp objects and the women placing their heads in hot appliances for an hour. These are the rituals practiced in American culture except our language calls them a tooth brush with toothpaste, men shaving their faces, and women sitting under a hairdryer getting their hair done. These mere definitions of these practices from one language to the next is what differs vastly with culture not the actual acts being practiced. Every culture in the world has some sort of belief system that defines who they are and how...
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