No matter where you are in the world, the word period brings with it an endless cycle (excuse the pun) of completely absurd and bizarre myths, cultural norms and taboos that have been believed for years and years.
While some of it may seem completely harmless and amusing, others end up contributing towards gender based discrimination along with making women feel insecure and ashamed of their menstrual cycle.
Hop on the period plane and let’s take a journey around the world to find out some of the most unusual theories, myths and misconceptions.
- Feeling like a cold drink on a hot day? Well, in Colombia you are told you avoid drinking cold beverages while on your period as it will cause cramps. Forget about taking a cold shower too because washing your hair or even cutting it is frowned upon.
- Women in Afghanistan are told to avoid washing their vaginas while menstruating as it leads to infertility.
- Want to keep the ghosts and ghouls far away from you? In Malaysia it is believed that you need to wash your pad before throwing it out or else ghosts will come and haunt you! Boo!
- In Sri Lanka, most people are ashamed to carry Sanitary Packs out in the open. Grocery stores and shops mostly wrap the pack in newspaper or a brown paper and discreetly hand it to you as if having menses is something to be ashamed of! Go figure.
- Many in Bolivia believe that you shouldn’t cradle babies while on your period as it can cause the baby to get sick.
- Playing sports or exercising is considered bad in Sri Lanka, whilst on your period.
- Say goodbye to rolling your own sushi at home! In Japan, it is believed that you should not make sushi while on your period as you have an imbalance in taste.
- When you get your first period in Sri Lanka, you’re considered bad luck to men and kept in a room away from all males. You can only come into contact with a male after you have an auspicious bath on a set date.
- Leave your dancing shoes behind while in Mexico and on your period. Some say to avoid dancing to very upbeat rhythms in order to keep your uterus safe while menstruating.
- Craving for a delicious greasy burger? Contain your cravings while in Sri Lanka as it oily/sour food is considered bad for you when you are on your period.
- Getting your first period is usually an uncomfortable experience. In Israel, it’s taken a step further because you are slapped in the face when you get your first period so that you will have rosy cheeks all your life.
- Some religious sites in Sri Lanka, don't allow women to enter while they are menstruating as it is considered ‘impure’.
- Washing your hair and cutting your nails while on your period is a big no no in the Dominican Republic. Along with drinking lemonade!
- When in France, leave your home-made mayonnaise making for another day if you are on your period. Some people believe that making mayonnaise while on your period will cause the Mayo to curdle.
- There’s an old wives tale in the Philippines that when you get your first period, you should wash your face with the first menstrual blood in order to have clear skin. Some also believe that jumping off the stairs from three steps up will make your period last only for three days. Don’t try this at home. A twisted ankle just isn’t worth it!
- In Romania, it is believed that if you touch flowers while menstruating, the flowers will die.
- In France you can’t make Mayo, but in Argentina you’re told to avoid making whipped cream while on your period as it will curdle and not come out right.
- You are invited to a Period Party! In Sri Lanka, when a girl gets her first period, it is celebrated by hosting a big ceremony for all her family and relatives.
- In the US, you are advised not to go camping as bears may smell the blood.
- Leave your cooking for another day, because in Italy it is believed that everything you cook while on your period will be a disaster.
- In some parts of Sri Lanka, it is believed that menstruating women are prone to demon attacks which therefore makes them emotionally and mentally unstable.
- In Taiwan, it is recommended that you immediately blow dry your hair after a shower when on your period.