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Taboos: Eat no pickle, touch no pickle?

Pari Saikia/ | New Delhi |


Revered as the land of devis (Goddesses) by saints, believers and thinkers of Hinduism, India is known for female deities and goddesses being worshiped on its soil. For wealth and knowledge, child and peace, Indians are accustomed to offering gratitude and prayers to female deities and goddesses irrespective of caste and cultures.

The situation in real life, however, is conflicting when it comes to actively involving women in many areas.

The case in some parts of India, is even worse when a girl attains her adolescence with the onset of menstruation. Menstruation or periods is considered ‘impure’ by certain section of the society in the country.

Based on a personal interaction with several women, who voiced their pain over dos and don’ts they are forced to follow during menstruation, here are four common myths imposed on girls.

1. Do not touch

The ‘Do Not Touch’ tag comes immediately when a girl is menstruating. She turns into an alien for her own people until she completes her cycle. You are forbidden from touching food items, religious materials, eating Prasad and even sitting on chair, (don’t roam around at all if possible!), You can’t even touch animals and other humans ( you will make them infertile). Sigh!

2. Do not enter

Remember! If you enter these highly sensitive and restricted places you are bound to bring bad luck not only to yourself, family or family members but might even end up upsetting one or two deities. These highly restricted places are kitchens and temples. They are the sacred, clean and the most hygienic places on earth. So, stepping inside will spark off storms or every possible natural calamity (Kidding).

3. Eat no pickle, touch no pickle

This one truly sounds ridiculous. Elders say that touching upon pickles or even a bottle of pickles during menstruation will turn the items rotten as the girls are considered as a pollutant during her period cycle. And on eating them, a girl might lose her fertility for lifetime.

4. Say no to sanitary napkins

According to some age-old concept and belief, girls should avoid using sanitary napkins during her periods as they are considered unhealthy and unhygienic. It is the stern misconception among conservative minds that sanitary napkins bear hazardous chemicals. Other reasons like sanitary napkins are not affordable and ‘shame stigma’ attached to it. 56 per cent of adolescent girls still use pieces of clothes (satin or cotton) as pad over sanitary napkins.