All you ladies out there just be cautious as the devil of blood is right here every month and be prepared for peek-a-boo. Get set to stay away from the kitchen to temple to any pious work as its time to stay aloof and feel deplorable about yourself. “You are not allowed in social gatherings, stay away from here…You are impure!!” As soon as something like this pops up, it fills us with thousands of questions within us. We are compelled to consider ourselves impure and most of us simply accept it rather than discovering the rational point behind it.
According to the scientific definition, “Menstruation cycle refers to the cyclic, physiological discharge through the vagina of blood and mucosal tissues from the non-pregnant uterus; it is under hormonal control and normally recurs, usually at four week intervals, in the absence of pregnancy during reproductive period of the females”.
So this is a natural process which is essential for the female body and I don’t think that there is anything to be ashamed about, in accepting your body hormonal changes. During these 5 to 7 days, there are numerous myths and superstitions which are yelled upon you and probably few of them are quite funny and unreasonable.
Relation between Menstruation and Moon:
It is believed that the lunar cycle of moon and menstruation cycle are connected as in ancient times females used to menstruate as per the cycle of new moon to full moon. In fact the first calendars were based on the moon cycles and menstrual cycles. The lengths of both the cycles are approximately the same i.e. nearly 28 or 29 days. Scientists have also proven that the exposure to moon light during these days cause certain changes in the body and the menstrual cycle is also influenced by the moonlight.
Do not enter Temples or attend religious gatherings:
Women are restricted to enter the holy places and even today this myth is carried out in our society. Most of the temples and religious places have placed a large board outside, “Menstruating women are not allowed to enter”. On observing it carefully I wonder that how am I so unclean and what has my periods got to do with worshiping. So the basis behind this statement is that all the religious practices emit energy in the environment which directly affects our human body. During this period the female body is already releasing high amount of energy so she is advised to remain away from temples so that her natural energy release is not disturbed.
Do not touch the Pickle:
Girls are often told to stay away from touching the pickle as she is considered impure and her touch may spoil it. Seriously, can you beat that! Till today I had only heard that food get spoilt because of bacterial or fungal action but it can also get spoilt by my touch, strange myth. During ancient days this myth was strictly followed on the same pace as Brahmins avoided the shadow and touch of untouchables, similarly the touch of menstruating lady was avoided. Her touch was considered unfit so anything touched by her was not fit for consumption. As pickle often needs extra care and it gets spoilt by change in temperatures so our elders tried to blame ladies for it rather than the temperature change.
Do not enter the kitchen or cook food:
The idea of not entering the kitchen is much more prevalent in the hard core Hindu society. Apart from considering this period as a sin, the basic reason behind this ritual makes true sense. During menstruation period, the females are continuously releasing energy and turn weak and feeble. They are also prone to infections as they are sensitive and their menstrual waste is also unhygienic. Thus females are advised to rest for preventing the chance of infection through food and water and maximum rest is required for her body.
Do not wash your hairs:
When our elders scolded us for washing our hairs during menstruation period it sounded so funny to us. Now when I discover an acceptable logic behind it, this myth seems reasonable. As our body is weak during this period, extra energy is wasted while washing our hairs. As our vagina is exposed for a longer period of time during hair wash, there are also chances of infection from the dust in the environment and vice versa. Another reason for it is that the flow of blood reduces when it comes in contact with clean water, which is not advisable. Thus washing of hairs should be avoided for the first three days, at least.
Menstruation is a sin, therefore painful:
Ever heard anyone saying, “You are paying for your sins, your menstruation pain is a curse upon you”? Sounds weird! In earlier days people used to believe that menstruation is a curse and the pain varies according to your evil deeds. This is just a mere superstition and menstrual cramps are natural, it has nothing to do with your karmas. The blood flowing out of the uterus is thick with clots or lumps, so it becomes difficult for regular smooth flow. During first two days, the thick blood leads to rhythmic contractions in the body which causes cramps in the abdomen and backache. So from the third day onwards the blood flow becomes thinner and easier to release.
So India being a highly religious country, we value our traditions and norms but please raise your voice against the unreasonable myths and stop accepting the ideas as the way they are imposed upon you. Every idea has a rational behind it and the next time somebody instructs you during menstruation period, just let them know the logic or ask reason from them.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja