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Assignment No. 02 for SOC401 Cultural Anthropology Due Date: August 11, 2014,,SEMESTER SPRING 2014

Assignment No. 02 for SOC401 Cultural Anthropology Due Date: August 11, 2014,,SEMESTER SPRING 2014

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Ancestor Worship: The premise of ancestor worship is based on understanding that the course of life is cyclical not linear. Those who are dead may not be seen physically, but are alive in a different world and/or can reincarnate in new births. Ancestor worship in various forms can be found in many parts of the world and is very strong in parts of Africa and Asia. Many Native Americans and Buddhists alike believe that the living co-exist with the dead. A central theme in all ancestor worship is that the lives of the dead may have supernatural powers over those in the living world – the ability to bless, curse, give or take life. In some cultures, worship of the dead is important, and includes making offerings of food, money, clothing, and blessings. In China there is the annual observance of “sweeping the graves” and as its name denotes, it is a time for people to tend the graves of the departed ones. In Mexico, there is The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), a holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died. The Day of the Dead is also celebrated by many Latin Americans living in the U.S. and Canada. The intent of the celebration is to encourage visits by the souls of the departed so that those souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed at them. It makes sense that in cultures where ancestor worship is common, the acceptance of organ donation and cremation may be low.

Buddhism and Hinduism: Hinduism does not have roots springing from a single scripture, founder or sacred place. It is more like an umbrella term describing a set of philosophies and ways of life. Buddhism has a single founder, but the Buddha is not prayed to in the same sense as a God or Allah. Buddhism is also a set of philosophies for living. There are marked differences between the two, or course, but in both death is not seen as the end of life; it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life. The spirit remains and will seek attachment to a new body and a new “life” – in Buddhism it is called a “kulpa,” which is a unit of time. Where a given person will be born again is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the result of karma. Followers of both traditions keep in mind the impermanence of life. The transition of a soul to a new life is very important so both traditions observe specific rituals at the time of dying and the handling of the body. The corpse of a Buddhist should not be touched for 3-8 hours after breathing ceases as the spirit lingers on for some time. Hindus believe the body of the dead must be bathed, massaged in oils, dressed in new clothes, and then cremated before the next sunrise. It follows that cremation would be acceptable in a faith where the soul will be released to find another body to inhabit


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