Monday, July 27, 2020

Cultures Where Farting is Acceptable and Encouraged

There are certain cultural practices peculiar to every tribe that would elicit a puzzled reaction from an outsider. 






For instance, in Tiv culture, it is customary for a husband to let his wife spend a night with his male guest. I don't know if this culture is still practiced. In certain parts of Yoruba land, if someone farts, it is akin to them hurting themselves and if it is done in public, those around are supposed to console the farter ( I coined this word). Odd, right? An incident happened some years back that still leaves me wondering if an outsider would find certain cultural practices of my tribe repulsive.

When I was 10-years old, my friend, Abu, and I went to visit a mutual friend, Jamiu. The visit was occasioned by a football match we had agreed  to play with kids from the next block. Jamiu, our star player, was conspicuously absent so our captain delegated two of us to go and fetch him.

We went to Jamiu's house and met them having lunch, Amala and stew made with chinge( termite). That was their delicacy so we weren't surprised at the combo. They offered us food but we declined. We stated our mission and since he was almost done with his food, he told us to wait.

All of a sudden, we heard a thunderous sound. The walls vibrated and I can swear I felt an earth  tremor. Guess where the sound emanated from? It came from Jamiu's dad! The man unashamedly farted! No sooner had he farted than the entire family started saying, "Pele, Sir! Pele, Sir! Pele Sir! Pele, Sir!" In the Yoruba language "Pele" means "Sorry".

An overpowering stench permeated the room. I was nauseous and I felt choked. It was as if I was in a gas chamber. While I was disgusted and beside myself with rage, Abu's reaction was that of confusion, amusement and disbelief. He started to giggle. When I saw him giggling, my disgust gave way to amusement and I almost burst into laughter but I managed to stifle it.

Mama Jamiu looked at us angrily and said," Won't you say sorry? Don't you have home training?" We said sorry to Baba Jamiu multiple times in quick succession. In fact, Abu and I tried to outdo each other in saying sorry, just to prove that we had home training.

The smell that enveloped the room was suffocating. Just imagine the stench caused by the putrid smell of a carcass, the pungent smell of rotten eggs and stew made with termite. That was how bad the odour was and a miasma hung in the room until we left. If there were an infant in the room, I have no doubt that it would have choked to death.

In their culture, breaking wind, another word for farting, is seen as perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. In another culture, it is mortifying and considered an antisocial behaviour.

Are there cultural practices peculiar to your tribe that you think an outsider would frown upon? Have your say in the comment section.



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