Different cultures have different ways of treating menstruation, and reading Narayani Ganesh's recollection of her mother's "monthly three-day vacation" in the Times Of India makes having your period sound awesome. "She would read magazines and novels in a supine position, her head resting on a block of wood fashioned like a pillow," writes Ganesh. "[She] looked so relaxed, unhurried and undisturbed. She wouldn’t take part in household activities nor go out shopping or attending functions."Ganesh goes on to explain that her family, like many others, "has long since discontinued with the seclusion tradition as archaic and regressive." While I'm sure we can agree that the mandatory isolation of a menstruating woman is a no-good thing, doesn't this "three-day vacation" idea sound rather appealing? One interesting thing about India is that menstruation is part of the Hindu religion. Writes Ganesh: "Ancient tradition revered the Sacred Feminine, and regarded the menstrual flow as affirmation of life. At Assam’s Kamakhya Temple — one of the nine Shakti Peeths — the annual Ambubachi Mela celebrates the Sacred Feminine in the Devi’s annual menstrual flow. The spring water from the Yoni — symbolising the power of procreation — and pieces of red cloth are distributed as prasad (gifts)." And the idea of period blood as some kind of "gift" isn't really that far off: Ganesh asks, "What would my grandmother — if she were alive today — have to say about recent medical research that finds menstrual blood to be rich in stem cells?" Thinking of the period as something divine, instead of unclean, makes even more sense now that scientists have revealed that culling stem cells from menstrual blood could be easier than mining bone marrow. But while it's great that we have put (most) taboos and superstitions behind us, for some reason this relaxing, three-day break for the flow still sounds like a good idea. Or am I the only one? Sacred Feminine: The Divine Flow [Times Of India]
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