The article Body Ritual among the Naricema was indeed strange. To read about the American hygiene practices from this magical / ritual perspective was disturbing yet interesting and funny at the same time. The author examines a part of the American culture the way an American would judge another culture: it is loaded with ethnocentrism. The point of the article is for the reader to realize that we must apply cultural relativism to our judgment of other cultures in order to understand them better, since it is easy to misinterpret any culture without taking a closer look from the given culture’s own standards.
Since our world view is shaped by the values and norms of our own culture, it determines the way we perceive and inform our perception of people from other cultures. For example, I grew up partially in Germany and partially in Serbia until I was 21. When I moved to the United States, several cultural practices were strange to me: tipping servers, baby showers , black friday, the use of the imperial system of measurments (ounches, feet and farenheit) and many more.
The Serbian culture has several practices that may be odd to others, but for this thread I will chose one: the “Slava”. Once a year, every family in Serbia celebrates their own Saint. The biggest number of Serbs celebrate Saint Nikola but there are many more Saints celebrated by other families. If the Saint’s day is on Friday, Wednesday, or during the Christmas or Easter feast, then all the food that is served needs to be without meat (fish is allowed). Slava should be carried out in peace and with positive thoughts and most people also drink heavily on this occasion (even though traditionally this is a religious celebration and alcohol should not be consumed, but only highly religious families adhere to this rule).