Assignment: Birthing Rituals The birth

Assignment: Birthing Rituals The birth

Assignment: Birthing Rituals The birth

They are also used for healing. Animals are killed in a way similar to a kosher slaughter. Animals are cooked and eaten following most rituals, except for some healing and death rituals in which the animal is not eaten because it is believed that the sickness is passed into the dead animal.

Birthing Rituals The birth of an infant is a life-altering event that is surrounded by many traditional and ancient rituals. These rituals are often related to protecting the health of the child, which includes protecting him or her from evil spirits. The rituals are related to events prior to, during, and after the birth. Because the rituals are so numerous, we have listed the general variations, but the list is not exhaustive.


to birth:

Food restrictions

Wearing of amulets

The fulfilling of food cravings

Exposure to cold air

Avoidance of loud noises or viewing certain types of people (i.e., deformed people)

During labor:

How the placenta is discarded

Silent birth (some cultures require that no words or sounds are spoken by the woman and/or family members)

People present during labor

Utilization of a midwife

Place of delivery

Medications used

After birth:

Amulets (placed on the baby, crib, or in the newborn’s room)

Female and male circumcision


Animal sacrifice

Cutting of child’s lock of hair

Bathing of baby

Food restrictions

When the naming of the baby occurs

Rubbing the baby with oils or herbs

Acceptance of postpartum depression

Woman’s and child’s confinement period

Death Rituals Responses to death vary widely across cultures. Although some cultures may perform the same or similar rituals, they may have different meaning among the cultures. The rituals, in part, are related to beliefs about the meaning of life and life after death. Is death the end of existence or a transition to another life? Rituals play a role in behaviors, such as how people discuss death, respond to death, handle the deceased’s body, the behaviors that occur at the funeral, and the mourning process.

Some general variations include:

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