Beliefs on Menstruation across Cultures
The scientific explanation behind menstruation is a well-known fact to anyone who studied 8th grade biology.
But, every culture and every religion have their own mythological explanations for the phenomenon. Most of these beliefs are fascinating, giving us a peek into how different cultures view menstruation, and some are quite intriguing!
Here is a list of six cultures across continents, and their beliefs on menstruation
- Aboriginal Australians
The natives of Australia believe in the “rainbow snake”, which is the spirit behind tides, lunar phenomena, menstruation and other such seasonal periodicities. The observation that human females ovulate over a 29.5 day cycle – very similar to the lunar cycle – led native Australians to believe that the moon was in some way responsible for the menstrual cycle of women.
- The Cherokee
- The Mayans
The Mayan people believed that menstruation originated as a punishment for being unfaithful, or disloyal to your marital partner. Menstrual blood would turn into snakes, insects and other creatures used in black magic. They also believed that menstruation was a result of bad luck, and a curse on the woman who committed adultery.
Believers of the Tao faith tell legends of how menstrual blood is the red dragon, and is the source of a woman’s energy. Semen, or the white dragon, is the male source of energy. Periods were seen as a phenomenon that drained women of their energy; and the Tao had methods of traditional alchemy and gynecology to reduce the bleeding to a pale yellow discharge, thus keeping the female energy in the body.
Which of these beliefs on menstruation did you find most fascinating? Tell us in the comments!