Cultural and religious beliefs
Part of a vampire's attraction to blood can be linked to how blood was viewed culturally.
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Due to its importance to life, blood is associated with a large number of beliefs. One of the most basic is the use of blood as a symbol for family relationships through birth/parentage; to be "related by blood" is to be related by ancestry or descendence, rather than marriage. This bears closely to bloodlines, and sayings such as "blood is thicker than water" and "bad blood", as well as "Blood brother".
Blood is given particular emphasis in the Jewish and Christian religions, because Leviticus 17:11 says "the life of a creature is in the blood." This phrase is part of the Levitical law forbidding the drinking of blood or eating meat with the blood still intact instead of being poured off.
Mythic references to blood can sometimes be connected to the life-giving nature of blood, seen in such events as childbirth, as contrasted with the blood of injury or death.
Vampires are mythical creatures that drink blood directly for sustenance, usually with a preference for human blood. Cultures all over the world have myths of this kind; for example the 'Nosferatu' legend, a human who achieves damnation and immortality by drinking the blood of others, originates from Eastern European folklore. Ticks, leeches, female mosquitoes, vampire bats, and an assortment of other natural creatures do consume the blood of other animals, but only bats are associated with vampires. This has no relation to vampire bats, which are new world creatures discovered well after the origins of the European myths.
In many indigenous Australian Aboriginal peoples' traditions, ochre (particularly red) and blood, both high in iron content and considered Maban, are applied to the bodies of dancers for ritual. As Lawlor states:
In many Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies, red ochre is rubbed all over the naked bodies of the dancers. In secret, sacred male ceremonies, blood extracted from the veins of the participant's arms is exchanged and rubbed on their bodies. Red ochre is used in similar ways in less-secret ceremonies. Blood is also used to fasten the feathers of birds onto people's bodies. Bird feathers contain a protein that is highly magnetically sensitive.
Lawlor comments that blood employed in this fashion is held by these peoples to attune the dancers to the invisible energetic realm of the Dreamtime. Lawlor then connects these invisible energetic realms and magnetic fields, because iron is magnetic.
Among the Germanic tribes, blood was used during their sacrifices; the Blóts. The blood was considered to have the power of its originator, and, after the butchering, the blood was sprinkled on the walls, on the statues of the gods, and on the participants themselves. This act of sprinkling blood was called blóedsian in Old English, and the terminology was borrowed by the Roman Catholic Church becoming to bless and blessing. The Hittite word for blood, ishar was a cognate to words for "oath" and "bond", see Ishara. The Ancient Greeks believed that the blood of the gods, ichor, was a substance that was poisonous to mortals.
As a relic of Germanic Law, the cruentation, an ordeal where the corpse of the victim was supposed to start bleeding in the presence of the murderer, was used until the early 17th century.
In Genesis 9:4, God prohibited Noah and his sons from eating blood (see Noahide Law ). This command continued to be observed by the Eastern Orthodox.
It is also found in the Bible that when the Angel of Death came around to the Hebrew house that the first-born child would not die if the angel saw lamb's blood wiped across the doorway.
At the Council of Jerusalem, the apostles prohibited certain Christians from consuming blood—this is documented in Acts 15:20 and 29. This chapter specifies a reason (especially in verses 19–21): It was to avoid offending Jews who had become Christians, because the Mosaic Law Code prohibited the practice.
Christ's blood is the means for the atonement of sins. Also, ″… the blood of Jesus Christ his [God] Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7), “… Unto him [God] that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." (Revelation 1:5), and "And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus the Christ], and by the word of their testimony …” (Revelation 12:11).
Some Christian churches, including Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and the Assyrian Church of the East teach that, when consecrated, the Eucharistic wine actually becomes the blood of Jesus for worshippers to drink. Thus in the consecrated wine, Jesus becomes spiritually and physically present. This teaching is rooted in the Last Supper, as written in the four gospels of the Bible, in which Jesus stated to his disciples that the bread that they ate was his body, and the wine was his blood. "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.".
Most forms of Protestantism, especially those of a Wesleyan or Presbyterian lineage, teach that the wine is no more than a symbol of the blood of Christ, who is spiritually but not physically present. Lutheran theology teaches that the body and blood is present together "in, with, and under" the bread and wine of the Eucharistic feast.
In Judaism, animal blood may not be consumed even in the smallest quantity (Leviticus 3:17 and elsewhere); this is reflected in Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut). Blood is purged from meat by rinsing and soaking in water (to loosen clots), salting and then rinsing with water again several times. Eggs must also be checked and any blood spots removed before consumption. Although blood from fish is biblically kosher, it is rabbinically forbidden to consume fish blood to avoid the appearance of breaking the Biblical prohibition.
Another ritual involving blood involves the covering of the blood of fowl and game after slaughtering (Leviticus 17:13); the reason given by the Torah is: "Because the life of the animal is [in] its blood" (ibid 17:14). In relation to human beings, Kabbalah expounds on this verse that the animal soul of a person is in the blood, and that physical desires stem from it.
Likewise, the mystical reason for salting temple sacrifices and slaughtered meat is to remove the blood of animal-like passions from the person. By removing the animal's blood, the animal energies and life-force contained in the blood are removed, making the meat fit for human consumption.
Consumption of food containing blood is forbidden by Islamic dietary laws. This is derived from the statement in the Qur'an, sura Al-Ma'ida (5:3): "Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah."
Blood is considered unclean, hence there are specific methods to obtain physical and ritual status of cleanliness once bleeding has occurred. Specific rules and prohibitions apply to menstruation, postnatal bleeding and irregular vaginal bleeding. When an animal has been slaughtered, the animal's neck is cut in a way to ensure that the spine is not severed, hence the brain may send commands to the heart to pump blood to it for oxygen. In this way, blood is removed from the body, and the meat is generally now safe to cook and eat. In modern times, blood transfusions are generally not considered against the rules.
Based on their interpretation of scriptures such as Acts 15:28, 29 ("Keep abstaining...from blood."), many Jehovah's Witnesses neither consume blood nor accept transfusions of whole blood or its major components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets (thrombocytes), and plasma. Members may personally decide whether they will accept medical procedures that involve their own blood or substances that are further fractionated from the four major components.
East Asian culture
In south East Asian popular culture, it is often said that if a man's nose produces a small flow of blood, he is experiencing sexual desire. This often appears in Chinese-language and Hong Kong films as well as in Japanese and Korean culture parodied in anime, manga, and drama. Characters, mostly males, will often be shown with a nosebleed if they have just seen someone nude or in little clothing, or if they have had an erotic thought or fantasy; this is based on the idea that a male's blood pressure will spike dramatically when aroused.
- ↑ Template:Cite book
- ↑ Koshering Meat. Chabad.org.
- ↑ Removing the Blood. Chabad.org.
- ↑ Citron, R. Aryeh. All About Kosher Fish. Chabad.org.
- ↑ Schneerson, R. Menachem M. Igrot Kodesh, vol. vii, p. 270.
- ↑ The Watchtower 15 June 2004, p. 22, "Be Guided by the Living God"
- ↑ Law of Anime No. 40 a.k.a. Law of Nasal Sanguination at ABCB.com, The Anime Cafe.