Participant observation is defined as first hand experience. Participant observation is a method developed by Anthropologists in the early 20th century. When Anthropologists noticed that in order to fully understand the question, “Why” in culture. Why do a certain people do this, why is that important, or why do they all do it, are just some of the questions anthropologists use participant observation. The key to participant observation is fieldwork, where the anthropologist actively lives with the people of the culture they are studying for about a year or more. Where the anthropologist goes through culture shock by leaving all their possessions at home and starting a new. This technique of studying gets the anthropologist to become one
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Just because a mask is just a mask to one to another it can be the ancestral relic, with some type of meaning behind it. The Pygmies to the common eye would be a culture full of odd things. Most people would say they are a group of Africans that like to dance around a fire, that disappear into the forest for months and reappear. With no personal belongs except things that they care on their backs. All it really is due to the Pygmies having a nomadic lifestyle since they have to travel from one campsite to another, due to their food source either migrating away or because they gathered all they could in the area. Men carry their weapons; women carry the food and what is needed for their construction of the huts with the help of the young ones. Nothing more nothing less, just what is needed on a daily basis.
Rituals and ceremonies like the Nkumbi, Elima, and the Molimo are sacred to the Pygmies. Each one of these ceremonies to the common civilian would observe and describe it as savagery. Men singing an entire night in a language we don’t understand, the circumcision of the boys including the entire set of task they have to do, and finally the menstrual cycle, “why is it so celebrated?”. We as a people don’t understand this because culture is symbolic and our traditions are nothing like those of the Pygmies. The death of a family member is followed by a funeral not the Molimo, the right of passage from boy to man isn’t proven but