HOME

TheInfoList




A taboo is an implicit prohibition on something (usually against an utterance or behavior) based on a cultural sense that it is excessively repulsive or, perhaps, too sacred for ordinary people.''Encyclopædia Britannica Online''.
Taboo
. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Retrieved 21 Mar. 2012
Such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies. On a comparative basis, taboos, for example related to food items, might make no sense at all to many, but may be explicitly prohibited for others by
custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm) A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom. In a social context, a convention ma ...
or
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
. Taboos are often meant to protect the human individual, but there are numerous other reasons for their existence. An ecological or medical background is apparent in many, including some that are seen as religious or spiritual in origin. Taboos can help use a resource more efficiently, but when applied to only a subsection of the community they can also serve to suppress said subsection of the
community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense of place (geography), plac ...

community
. A taboo acknowledged by a particular group or
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understa ...

tribe
as part of their ways aids in the cohesion of the group, helps that particular group to stand out and maintain its identity in the face of others and therefore creates a feeling of "belonging". The meaning of the word "taboo" has been somewhat expanded in the
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
s to strong prohibitions relating to any area of human activity or custom that is sacred or forbidden based on
moral judgmentMoral reasoning is a study in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic ...

moral judgment
, religious beliefs, or cultural
norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy), a standard in normative ethics that is prescriptive rather than a descriptive or explanato ...
. This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under th
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)
license.
"Breaking a taboo" is usually considered objectionable by society in general, not merely a subset of a culture.


Etymology

The term "taboo" comes from the Tongan '' tapu'' or Fijian ''tabu'' ("prohibited", "disallowed", "forbidden"), related among others to the Māori ''tapu'' and
Hawaiian Hawaiian may refer to: * Hawaii state residents, regardless of ancestry * Native Hawaiians, the current term for the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants * Hawaiian language Historic uses * things and people of the Kingdo ...
''kapu''. Its English use dates to 1777 when the British explorer
James Cook Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a milit ...

James Cook
visited
Tonga Tonga (, ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; ...

Tonga
, and referred to the
Tongans } Tongans, a Polynesian group, represent more than 98% of the inhabitants of Tonga Tonga (; Tongan language, Tongan: ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga (Tongan language, Tongan: ''Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga''), is a Polynesian coun ...
' use of the term "taboo" for "any thing that is forbidden to be eaten, or made use of". He wrote: The term was translated to him as "consecrated, inviolable, forbidden, unclean or cursed". ''Tabu'' itself has been derived from alleged Tongan
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical itemIn lexicography, a lexical item (or lexical unit / LU, lexical entry) is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words ( catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon A ...
s ''ta'' ("mark") and ''bu'' ("especially"), but this may be a
folk etymology Folk etymology (also known as popular etymology, analogical reformation, reanalysis, morphological reanalysis or etymological reinterpretation) is a change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familia ...
(Tongan does not actually have a
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
/b/), and ''tapu'' is usually treated as a unitary, non-
compound Compound may refer to: Architecture and built environments * Compound (enclosure), a cluster of buildings having a shared purpose, usually inside a fence or wall ** Compound (fortification), a version of the above fortified with defensive structu ...
word inherited from
Proto-Polynesian Proto-Polynesian (abbreviated PPn) is the hypothetical proto-language from which all the modern Polynesian languages descend. It is a daughter language of the Proto-Austronesian language. historical linguistics, Historical linguists have reconstruc ...
*''tapu'', in turn inherited from
Proto-Oceanic Proto-Oceanic (abbr. ''POc'') is a proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of his ...
*''tabu'', with the
reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
meaning "sacred, forbidden". In its current use on Tonga, the word ''tapu'' means "sacred" or "holy", often in the sense of being restricted or protected by custom or law. On the main island, the word is often appended to the end of "Tonga" as ''Tongatapu'', here meaning "Sacred South" rather than "Forbidden South".


Examples

Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine M ...

Sigmund Freud
speculated that
incest Incest ( ) is between family members or close . This typically includes sexual activity between people in (blood relations), and sometimes those related by ( or ), adoption, or . The is one of the most widespread of all cultural s, both in ...
and
patricide Patricide is (i) the act of killing one's own father, or (ii) a person who kills their own father or stepfather. The word ''patricide'' derives from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece ...
were the only two universal taboos and formed the basis of civilization. However, although
cannibalism Cannibalism is the act of consuming another individual of the same species as food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and cont ...

cannibalism
, in-group
murder Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification (jurisprudence), justification or valid excuse (legal), excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. ("The killing of another person w ...

murder
, and
incest Incest ( ) is between family members or close . This typically includes sexual activity between people in (blood relations), and sometimes those related by ( or ), adoption, or . The is one of the most widespread of all cultural s, both in ...
are taboo in the majority of societies, exceptions can be found, such as marriages between brothers and sisters in
Roman Egypt , conventional_long_name = Roman Egypt , common_name = Egypt , subdivision = Roman province, Province , nation = the Roman Empire , era = Late antiquity , capital = Alexandria , title_leader = Praefectus Augustalis , image_ ...

Roman Egypt
. Modern Western societies, however, do not condone such relationships. These familial sexual activities are criminalised, even if all parties are consenting adults. Through an analysis of the language surrounding
these laws These may refer to: *the plural proximal demonstrative in English *These, a variation of the Greek Theseus in Etruscan mythology {{Disambig Etruscan mythology ...

these laws
, it can be seen how the policy makers, and society as a whole, find these acts to be immoral. Common taboos involve restrictions or ritual regulation of killing and hunting; sex and sexual relationships; reproduction; the
dead (1906) Death is the permanent, Irreversible process, irreversible Irreversible may refer to: *Irreversible process, in thermodynamics, a process that is not reversible *''Irréversible'', a 2002 film *Irréversible (soundtrack), ''Irréve ...
and their graves; as well as food and dining (primarily cannibalism and
dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitions constitute taboos. Many food taboos and other prohibitions forbid the meat o ...
such as
vegetarianism Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exc ...
, ''
kashrut ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
'', and ''
halal ''Halal'' (; ar, حلال, ); is an Arabic word that translates to "permissible" in English. In the Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن, translit=al-Qurʼān, lit=the recitation, ), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central rel ...

halal
'') or religious (
treif ''Kashrut'' (also ''kashruth'' or ''kashrus'', ) is a set of dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitio ...
and
haram ''Haram'' (; ar, حَرَام, , ) is an Arabic term meaning ‘forbidden’. This may refer to: either something sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A deity or god is ...

haram
). In
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mal ...

Madagascar
, a strong code of taboos, known as '' fady'', constantly change and are formed from new experiences. Each region, village or tribe may have its own ''fady''. The word "taboo" gained popularity at times, with some scholars looking for ways to apply it where other English words had previously been applied. For example, J. M. Powis Smith, in his book ''The American Bible'' (editor's preface 1927), used "taboo" occasionally in relation to Israel's
Tabernacle According to the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; : , or ), is the of scriptures, including the , the , and the . These texts are almost exclusively in , with a few passages in (in the books of and , the verse 10:11, and som ...

Tabernacle
and ceremonial laws, including , ; ; , , and .
Albert Schweitzer Ludwig Philipp Albert Schweitzer (; 14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was an Alsace, Alsatian polymath. He was a theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular ...

Albert Schweitzer
wrote a chapter about taboos of the people of Gabon. As an example, it was considered a misfortune for twins to be born, and they would be subject to many rules not incumbent on other people.


In religion and mythology

According to
Joseph Campbell Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work covers many aspects of the human experience. ...
, taboos are used in religion and mythology to
test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment), an educational assessment intended to measure the respondents' knowledge or other abilities Arts and entertainment * Test (2013 film), ''Test'' (2013 film), an American film * Test ( ...
a person's ability to withhold from violating a prohibition given to them. Should one fail the test and violate a taboo, they would be subsequently punished or will face the consequences of their actions. It is important to note, however, that taboos are not societal prohibitions (such as incest); rather, the use of "taboo" in these stories relates to its original meaning of "prohibition": for example, a character could be prohibited from looking, eating, and speaking or uttering a certain word.


Greek mythology

An example of an eating taboo in Greek mythology could be found in the tale of the
rape of Persephone The Rape of Persephone, or Abduction of Persephone, is a classical mythological subject in Western art, depicting the abduction Abduction may refer to: Of a person or people * Alien abduction, memories of being taken by apparently nonhuman ent ...
.
Hades Hades (; grc-gre, ᾍδης, Háidēs; ), in the ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public ...

Hades
, who had fallen in love with
Persephone In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature ...

Persephone
and wished to make her his queen, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted Persephone as she was gathering flowers in a field. When
Demeter In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and Cult (religious practice), cult ...

Demeter
, Persephone's mother, finds out of her daughter's abduction, she forbids the earth to produce (or she neglects the earth) and, in the depth of her despair, causes nothing to grow.
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
, pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...
who also heard their anguish, forced Hades to return Persephone. However, it was explained to Demeter that Persephone would be released, so long as she did not taste the food of the dead. Hades complies with the request to return Persephone to Demeter, but first, he tricks Persephone, forcing her to break the eating taboo by giving her some
pomegranate The pomegranate (''Punica granatum'') is a fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who speci ...

pomegranate
seeds to eat. In other interpretations, Persephone is seen eating the pomegranate seeds as a result of temptation or hunger. In the end, Hermes is sent to retrieve her but, because she had tasted the food of the underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year (the winter months) there, and the remaining part of the year with the gods above. With the later writers Ovid and Hyginus, Persephone's time in the underworld becomes half the year. The most notable looking taboo in Greek myth can be found in the story of
Orpheus and Eurydice The ancient legend of Orpheus and Eurydice (, ''Orpheus, Eurydikē'') concerns the fateful love of Orpheus of Thrace Map of Ancient Thrace made by Abraham Ortelius in 1585, stating both the names Thrace and Europe. Thrace (; el, Θρά ...
.
Orpheus Orpheus (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancie ...

Orpheus
, the son of
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...

Apollo
, was well-renowned as a legendary musician whose music could move anything and everything, living or not, in the world. While walking among her people in tall grass at her wedding,
Eurydice Eurydice (; Ancient Greek: Εὐρυδίκη 'wide justice') was a character in Greek mythology and the Auloniad wife of Orpheus, who tried to bring her back from the dead with his enchanting music. Etymology Several meanings for the name ' ...
was set upon by a
satyr In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...

satyr
. In her efforts to escape the satyr, Eurydice fell into a nest of vipers and suffered a fatal bite on her heel. Her body was discovered by Orpheus who, overcome with grief, played such sad and mournful songs that all the humans,
nymphs A nymph ( grc, νύμφη, nýmphē, el, script=Latn, nímfi, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Gree ...
, and
gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...

gods
learnt about his sorrow and grief and wept with him. On the gods' advice, Orpheus traveled to the
Underworld upThe legs of the god seven_realms_of_the_Hindus.html" "title="Patala#Hinduism.html" "title="Cosmic_Man.html" ;"title="Vishnu as the Cosmic Man">Vishnu as the Cosmic Man depict earth and the Patala#Hinduism">seven realms of the Hindus">Hind ...
wherein his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth on one condition: he should guide her out and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. As he reached the upper world, Orpheus looked back toward Eurydice in his eagerness to reunite with her, tragically forgetting about the looking taboo given to him by Hades, and since Eurydice had not crossed into the upper world, she vanishes back into the Underworld, this time forever. A speaking taboo in Greek myth can be found in the story of the
Anchises Anchises (; grc-gre, Ἀγχίσης, Ankhísēs) was a member of the royal family of Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, s ...

Anchises
, the father of the
Trojan Trojan or Trojans may refer to: * Of or from the ancient city of Troy * Trojan language, the language of the historical Trojans Arts and entertainment Music * ''Les Troyens'' ('The Trojans'), an opera by Berlioz, premiered part 1863, part 1890 ...

Trojan
prince and
warrior A warrior is a person specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationship ...
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek language, Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus (mythology), Venus). His father ...
. Anchises was a mortal lover of the goddess
Aphrodite Aphrodite; , , ) is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, ...

Aphrodite
, who had fallen in love with Anchises after Zeus persuaded
Eros In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...

Eros
to shoot her with an arrow to cause these emergent feelings.Roman, L., & Roman, M. (2010). One interpretation recounts that Aphrodite pretended to be a princess and seduced him, only to later reveal herself as a goddess and inform Anchises that she will bear him a son named Aeneas; however, Aphrodite warns Anchises not to tell anyone that he had lain with a goddess. Anchises does not heed this speaking taboo and later brags about his encounter with Aphrodite, and as a result, he is struck in the foot with a
thunderbolt A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In Indo-European mythology, the thunderbolt was identified with the Proto-Indo-European mythology#Sky Father, 'Sky Father'; thi ...
by Zeus. Thereafter, he is lame in that foot so that Aeneas has to carry him from the flames of Troy. Another, albeit lesser-known, speaking taboo in Greek myth can be found in the story of
Actaeon Actaeon (; grc, Ἀκταίων ''Aktaion''), in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the ...

Actaeon
. Actaeon, whilst on a hunting trip in the woods, mistakenly and haplessly happened upon the bathing
Artemis Artemis (; grc-gre, Ἄρτεμις Artemis, ) is the Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or ori ...

Artemis
. When Artemis realized that Actaeon had seen her undressed, thus desecrating her
chastity Chastity, also known as purity, is a virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strength ...
, she punished him for his luckless profanation of her virginity's mystery by forbidding him from speech. Whether it be due to forgetfulness or outright resistance, Actaeon defied his speaking taboo and called for his hunting dogs. Due to his failure in abiding by his speaking taboo, Artemis turned Actaeon into a stag and turned his dogs upon him. Actaeon was torn apart and ravaged by his loyal dogs who did not recognize their former master.


Abrahamic religions

Possibly the most famous eating taboo (if not taboo, in general) is in the story of
Adam and Eve Adam (Hebrew: ''ʾĀḏām'') and Eve ( ''‎‎Ḥavvā'') according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone des ...

Adam and Eve
in the
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
. In the
Judeo-Christian The term Judeo-Christian is used to group Christianity and Judaism Christianity is rooted in Second Temple Judaism Second Temple Judaism is Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of ...
telling, found in ,
Adam Adam (; Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long his ...

Adam
and
Eve Eve (; ; ar, حَوَّاء, Ḥawwāʾ; el, Εὕα, Heúa; la, Eva, Heva; : romanized: ) is a figure in the in the . According to the origin story, "Creation myths are symbolic stories describing how the universe and its inhabitants came ...

Eve
are placed in the
Garden of Eden In Abrahamic religions, the Garden of Eden (Hebrew language, Hebrew: – ''gan-ʿĒḏen'') or Garden of God ( – ''gan-Yahweh, YHWH''), also called the Terrestrial Paradise, is the Bible, biblical paradise described in Book of Genesis, Genesi ...

Garden of Eden
by God and are told not to eat from a tree lest they die, but Eve is promptly tempted by a
serpent Serpent or The Serpent may refer to: * Snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote Amniotes (from Greek ἀμνίον ''amnion'', " ...

serpent
(often identified as
Satan Satan, (''śāṭān''), meaning "adversary"; grc, ὁ σατανᾶς or σατάν (''ho satanas'' or ''satan''); ar, شيطان (''shaitan''), meaning "astray", "distant", or sometimes "devil" also known as the Devil, is an entity in th ...

Satan
in disguise) to eat from the
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil . The Tree of Knowledge is on the right. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil ( hbo, עֵ֕ץ הַדַּ֖עַת ט֥וֹב וָרָֽע; , ) is one of two specific trees in the story of the Garden of Eden The Garden of Eden ( he, גַּ ...
because they will surely not die rather they might become "like
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...
". Eve violates the eating taboo and eats from the
forbidden fruit Forbidden fruit is a name given to the fruit growing in the Garden of Eden which God commands mankind Taboo#In_religion_and_mythology, not to eat. In the biblical story, Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil an ...
of the tree, shortly giving some fruit to her companion, Adam. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve are aware of their nakedness and covered themselves with fig leaves and hide from God. God realizes that they are hiding and interrogates them about having eaten from the tree wherein Adam assigns the blame to Eve and Eve assigns it to the serpent. As a result, God condemns Eve with pain in childbirth and subordination to her husband, he condemns Adam to have to labor on the earth for his food and be reduced into the earth at death, and in the Christian tradition, he condemns all of humanity for this
original sin Original sin is the Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' a ...
. God then expels Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden lest they eat from the
Tree of Life #REDIRECT Tree of life#REDIRECT Tree of life The tree of life is a fundamental widespread mytheme or archetype in many of the world's mythology, mythologies, religion, religious and philosophy, philosophical traditions. It is closely related ...
and become immortal "like Him". In
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
, the story of
Adam and Eve Adam (Hebrew: ''ʾĀḏām'') and Eve ( ''‎‎Ḥavvā'') according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone des ...
is quite different, though it contains an eating taboo: the
Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious t ...

Quran
mentions that
Adam Adam (; Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long his ...
(
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
: ), as the successive authority of earth by decree of Allah, is placed in a paradisal garden (not
Jannah In Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection ...
nor the
Garden of Eden In Abrahamic religions, the Garden of Eden (Hebrew language, Hebrew: – ''gan-ʿĒḏen'') or Garden of God ( – ''gan-Yahweh, YHWH''), also called the Terrestrial Paradise, is the Bible, biblical paradise described in Book of Genesis, Genesi ...

Garden of Eden
) therein along with
his wife ''His Wife'' is a 1915 American silent Silent may mean any of the following: People with the name * Silent George, George Stone (outfielder) (1876–1945), American Major League Baseball outfielder and batting champion * Brandon Silent (born 19 ...
(unnamed in the Quran, though the
Hadith Ḥadīth ( or ; ar, حديث , pl. aḥādīth, , , , literally means "talk" or "discourse") or Athar ( ar, أثر, , literally means "tradition") in Islam refers to what the majority of Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or ...

Hadith
gives her the name Ḥawwā’, Arabic: ); such a paradise this garden was, that they would never go hungry nor unclothed, nor would they ever thirst or be exposed to the sun's heat. However, Allah took a promise from Adam:
Iblis Iblis ( ar, إِبْلِيس, translit=Iblīs), alternatively known as Eblīs, Iblees, Eblees, or Ibris, is the leader of the devils A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in many and various cultures and religious traditions. ...

Iblis
, angered at his expulsion from Jannah for refusing to bow to Adam at his inception, decided to trick Adam and his wife into being shunned by Allah, just as he was; however, Allah had warned Adam and his wife about Iblis, telling them that he was a "clear enemy". Iblis swore in the name of Allah that he was their sincere advisor, revealed unto Adam and his wife each other's nakedness, and convinced them to eat from the forbidden tree so that they may never taste death. After eating from the tree (thus breaking the eating taboo), Allah removes Adam and his wife from their paradisal garden, telling them that mankind will be condemned with some being enemies with others on the earth wherein they will be provided habitation and provision, for a while, and A looking taboo can be found in the Judeo-Christian telling of the story of
Lot Lot or LOT may refer to: Common meanings Areas *Land lot, an area of land *Parking lot, for automobiles *Backlot, in movie production Sets of items *Lot number, in batch production *Lot, a set of goods for sale together in an auction; or a quantit ...
found within the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...

Book of Genesis
. In , two
angels An angel is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by such ...

angels
in the form of men arrived in Sodom at eventide and were invited by Lot to spend the night at his home. However, the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and demanded Lot that he bring his two guests out so that they might "know" them; instead, Lot offered up his two daughters, whom had not "known" man, but they refused. As dawn was breaking, Lot's visiting angels urged him to get his family and flee, so as to avoid being caught in the impending disaster for the iniquity of the city. The command was given, "Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away." Whilst fleeing, however,
Lot's wife In the Bible, Lot's wife is a figure first mentioned in . The Book of Genesis describes how she became a pillar of salt after she looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah, Sodom. She is not named in the Bible but is called "Ado" or "Edith" in some List ...

Lot's wife
broke the looking taboo by turning to look back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt as punishment for disobeying the angels' warning.


Popular culture

A very famous word taboo in popular culture is found in the Harry Potter series. The main antagonist of the series,
Lord Voldemort Lord Voldemort (, in the films) is a sobriquet A sobriquet ( ), or soubriquet, is a nickname A nickname is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place or thing. Commonly used to express affection, it is a form of endear ...

Lord Voldemort
, is so-feared in the wizarding world, that most of the characters resort to using monikers to refer to him; such monikers include "You-Know-Who", "He Who Must Not Be Named", and "the Dark Lord". However, the only ones who did not fear to speak Voldemort's name were the members of the Order of the Phoenix, who actively defied Voldemort and his
Death Eaters The Death Eaters are characters featured in the ''Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven fantasy literature, fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young Magician (fantas ...
, so Voldemort placed a powerful "Taboo
jinx A jinx (also jynx), in popular superstition and folklore, is a curse or the attribute of attracting bad or negative luck. The word ''"jynx"'' meaning the bird wryneck and sometimes a charm or spell has been in use in English since the seventeent ...
" upon his name so that, whenever uttered, it would break any defensive and render those who speak it trackable by Death Eaters or Snatchers. An eating taboo reminiscent of the one found in the tale of the rape of Persephone can be found in
Pan's Labyrinth ''Pan's Labyrinth'' ( es, El laberinto del fauno, lit=The Labyrinth of the Faun painter Pál Szinyei Merse The faun (, grc, φαῦνος, ''phaunos'', ) is a mythological half human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous an ...
: the protagonist, Ofelia, is given three tasks by a faun in order for her to take her place as the immortal princess of the underworld, Princess Moanna. Before setting off for her second task of retrieving a dagger from the lair of the child-eating Pale Man, Ofelia is warned by the faun not to consume any of the food laid out on the banquet; despite his numerous warnings, Ofelia eats two grapes, awakening the Pale Man. Two of her three fairy guides are devoured by the Pale Man, but Ofelia manages to escape with the dagger. Infuriated at her disobedience, however, the faun refuses to give Ofelia the third and final task required for her to return to her place as Princess Moanna.


Function

Communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communist
and
materialist Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimatel ...
theorists have argued that taboos can be used to reveal the histories of societies when other records are lacking.
Marvin Harris Marvin Harris (August 18, 1927 – October 25, 2001) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. ...
particularly endeavored to explain taboos as a consequence of ecologic and economic conditions.


Modernity

Some argue that contemporary Western
multicultural The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, political philosophy, and colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for "Pluralism (political theory), ethnic pluralism", with the two ...

multicultural
societies have taboos against
tribalism Tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles. Human evolution has primarily occurred in small groups, as opposed to people's cooperation in society as a whole. With a negative connotation and in a ...
s (for example,
ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism in social science and anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and past, including Homo, past ...
and
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target ...
) and
prejudice Prejudice can be an affective Affect, in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. ...
s (
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

racism
,
sexism Sexism is prejudice Prejudice can be an affective Affect, in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as ...
,
homophobia Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality Homosexuality is Romance (love), romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or Human sexual activity, sexual behavior between members of the same sex or ...

homophobia
,
extremism Extremism is "the quality or state of being extreme" or "the advocacy of extreme measures or views". The term is primarily used in a political or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious beha ...
and
religious fanaticism Religious fanaticism is a pejorative designation used to indicate uncritical zeal or obsessive enthusiasm which is related to one's own, or one's group's, devotion to a religion – a form of human fanaticism which could otherwise be expressed ...
). Changing social customs and standards also create new taboos, such as bans on
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
; extension of the
pedophilia Pedophilia ( alternatively spelt paedophilia) is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction Sexual attraction is attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the qualit ...
taboo to
ephebophilia Ephebophilia is the primary sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19. The term was originally used in the late 19th to mid-20th century. It is one of a number of sexual preferences across age groups subsumed under the t ...
; prohibitions on
alcohol In chemistry, alcohol is an organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl functional group (−OH) bound to a Saturated and unsaturated compounds, saturated carbon atom. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethan ...

alcohol
,
tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defini ...
, or psychopharmaceutical consumption (particularly among
pregnant women Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman. A multiple birth, multiple pregnancy involves more than one offspring, such as with twins. Pregnancy usually occurs by sexual intercour ...
). Incest itself has been pulled both ways, with some seeking to normalize consensual adult relationships regardless of the degree of
kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states th ...

kinship
(notably in Europe) and others expanding the degrees of prohibited contact (notably in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
). Although the term ''taboo'' usually implies negative connotations, it is sometimes associated with enticing propositions in proverbs such as ''forbidden fruit is the sweetest''. In medicine, professionals who practice in ethical and moral Loophole, grey areas, or fields subject to social stigma such as late termination of pregnancy, may refrain from public discussion of their practice. Among other reasons, this taboo may come from concern that comments may be taken out of the appropriate context and used to make ill-informed policy decisions that would lead to (otherwise preventable) maternal death.


See also

* * * * * * * s * * * * * * * * * *


References


Bibliography

* * Printed for Champante and Whitrow ... and M. Watson; 1793. *


External links

{{Authority control Taboo, Cultural anthropology Psychoanalytic terminology Freudian psychology Moral psychology