Drawing on E. Durkheim's [(1915) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, London: George Allen & Unwin] discussion of religious holy-days and on his argument regarding the implications of institutional gender differences [(1897/1951) Suicide, New York: Free Press], it was hypothesized that holy days may affect mortality patterns differentially by gender. The present study focused on Moslems in Israel a very different social and religious context than those that have been studied before. The 1983–1992 data on Israeli Moslem deaths were used. After removing the long-term growth and the seasonal effects, women's mortality was found to be significantly greater in the month of Ramadan than in the month before, and in the two weeks before the feast of ’Id el-Adhha than in the two weeks after it. For men, mortality was higher in the two weeks after the feast of ‘Id el-Fitr than in the two weeks before it. Religious holidays, then, have a different effect on the pattern of mortality of men and women, reflecting their different roles in the preparation and celebration of the holy day rites.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 22, 2004
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