For many centuries, scientists, researchers, legendary philosophers and anthropologists examine the question of human relationships, identification and belonging. In this case, as in many others, the birth process is a fundamental and symbolic event, which continues the human existence from the physiological point of view. At the same time, the death, without any comparison, also occupies an important place in people’s lives. Various tribes and nations have formed a set of ideas about both constructing cultures and traditions around them. This essay examines the issue of the spiritual component of both processes due to the fact that in most cases a lot of tribes do not have the physiological differentiation of the kinship Therefore, the blood relatedness between father and son, or mother and daughter is not dominant in the concept of the “relative”. This work explores the point of view of the various cultures and the differences in the understanding of the kinship. Moreover, in the context, it examines the relationship between people in the process of birth and death of someone from the family circle.
The European tradition implies a mandatory blood kinship with the person who is called a “relative”; however, it is not the only single or correct tradition in the world. For instance, the tribes of Madagascar, described by Rita Astuti (100), have a broader view of the issue. Dadilahy, the head of the tribe Vezo, being in old age, was able to recall the impressive list of not only his children, but also all the relatives, which lived along the entire coast. It can be explained by the fact that the oldest man and the oldest woman of the tribe are the custodians of the pedigree and the practical embodiment of the family tree through which the remaining inhabitants orientate in the relatedness. The most surprising fact in such a phenomenal memory is that the mentioned by Dadilahy “children” were partly his nephews, that is, the children of his brothers and sisters. However, he did not focus on thisand did not dissemble when talked about it. Moreover, for the tribe Vezo, and in particular for Dadilahy, it was crucial to remember all of his relatives. The Vezo can be categorized as those tribes, which do not come into the incestuous marriages Thus, for the head of the tribe, the marriage was akin to “catch as many descendants as possible”. However, on the other hand, such an extension of the kinship has caused tribe fear that future descendants would not be able to find a couple to marry.
Also, one of the notable differences is that the people of the tribe became strangers to each other precisely when they contracted a marriage. Dadilahy explained it by saying that initially all people were the members of one family, and therefore, the formal wedding breaks this bond, and the brother and sister turn into the husband and wife. The death of the tribe head literally means the memory loss, related to the whole tribe, as well as the members’ confusion in the relatedness. Although Dadilahy’s death was followed by a festive ceremony, it was quite mournful event that foreshadowed the inevitable incest.
The Indians of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Huaorani, demonstrate a slightly different approach in relation to the kinship. The process of the incest is not a part of their culture, but they consider the newborn as a guest. Accordingly, the rite called the “couvade” (Rival 620) can be viewed as the preparation for “the arrival of guests”. The ceremony implies the full involvement of the child’s father in the process of not only birth, but before and after birth period. The parents should adhere to a particular diet throughout the pregnancy, which often means the full rejection of meat and fish products, in rare cases – the transition to only vegetable food. It is justified by the strengthening of the spirit and the body of the future child. If the husband has several wives, all of them keep the similar fast . In addition, the family performs a number of traditional rites, such as adoption of tinctures, shaman dances and so on.
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During the couvade, the majority of family members, including future grandparents, other wives and siblings, should observe the process of the birth. In contrast to the feminist movement, which began to present this process as an act of the reproduction and the use of female body as an instrument, the tribe of Amazonian Indians believes that the birth is the act of creation of the most favorable conditions for the adoption of a guest.
The tribe Vezo has perceived death as the loss of the ancestral memory. The Indians of the Amazon consider it in the terms of the transition to a different state, i.e. the kinship with the deceased remains as strong as when they were alive. It is a rather interesting finding; as a matter of a fact, it gives the understanding that people in the tribe have a limitless number of relatives. From the perspective of a closer culture, Egyptians have more acute and, in some ways, more intimate attitude towards death. The conflict that happened in the area of ophthalmology raised a number of spiritual and religious issues that relate to the genuine roots of all Egyptians (Hamdy 167). The desecration of the body of the deceased is called haram. It has in its foundation not just only moral prejudice, but the loss of the bond with the deceased, whose strength is not inferior to the similar one of the tribes from the Amazon.
Thus, it is necessary to say that the processes of the birth and death have the multifaceted base and, consequently, cause the appropriate responses from parts of different cultures. This essay has studied it from the point of view of Madagascar tribe Vezo, Amazonian tribes and the Egyptian culture. All three cases have shown the astonishing spiritual filling of the processes, indicating and proving that the kinship has not only a physiological foundation.