Religious Food Taboos
it is an epitome of diversity in culture and ethnicity. Religious food taboos act as prohibition and regulators of certain food habits. Each religion holds distinct views regarding their prohibited food. The essay focusses on the concept of subject control within ideological structures that are portrayed by these food taboos. Religious food taboos have been universal since time in memorial. In this context, the taboo foods are restricted not because they are harmful or cause adverse effects on people’s health, but instead, there is a and ideological power behind it. It is a form of identity that pushes certain communities and religious groups to declare specific foods as taboos (Meyer-Rochow). Moreover, in discussing this idea of food taboos in different religions, it is prudent to study the origin of the ideologies which in turn provide an understanding of distinct religions have different taboos.
In Islam for instance, they refer to forbidden items and activities as haram, raising the debate between halal and haram (Titov). One of the common haram food in Islam is pork. In Islam, religious food taboos are mainly driven by three factors; Sanitation issues, other forms of religious activities and their historical traditions (Onditi). Elsewhere, Buddhism has its food taboos that mainly prohibit the consumption of specific meat food. Buddhism is believed to have originated from Nepal and has spread to several countries over the years to the extent of being the min religion in some countries. This spread led to the emergence of two major branches; Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism (Onuorah, and Ayo). Even though both are forms of Buddhism, they have different food taboos.
The reason why eating both horse and elephant meat is a taboo is because their rulers use the animals. It is, therefore, a sign of respect to the leaders. Naga gods will be offended when people consume serpent meat; this is according to their teaching (Onuorah, and Ayo). Further, dog meat is prohibited because its consumption is believed to lessen their demeanor in the eyes of the “people standing” (Onuorah, and Ayo). Generally, Buddhism promotes vegetarianism due to the strong beliefs in reincarnation. Work Cited Meyer-Rochow, Victor Benno. "Food taboos: their origins and purposes. " Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 5. Onditi, Tom Oluoch. "Language attrition and loss of indigenous knowledge: The twin sisters of environmental degradation in Kenya. "Analysis Of Taboos As A Basic Principle Of Religious Beliefs In The Context Of Modern Religious Studies.
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