The Elusive Nacirema Tribe

Topics: Ritual, Culture, Personal life Pages: 3 (977 words) Published: February 2, 2011
In the everyday life of the perceived “normal” individual, rituals and rites performed by individuals as part of a different culture might seem harsh, cruel or even barbaric. After my first read of "Body Ritual among the Nacirema", that is how I perceived their daily way of life. They believe in magic potions, seeking pain from the “holy – mouth – men” a couple of times a year, and the men and women perform acts that seem to contradict one another by trying to obtain abnormal body shapes, and then the men cut their face daily and the women “bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour”. What I discovered when reading this article again was that the author, Sir Horatio Galbraith, put a spin on words in many different ways, but this article just goes to show that what may seem normal to you could be portrayed as a terrible way to conduct daily life to others.

In this article, Galbraith made mention about the Nacirema people being incarcerated into ugly and disease ridden bodies, and they make extreme efforts to “avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony.” He also noted that these people make visits to receive excruciatingly painful procedure they consider an “exorcism of the evils” from a magical practitioner best known as the “holy-mouth-men”. At first glance, both of these points the author has made make it seem as though these people are very rigid and harsh with their decisions in life. It seems almost like they make an effort to induce pain on themselves to achieve a culturally acceptable appearance. However after analyzing and relating these acts to my own way of life, I noted several similarities. In society today, the majority of people strive to look better than they currently do by dieting, working out and by making sure their mouth and teeth look their very best. These are just a few examples among many other efforts that are made by people to look better than they normally do, or at least get...
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