Summary of Body Rituals of the Nacirema

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Summary of the article "Body Ritual among the Nacirema"

Rituals are a key part of every cultures roots and form an outsider can be viewed as different. In Horace Miner's article, "Body Ritual among the Nacirema", he talks about the characterization of the North American group called the Nacirema. Throughout this article, Miner depicts the Nacirema people as a culture infatuated with rituals focused on human body. The basic belief of these rituals appears "to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease" (Miner, 503). Every household has a shrine where the rituals typically are performed or take place. Within this shrine are a number of charms (medicines, magical materials) placed there for safekeeping and to reuse for the daily rituals. Beneath the shrine is a font where each person of the household performs the "brief rite of ablution"(Miner, 504) or washing of the hands and/or body with holy water.

This holy water comes from a community 'Water Temple'.

To further the fixation on the human body, the Nacirema make a visit twice a year to the "holy mouth-men" (Miner, 504) otherwise known as the "hierarchy of magical practitioners" (Miner, 504), specialists of the mouth. In the Nacirema culture, there is a prevailing appeal with the symbols between the mouth and an individual's morals. In making routine visits to the holy mouth-men, it is believed that the Nacirema will draw people toward them, as well as stop the deterioration of their teeth.

There are some parts of the daily ritual that only men perform and some that only women perform. The ritual the men do "involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument" (Miner, 505), and the women "bake their...