Culture and Menstruation

The relationship between culture and menstruation is expressed in many ways. A variety of menstrual-related traditions exist. One group of authors has theorized that menstruation may have played a key role in the development of symbolic culture in early human society.

Historically, a menstruating woman was considered sacred and powerful, with increased psychic abilities, and strong enough to heal the sick. According to the Cherokee, menstrual blood was a source of feminine strength and had the power to destroy enemies.

In Ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder wrote that a menstruating woman who uncovers her body can scare away hailstorms, whirlwinds and lightning. If she strips naked and walks around the field, caterpillars, worms and beetles fall off the ears of corn. Menstrual blood is viewed as especially dangerous to men’s power. In Africa, menstrual blood is used in the most powerful magic charms in order to both purify and destroy.

In Judaism and Christianity, the latter derives from the first, it is of the punishment for the disobedience of Eve who would eat of the Forbidden Fruit to know of the difference between good and evil. “For in suffering and pain she shall bring forth her children”, this would appear to be a prelude to the act of giving birth.

Most Christian denominations do not follow any specific rituals or rules related to menstruation. Some Christian denominations, including many authorities of the Eastern Orthodox Church (also known as the Russian, Ukrainian, or Greek Orthodox Church, distinct from the Roman Catholic Church), advise women not to receive communion during their menstrual period. Other denominations follow the rules laid out in the Holiness Code section of Leviticus, somewhat similar to the Jewish ritual of Niddah. Healthy women have adequate outflow during this cycle, which renders them impure for sacred devotions, even more so in public.

The traditional Islamic interpretation of the Qur’an forbids intercourse, but not physical intimacy, during a woman’s menstrual period. Judaism does likewise. During menstrual periods, women are excused from performing prayers and fasting. In the Qur’an it is considered a “harm” or a nuisance, and women should not be pestered during this time. Respect for women on their cycle is valued. They are advised to not enter the mosque without any important purpose, but are encouraged to be present at religious services such as Eid Al-Adha or Eid Al-Fitr. After the period, a spiritual bath, which is also required of both partners after sex, Ghusl, is also required before prayer and fasting may continue.

In Judaism, a ritual exclusion called niddah applies to a woman while menstruating and for about a week thereafter, until she immerses herself in a mikvah (ritual bath which is basically intended only for married women. During this time, a married couple must avoid sexual intercourse and physical intimacy. Orthodox Judaism forbids women and men from even touching or passing things to each other during this period. While Orthodox Jews follow this exclusion, many Jews in other branches of the religion do not.

Hindus in India tend to view menstruation, especially first menstruation or menarche, as a positive aspect of a girl’s life. In South India, girls who experience their menstrual period for the first time are given presents and celebrations to mark this special occasion.

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  1. Fias Ramo says:

    They believe so because that was the punishment for women for causing the tree to bleed. This leads to the fact that there is the punishment for the original sin in Abrahamic religion but this punishment seems to be only for women.

    Original sin in Abrahamic religion.
    Is original sin there in Abrahamic religion? Yes!!

    Abrahamic religion historian and commentator Tabari goes further and says that God made women stupid as a result of Eve’s sin!

    According to Yunus Zayd (commenting on God’s word: “And he whispered”): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth.

    Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Tabari and Abrahamic religion : General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood)

    Thus, it because Eve the first woman sinned she was given the punishment of menstruation she was made stupid and would have difficult pregnancies and this punishment is given to all the women of the world as Zayd has commented.

    Now why according to Abrahamic religion all women menstruate, are stupid and have difficult pregnancies? it’s because of Eve the first woman who sinned and brought punishment on all women. Tabari points out to the original sin of Eve and gives an explanation as to why women menstruate are stupid and have difficult pregnancies and Ibn Zayd also confirms Tabari. Thus the original sin is every much there in Abrahamic religion but the followers want to be in denial of it.

    Did God forgive mankind of the original sin?

    Tabari is clear that Eve wasn’t forgiven but and that as true as Abrahamic religion followers believe that only Adam was forgiven of the original sin.

    Not forgiving Eve while forgiving Adam shows how sexist and misogynistic the cult of Abrahamic religion really is.

    I feel very sorry for Eve as according to the scriptures of the Abrahamic religion poor Eve was punished and so are all women.

    Poor Eve!!!

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