Menstruation and Religious Taboos
Menstruation is a natural female process which involves shedding of the uterine wall in the absence of fertilization. This sacred bodily function has brought about varied religious beliefs around the globe. In most religions it was a taboo to have sex while the woman was on her menstrual period. Also I woman couldn't take part in religious activities during her period since she was considered unclean. Let's take a more detailed look at some of the menstruation taboos from various religions from across the globe.
Christianity and Menstruation
Christianity produced mixed reactions regarding the treatment of women during their monthly bleeding. Some held that the religious laws as stipulated in the Old Testament should be upheld. The Old Testament says that a woman is unclean during her menses; she was not supposed to have sex with her husband and was also not even allowed to be seen in public. Moreover, whatever she sat on or touched was considered unclean for seven days. The woman herself was given seven days after her menstrual period to bring to the priest two turtle doves and two young pigeons for the cleansing ritual. However, this did not hold in the new testament considering that Jesus allowed Himself to be touched by a woman who was considered unclean for many years since her blood flow wouldn’t stop.
Hinduism and Periods
Likewise, in the Hindu religion women were considered unclean during their monthly menses. There were several rules and regulations they were to follow. They were not allowed in the kitchen and even the temple, they were neither allowed to have sex, touch anyone, wear flowers nor talk in loud voices. On top of that, they were forbidden from mounting horses, oxen, elephants and driving vehicles. The fact that they were seen as unclean often shamed women to stay away from their families for the entire menstrual period.
How Menstruation is viewed by Islam
During the menses, women are excluded from religious activities such as praying, fasting and circumambulating the Kaaba since it is in accordance with the law of blood uncleanliness. She was also not supposed to have sex with her husband.
Views Regarding Periods in Judaism
Jews in the past held similar taboos to Christians though the degree of how strictly they held to such views depended on whether they were of the conservatism school of thought or of the orthodoxy school of thought.
Thankfully in our modern day many of these taboos are not there anymore. Given that there are various ways of ensuring that the public does not have to know that a woman is on her period. Especially with the advent of period panties. These are special panties designed to wick away moisture from your body and protect your clothes from any accidental stains. Because of this and other menstrual protection such as sanitary napkins and tampons, women have become empowered and can be actively involved in religious activities without being condemned. After all, menstruation plays a vital role in bringing forth new life into the world. So it would be seen as unfair that this completely natural process gets women locked out of religious activities.