After spending months living among the people of the Nacirema culture, I feel it necessary to report some of my observations. The Nacirema people have been generous with letting me participate in their culture events and I’ve tried to participate in all their rituals, however; one ceremony in particular was just too bizarre for me to join in. It seems the people of this culture find it quite normal to take part in the sacred ceremony referred to as sevird doolb.
I’ve been told this ceremony takes place several times a year. On the day of the sevird doolb, the people of the tribe take turns coming to the center of the village. When they arrive, they are given a number of tablets that they have to read before the ceremony can continue. They tell me that these tablets are always the same, but they still must complete this vital first step before moving on. Some people cannot read the tablets well enough, so they are sent back home and can try to advance to the second stage at the next sevird doolb.
Those that are lucky enough to make it past the tablet reading then wait nervously until they are called to continue with the ceremony. At the next stage, they are questioned extensively by the medicine man in order to insure they are in good enough shape to go on with the rest of the ritual. The people deemed physically fit by the medicine man then enter the chamber where the ritual will actually take place. They are told to sit on hard mats and wait for the medicine man to come to them. He sits down next to the people and ties a rubber thread tightly around their arm. The people tell me this thread is tied so tight that it feels like their arm might fall off and some people’s arms even start to turn purple. He then takes a sharp metal rod and sticks it deep into their arms. I imagine this part must hurt because many of the people cringed at this time. Once the rod is in their arm, the red liquid of life starts flowing out. The medicine man catches all this liquid by connecting a clear pouch to the rod. He takes a large amount of the red liquid out. He took so much out of one person that I was nervous they would not survive. After he is satisfied with the amount of liquid he has, he takes the rod out and the liquid stops flowing.
I watched as the people came out of this chamber and I was surprised to see the great number of people that looked pale and weak. I asked several of them why they submit themselves to this punishment. They all agreed that this ritual makes them feel better about themselves.