Anastacia Kurylo has posted on her great blog (The Communicated Stereotype) about my recent series of posts celebrating diverse rituals of many cultures as un-stereotypes. Go to the link to see her post.
Unfortunately the first comment was a negative comment about rituals involving genital mutilation, which I think was unfortunate (the negative topic I mean) as the whole point of my series and Kurylo’s post was to take a moment and look at good things about cultural diversity, like, the different ways people observe rituals around the world, but not controversial rituals, rather, rituals we all observe in one way or other, whether we are atheists or religious, as many of these rituals have less to do with religion and more to do with ethnicity or country of origin. The rituals I have focused on so far involve the first birthday of a baby, thus the transition from baby to toddler, and then funerals around the globe and how we mourn the loss of our loved ones. Lastly I posted about the Native American “Dreamcatcher” and different appropriations of it. I chose to focus on rituals that are familiar to everyone but observed very differently, and ones that are either happy celebrations or dealing with the inevitable, death. It did not even occur to me to think about things like “genital mutilation” or any other such controversial rituals, as I was thinking about how lovely it is that so many different cultures and peoples around the world have very unique and lovely ways to deal with the basic big transitions that human beings experience, such as, birth, birthday, marriage or union of partners, and death, and also, the nightly ritual of going to sleep and having dreams. Of all these topics, actually the dreaming one is most controversial. First of all, not everyone believes dreams have any meaning though it is a fact that we all dream. Secondly, Native American rituals are sacred to the tribes that invent and follow them, and to some Native Americans, using and making copycat dreamcatchers might be seen as disrespectful, although to some, this appropriation is viewed positively. We can make our own dreamcatchers while being aware that the “real” ones originated with a tribe of Native Americans..