“Seek to make a person blush for their guilt rather than shed their blood.”
Publius Cornelius Tacitus
Because of its importance in life, blood is, like water, an important element in many religions. In the Jewish and Christian religions its importance comes from Leviticus 17:11 saying: “For the life of the flesh (or a creature) is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”. This means that it is forbidden to drink blood or eat meat with the blood still intact instead of being poured off. Jews use a technique, called melihah, to make the meat kosher and appropriate for eating. The shedding of animal blood on an altar in sacrifice, or taking the life of an innocent animal, symbolized the price of salvation, forgiveness and reconciliation.
In Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Maya and Aztec, human sacrifice was practiced. The Aztec believed that a great, ongoing sacrifice sustained the Universe and that they owed blood to the gods. To avoid disaster, this debt had to be paid and this was done by giving blood, or by sacrificing. Animals were sacrificed, but human sacrifice was the highest level of offerings. One sacrificial rite was heart-extraction, which was seen as a way of liberating the istli, or sun´s heat, and reuniting it with the sun.
In Maya culture there was also human sacrifice, but it was far less common than in Aztec society. Religious or political leaders performed ritualized sacrifice by piercing a soft body part, like the tongue, ear or foreskin and collecting the blood, which was then smeared, on the idol. Animal sacrifice also involved bloodletting and was a more common practice that was performed at festivals and rituals.
Although human sacrifice was not a common practice, many remains can be found in the Cenote Sagrado (Well of Sacrifice) in Chichen Itza in Yucatán. Studies have found that the wounds on the remains indicate that these persons were sacrificed.
On a lighter note, it is an old belief in Japan that if a man suffers from a sudden nosebleed, it means he is sexually aroused. The idea comes from the thought that when a man is sexually aroused, his blood pressure suddenly rises causing his nose to bleed. This image often appears in films and in Japanese comics (manga and anime). Why does this not seem to happen to men in other parts of the world?
1. the red liquid that flows through the bodies of people and animals
2. members of a team, company, or organization (source: Merriam Webster)
The English word blood comes from Old English blod, form Proto-Germanic blodam (blood), from Protoindoeuropean bhloto, possibly meaning to sweel/spurt.
Dutch bloed has the same origins.
The Spanish sangre and Italian sangue come from Latin sanguis, meaning blood.Blood in other languages:
Spanish: la sangre
Italian: la sangue
Categories: The human body