Applying Anthropology and Telling Stories

Applying Anthropology and Telling Stories


The study of cultural societies has led anthropologists into less astonishing scenarios as to how far people can go as far as practicing cultural rituals is concerned. In this case, I focus on the Nacirema people and their extremities in terms of cultural believes in their day to day lives. The Naciremas are  North American natives with a very brief and less precise history of their origin and culture (Kaspin, 2017). They are hardworking people as they spend a significant amount of time doing economic practices, but despite all these, their central practices are cultural rituals that they practiced on a daily basis with regular assistance from magical practitioners, medicine men, holy-mouth-men and listeners. These daily based rituals are performed to avert certain beliefs that they have adopted towards the human body as being characterized by weakness and fragility. They believe that these daily rituals are the only hope left for them to lead a normal life.

The rituals are performed in shrines that have been constructed in their houses, in which some of the houses has more than just one , and this is what distinguishes the rich from the poor. Despite the shrines being in the homes, the rituals performed are usually done in almost secrecy as they do not involve the entire family. Inside the houses, there is a compartment that is subjected to the storage of charms as well as magical portions crafted by medicine men and herbalists, that the Naciremas believe their survival would be doomed without them. The charms are usually not disposed of after use but kept in the compartments to heal certain illnesses which may present themselves in the future. Just below the charm box, a small water font exists where each family member performs a daily rite of passage by bowing to the water font, mixing a variety of holy waters and finally doing a short ablution, with these sacred waters that are sourced from the temple with priests whose responsibilities are to purify the water. They also perform a mouth ritual where they believe that the has a supernatural effect on influencing social relationships. They believe that failure to practice the ritual can lead to loss of teeth, shrinking of the jaws, as well as loss of friends and rejection from their lovers. All the ritual performed daily by the maintenance are believed to have a purpose, and that is ablution which cannot be taken for granted.

In this current century, technology and modernity have influenced people’s behavior and how they relate with each other. In my tribe, we connect in ways that promote coexistence and friendly relationships with each other. However, close touch has declined with the introduction of smartphones which has brought both positivity and negativity results — as per my daily routines, being an introvert has affected how I relate with people, especially strangers. Despite having friends, I prefer spending time alone, and this may be seen as unusual. Taking into consideration the number of cultures in existence, it is only reasonable for another person who is not of your tribe or ethnicity to spot a certain unusualness in me. For instance, as a Muslim, praying every day may be perceived as unusual by a person who only attends church on Sundays. This is something that I find reasonable for me, but to others, it may appear as something exciting or unusual to someone else.


A people’s way of life defines who they are, and it is only right to respect their culture and not criticize their actions. The Naciremas have their idea of maintaining touch with their culture and despite how extreme it might seem they are comfortable with what they practice. Hence, culture is all about what makes you feel at home and what gives you a sense of belonging (Hertler, 2018). Religion has also contributed to people familiarizing themselves with their origin and what it entailed.


Delaney, C., & Kaspin, D. (2017). Investigating Culture: An experiential introduction to anthropology. John Wiley & Sons.

Hertler, S. C., Figueredo, A. J., Peñaherrera-Aguirre, M., & Fernandes, H. B. (2018). George Peter Murdock: Stemming the Tide of Sterility with an Atlas of World Cultures. In Life History Evolution (pp. 183-196). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.