Periods, Religion and Women

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Menstrual cycle is the cycle for the girl who is at her puberty. This cycle marks that the girl is entering her youth and putting one step towards being a “WOMAN”. Basically the menstrual cycle is the flow of blood through girl’s vagina and this continues for four to five days. Uterus accumulates blood cells in the walls for feeding the baby (if conceive). If the egg meets sperm then that egg is sent to uterus and then baby evolves there, but if there is no sperm then the wall full of blood cells disintegrate and comes out as a flow through vagina in this way menstrual cycle takes place. This is the normal procedure repeating every 28-30 days depending upon individual. This menstrual cycle is also trapped in the MYTHS. There are different myths depending upon religion. Historically, a woman menstruating is considered to be very powerful and sacred. They were considered to be great source of energy and power where their psychic abilities are increased and they can easily heal the sick. In Africa, menstrual blood is used in performing magic to purify and destroy. On contrary to above theory, Mayan people thought out of the league. They didn’t consider women as a source of power while menstruating rather considered them as a punishment for violating the social rules governing martial alliance. Similar theory prevails in Christianity and Judaism with a twist; they say menstrual flow is due to eating of forbidden fruit by Eve to know the difference between God and Evil. Another theory come in to picture from our neighboring country Nepal, Kathmandu’s Royal Kumari is a manifestation of the deity Teleju, who, centuries ago, played dice with Nepal’s king until he offended her with his lust-filled glances. As a result, she vowed never to return, except in the guise of a young girl. A Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Teleju until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness, a major loss of blood from an injury or even a small indication of laughter are also causes for her to revert to common status. It is popular belief that a girl in periods should not go to temples, churches or any such places. The reason behind that is very lame,it’s the natural body cycle why to connect it with the religion. In Hinduism there are goddesses too and mother Mary too was a woman, didn’t they had their periods! Why to restrict girls from worshiping god, when we are taught since very tender age that “All are equal in God’s eyes”. It is even worse among Jews; the woman experiencing periods cannot touch her spouse until the spiritual bath which she has to take after the one week period of menstrual cycle. They are even not allowed to pass items to one another or not even minor touching. In Christianity women are forbidden to attend church and Holy Communion, Holy Communion is actually the holy dinner which is being observed by majority of orthodox Christians. But nowadays women are taking strong action against this restriction and are trying to eradicate this tradition. Christian women entitled this tradition as “Old Wives Tale”. If we consider Hindu religion then the scenario is same but the first menstrual of the girl is celebrated because it is the sign of womanhood, now their girl is entering into her youth and can continue the family bloodline but this kind of tradition is famous in South India. If we talk about Hindu Brahmins they are very rigid in this sense. They don’t allow the girl to enter the house; they have separate quarter built for this very purposes they didn’t allow her to enter kitchen or any holy place. If any festival comes during that particular time she is not allowed to enjoy that festival and asked to sit in her quarter only. If the women are from arts field like singing, dancing, tailoring or any such area she is not allowed to touch her instruments for the span of three days, she can touch them after taking the holy bath. Nepali Hindus are very more rigid in this sense, they don’t allow them to enter the house, they have separate dishes and cutlery for them they are bound to eat whatever is given to them and can take only once. Considering this tradition very rigid which is imposing a negative impact on society this practice is now abolished from Nepali culture. It is popular belief among Hindus that lord Indra killed a demon named Vritra. Once, demons attacked Indralok and out of terror Indra left his kingdom and went to Lord Brahma for the advice, in return Lord Brahma showed him a Brahmin demon and asked him to make that demon his guru. Indra followed the orders and helped the boy in rituals and Hawans but at the end of ritual the boy gave all the food offerings to his mother who was in turn also a demon. Indra was pissed by this so he killed that demon and his mother haunted him wherever he went. To escape from her, Indra hid in a flower for 1 lack years and did penance to impress lord Vishnu. Vishnu asked Indra what he desired he explained him his problem and Vishnu advised to distribute sin among the pious creation of God. So, one such creation of God was women too so the women’s menstrual cycle was actually curse of Indra so they are forbidden from going to temples or holy pilgrimages. One more thing about women’s importance is that, there is a tradition to bow down inverted on ground in front of God’s idol in Hindu culture; women are not allowed to do that. The reason behind this is: woman’s womb is considered to be very sacred and pious and by completely touching the ground even in front of God is an insult to that womb so women are not allowed to do so. But these are only the myths and certain beliefs which are being carried on from generations and are still very prominent among different cultures. Women are being harassed and tortured emotionally by this kind of traditions. They feel like they have done some sin by being a woman and they should feel ashamed or embarrassed off in those three days they are being treated like they are not human being. Think the other side of the coin, due to this cycle only a woman is responsible to bring child to this world and to carry on the blood line. This menstrual cycle should not be considered as a curse in fact it’s a boon, to give life to someone is definitely the work of a strong person and all the women out there should be proud on themselves as they can do the task of giving birth in this whole universe.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              periods

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