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All human societies associate with a given ritual used for various reasons. According to Magida (2006), a ritual is a sequential process involving gestures, objects, and words performed in a particular place to achieve a specific goal. One of the most common goals of rituals is to mark the passage from one stage of life to another. Rituals used to commemorate the transition from one stage of life to another are called rites of passage (Magida, 2006). Circumcision is the most widely used male rite of passage across the world. Different communities have varying ways of conducting circumcision depending on their culture and religious affiliation.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Identification of Rituals
The Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania, spiritual transition into a new age set, circumcision, to mark the passage of Maasai boys from childhood to warriorhood (Maasai Association, n.d.).
The Anatolia of Turkey, before the Islamic Anatolian marriage, circumcision, transformation of an Anatolian boy into a prince ready for marriage (Turkish Culture Portal, n.d.).
Comparison: Three Similarities between the Rituals
The Maasai Emuratare and the Anatolian Sunnet have a lot in common. The first similarity between these two rituals is that they are rites of passage that mark the transition from childhood into a subsequent stage of life. The Emuratare marked the passage of a Maasai boy from childhood into warriorhood while the Sunnet marked the religious transformation of an Anatolian boy into princehood (Maasai Association, n.d.; Turkish Culture Portal, n.d.).
The second similarity between the two rites is that they occurred over prolonged periods of time and were surrounded by numerous festivities. The Emuratare in the Maasai community took an average of eight days with the actual circumcision occurring on the eighth day (McKay & McKay, 2010). The Anatolian Sunnet circumcision ritual took an average of 10-15 days. At times it could extend to 55 days depending on the number of boys to be circumcised since it was done communally (Verit, 2003). [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
The third similarity between the two rituals is that they were both highly regarded and valued in their communities. It was mandatory for a boy to go through the ritual if they were to be considered as adults. Boys who had not undergone through these initiation ceremonies would not be allowed to marry in both the communities. According to the Maasai Association (n.d.), a Maasai boy who failed to go through the Emuratare would not graduate into a Moran and would therefore never get to woo a lady. He would be considered a coward and at some age would be disowned by the community. An Anatolian boy who failed to go through the Sunnet would be subject to ridicule and mockery by girls and other community members (Turkish Culture Portal, n.d.). In both communities, taking care of a child, having them circumcised, and seeing them getting married brought great joy to parents.
Both rituals involved the exchange of various forms of gifts. The Maasai Emuratare included gift exchanges between the community, the boy getting circumcised and the gods too. The circumcised boy receives numerous gifts from family, relatives, and the community (Maasai Association, n.d.). The father gave the boy several heads of cattle for being brave and not letting him down. The relatives also gave cows and goats to the family of the boy undergoing the rite as a sign of respect and appreciation for bringing in another warrior into the clan (Maasai Association, n.d.). Also, a mixture of blood and special meat was roasted and burnt after the ceremony as a way of thanking the gods and requesting their blessings for the warrior.
During the Anatolian Sunnet, the circumcision ceremony was enhanced with various forms of gifts. The boy undergoing the transition was given numerous gifts including money, clothing, household goods, and gold (Verit, 2003). Gifts were given to all families regardless of their socioeconomic status. Wealthy families would give their excesses to the families of the poor in the event they had a boy who was undergoing circumcision. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
The Anatolia also had a unique form of gift exchange system that involved one family catering for all the circumcision expenses of another family. This was referred to as the “kirve” (Turkish Culture Portal, n.d.). Once a family volunteered to offer another family kirve, the other family was obligated to return the favor once their time came when they had a boy who was getting circumcised.
In both communities, gift exchange was a way of strengthening the social relations among people. Gift exchanges were meant to enlarge the communal social web and promote the social security mechanism. It was a sign of good relations among members of the community. The gifts given to the gods were meant to thank them and ask them for blessings on behalf of families of the boys and the community as a whole. Gifts given to gods were a way of enhancing connections with the Supreme Being.
The Maasai Emuratare is a rite of passage by classification. It is meant to mark the transition from one stage of life to another.
During Christmas, a lot of gifts are exchanged in my community. Families exchange gifts as a way of showing each other love and appreciation for the mutual support that made the year a success. I often receive gifts from members of other families who are usually my age mates and friends. To show appreciation, I am obliged to buy gifts for them too. This trend of exchanging gifts brings us closer as friends. According to Mayet and Pine (2010), gift exchanges are psychological processes that are often meant to cultivate a healthy relationship with people but at other times they have an economic motive.
Gift exchanging is an important aspect of rituals. Gifts are exchanged between people and with gods. Similarly, gifts are a way of showing appreciation for the achievement made. They are also a way of thanking gods for their blessings and asking them for more. In the contemporary world, gift exchange is widely used as a way of showing feelings and bolstering social relations among people.
Maasai Association. (n.d.). Maasai ceremonies and rituals.
Magida, A. (2006). Opening the doors of wonder: Reflections on religious rites of passage. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Mayet, C. & Pine, K. (2010). The psychology of gift exchange. Karen J. Pine.
McKay, B. & McKay, K. (2010). Male rites of passages from around the world: The art of manliness. Retrieved 14 September 2016
Turkish Culture Portal. (n.d.). Tradition of circumcision.
Verit, A. (2003). Circumcision phenomenon in Turkey as a traditional country: from past to present.