Body Rituals of the Nacirema

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 In Body Rituals of the Nacirema, we learn about a North American group, known as the Nacirema’s. This group of people are known for their culture, where their rituals deal with the full body. Going further into the article, we find out about shrines where they practice their religion. Within the shrine, are charms placed inside for safekeeping to be used again at future rituals. Below the shrine is a font which is a receptacle for holy water; where that holy water is placed. That holy water comes from the Water Temple. After that, the Nacirema make a few visits, usually twice a year, to holy mouth men’, known as professionals of the mouth.

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Further in the article, Miner talks about an individual that listens to the concerns of a person starting with the earliest memory of their life and play with magic to get rid of the fears they had. During this visit, they are required to take different potions and healing charms’ given to them by the medicine man. In addition, if they are very ill during the visit, they go to the latipso. In the latipso, they are forced to take off their clothing and have ceremonies acted out by a magician.

We also learn towards the end, that the Nacirema have a belief that the body is ugly, and through activities they perform, included with the rituals, it will bring them enjoyment and meaning to their life. They also have rituals to make fat people thin, and thin people fat. In addition, procedures are done to women to make their breasts bigger and smaller. This all shows the importance of their bodies. 

After fully taking apart the Miner’s article, we find out that the Nacirema are in fact, us, Americans. Everything mentioned in the article from the rituals to the latipso are things that we do today, just a bit different. In the shrine, there is also a charm-box which was used to hold magic potions to be used later. Today, we have medicine cabinets to hold all of our medicine to be used in the future. Also in the article, it talks about the holy mouth men, that must be seen twice a year. His job was to expand the holes a person might have that might decay in the mouth. On the other hand today we have dentists that we visit twice a year.

In addition, there is an individual that listens to a person’s concern. That is the same as us having a therapist or psychologist today. People nowadays go to therapists/ psychologists to talk about problems they have so they could be worked out and fixed. Back then, women were known for baking their heads in ovens. Today, that is the same thing as women going to the salon and getting our hair done under the heater. Further on, Miner talks about men using a sharp object to use against the outer layer of their face. Today, we have razors that we use to get rid of hair. Likewise, the ritual ablution of the mouth for young children referred to cleaning someone’s mouth out with soap if they said something wrong.

Furthermore, the belief is that culture is built upon one’s rituals. From Miner’s article, he compares our rituals to what we, Americans do today. There are cultural groups and societies where we might not recognize at first because they might have different customs than us. That is the case with the Nacirema’s. They are just like us, but the only difference is the way they did it. Since we are more technologically advanced in our system, we do things differently now.

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Body Rituals of the Nacirema. (2019, Aug 02). Retrieved February 2, 2023 , from

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