Monday, March 16, 2009

Father's Day: Huichol Indian Style

Lot's of talk today about the non-existent role of fathers in rearing their children and sociologists and social scientists abound with theories about why. It seems men are good at getting women pregnant, but not so hot about fathering them.
Following is something I read so long ago I don't even recall where about a Huichol indian ritual (a group native to the Sierra Madre Mountains in the Western-Central region of Mexico), performed at childbirth. I simply loved telling it to my students in discussions pertaining to family roles and culture.
It seems that when a wife began to feel labor pains, the husband would climb onto a wooden rafter in the house, sit with his legs dangling over the side, carefully tie a tight loop around his testicles with a long, thin cord, and toss the ends down to her on the floor below.
The woman would then grasp an end of the cord in each hand, and with every labor pain, YANK on it!! (Umph! Umph! Umph!) We can only hope she had a quick delivery.
The ritual was said to make better fathers since it gave the men a chance to share the pains and joys of childbirth with his wife.
Maybe if Americans were to incorporate this ritual into their lives, they might have less unwanted kids, or less deadbeat fathers, quien sabe?

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