Part of this is due to design in the world which is often right-hand biased. Lack of knowledge about social customs within African cultures can make even the best-intentioned person seem rude. why the left hand is unclean. If you are eating from a communal tagine, eat with your right hand only. The left hand is considered unclean because in all Arab cultures, the left hand is used for cleaning oneself after going to the bathroom. Targum Jonathan, however, translates "iṭṭer yad yemin" (left-handed) as "open-handed," that is, ambidextrous, as it is evident that the Benjamites were armed with bows and could use both the right hand and the left hand in shooting arrows from a bow (I Chron. In medieval Europe people ate like that too. There is a saying that when you swear with you left hand you do not intend to keep the oath. Never point with your chopstick, suck on it or beat it against the edge of your bowl, either – the latter implies you’re literally begging for food. We all have two hands. This constant exposure to "uncleanness", even after washing, leaves a mental stigma against the left hand. It’s also considered generally impure. If you drop a baht note in Thailand, it’s best to let it drift away – stand on it to pick it up, and you’ll cause huge offence to the people around you (it’s not unheard of to get yelled at). The left hand is considered ‘unclean' since it is the hand people generally use for washing themselves. Wikimedia CommonsThe Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. I fail to understand why the left hand is considered so inauspicious although it is very much an important part of our body. save. Bias against left-handed people is bias or design that is usually unfavorable against people who are left-handed. It’s not the most offensive thing you can do, but you’ll certainly be taken for a snob. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. 16-21). Lane wrote in his 1836 book, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, “It is a rule with the Muslims to honor the right hand above the left: to use the right hand for all honorable purposes, and the left for actions which, though necessary, are unclean.”. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. In many places, it is also considered polite to leave a bit of food on one’s plate. Left-handedness was not always exclusively associated with wrongdoing; its characterization as “good” or “bad” shifted to correspond with dominant social mores. The Greeks presented men and women as opposite pairs, with men representing the right and women representing the left. Throughout history, it was common practice to use the left hand in the restroom to clean oneself, keeping the right hand sanitary for shaking hands and eating. India, Burma and more: Wearing sleeveless tops. In Indian culture, the left hand is considered unclean because it is the hand used when going to the bathroom, for cleaning one’s feet and other “dirty” activities. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the “left-hand side” being associated with evil. As far back as the Zohar, a foundational text of Jewish mysticism, Judeo-Christian religions attributed the left with femininity and inferiority, as Eve appeared on and developed from Adam’s left side. The warrior held the bow in his left hand and the arrows in his right (Ezek. Can we imagine a body or life without the left hand? The same sentiments regarding the relationship between sidedness and virtue have been documented in certain African and Middle Eastern cultures as well. Show activity on this post. Even in english, we have left and right, which implies that left is wrong. If you’re left-handed and visiting places like India, Nepal and the Middle East, you may have to pretend to be ambidextrous – it’s incredibly rude to eat, pick anything up or hand over money with your left. This thought translated to action, and as author Melissa Roth writes, for centuries “fathers-to-be went so far as to tie off one testicle in an attempt to choose the sex of their offspring.”. The left hand is considered 'unclean'- before toilet paper people wiped with their left hand. Conversely, the feet are the least sacred part of the body – take your shoes off before entering someone’s home or a temple, and always sit without your feet pointing towards anyone else. Close. It’s not so much that you’ll offend a Russian by smiling at them, but don’t be offended when they don’t smile back. It has been 40 years, have stayed in 17 different cities for varying lengths of time, and no one has as yet objected, so stop worrying. There is a general distinction between northern and southern Indian food. Similar norms — right, good; left, bad — appear in Jewish writings. Not that you should really be patting anyone on the head anyway, but resist the temptation to ruffle that cute child’s hair – in Buddhist countries, the head is the most sacred part of the body, so you shouldn’t be putting your mitts on anyone else’s.
2020 why is the left hand considered unclean