6 Menstruating Taboos Among Major Religions In India
Menstrual taboos are a stigma attached to menstruating women mainly because of its involvement with uncleanness and being pollutant in the society. However, till now these stigmas are much relaxed depending upon the religion you belong to. Different religion has different concept and ideology towards menstruating women. Just like women from Bali, is not allowed to enter the kitchen and do her daily chores there are various and some similar stigma’s mainly concerned to menstruating. Here we state you some of the major menstruating taboos according to various religion in India.
While in past even in present, some church fathers defended the exclusion of women from ministry based on a conception of uncleanness and muckiness. Whereas on the other side, some people held that purity laws should be discarded as part of the Old Covenant. In spite of various restrictions, Jesus allowed himself to be touched by a bleeding woman and she was the lady who cured him.
In the Hindu confidence, menstruating women are conventionally considered ritually impure and given rules to follow. During menstruation, women living here are not allowed to enter the kitchen and temples, sleep in the day-time, wear flowers, touch other males or females, bathe, wear flowers, have sex, or talk loudly. They may not mount a horse, ox, or elephant and also there were restricted to drive vehicles in olden days. While a women is in her periods, she is associated as impure, polluted and often isolated to be one among the untouchable in the society. However, during olden days a menstruating women was send out of home to nearby relative’s place if a function is to be held in the house, and they are not allowed to return back to their family till the length of their period.
According to the Tora, a menstruating woman is considered ritually unclean and anyone who touches her will be unclean until evening. Touching her, touching an object she had sat or lain on, or having intercourse with her also makes a person ritually unclean. The extent to which these rules are observed in modern Judaism varies depending on the degree of conservatism/orthodoxy.
In Sikhism, womans are given equal status same as to man and is regarded as pure just like man is. The Gurus teach that one cannot be pure by washing his body but purity of mind is the real pureness. They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak damned the practice of treating women as impure while menstruating.
In this religion, Gurus make it clear that menstruation is a god given process and hence a women is not considered to be unclean, or isolated as untouchables in the society. Menstrual cycle is not considered as pollutant concept and they emphasize on it being a physical and phsyiological effect on a women. While in other religion, menstruation can be considered as a pollutant, gurus belonging to this religion strongly oppose such ideas and thinking, as they believe those who are impure from within are the truly impure ones. Sikhisim believes in worshiping god and meditating on god’s name. Then it does not matter, when you are worshipping lord in a blood strained clothes or not, but is important is your spirituality not your blood that is shedding out then. However, women belonging to this religion are free to visit gurudwara and also worship to god. She is allowed to offer prayer and do Seva just like what a non menstruating women is allowed to do.
Guninder Kaur-Singh writes: “The denigration of the female body ‘expressed in many cultural and religious taboos surrounding menstruation and childbirth’ is absent in the Sikh worldview. …Guru Nanak openly fights to those who attribute pollution to women because of menstruation.
In Islam, just like other relgions, a woman is not allowed to offer prayer or to perform other religious activities such as fasting or circumambulating the kaaba. This is for the concept of beleiving a menstrauting women is unclean and considered to be pollutant to the society due to her shedding of blood. Apart from spiritual activites, sexual intercource is also restriced during menstrual periods and she is not allowed to live a normal social life, like she can do in other days. Muhammad encouraged menstruating women to be present at festive religious services for the two Eid holidays, although they were excused from praying.
Buddhism From a Buddhist point of view menstruation is “a natural physical excretion that women have to go through on a monthly basis, nothing more or less.” However in practice this is not followed. It is because of the influence Hinduism has had on Buddhism. Many temples do not allow women to circumambulate around the Stupas and enter inside. Apart from these, there is a Buddhist belief that ghosts eat blood and therefore a menstruating woman can attract ghost, which can be threat to herself.
These were some of the menstruating taboos according to various religion in India.