Blood Brother: A Term of Loyalty and Friendship
Blood brother is a term that refers to two or more men who have sworn loyalty and friendship to each other, usually by making a small cut on their fingers, hands or arms and pressing them together. The idea is that each person’s blood now flows in the other’s veins, symbolizing a bond that is stronger than blood ties.
The concept of blood brotherhood has been found in many cultures and times, such as the Norsemen, the Scythians, the Hungarians and the Chinese. It was often used to form alliances between tribes or clans, or to seal a pact of friendship between individuals. Sometimes, blood brothers would also exchange gifts or tokens of their bond, such as rings, knives or cloaks.
However, becoming blood brothers also carried some risks and responsibilities. For one thing, there was a danger of transmitting blood-borne diseases through the ritual. For another, blood brothers were expected to remain loyal and faithful to each other, even at the cost of their own lives or interests. Betraying a blood brother was considered a grave sin and could result in vengeance or ostracism.
Today, the term blood brother is still used to describe a close friend or ally, but the ritual of blood oath is rarely practiced. Instead, people may use other ways to express their friendship, such as tattoos, bracelets or handshakes. However, the meaning of blood brotherhood remains the same: a bond that transcends family and kinship.
Some examples of blood brotherhood in literature and media are:
- Blood Brothers, a musical by Willy Russell, tells the story of two twins who were separated at birth and grew up in different social classes, unaware of their true relationship. They become friends as children, but their friendship is tested by their different backgrounds and a love triangle. The play explores the themes of nature versus nurture, class conflict and fate.
- The Kite Runner, a novel by Khaled Hosseini, features two boys who grew up together in Afghanistan, Amir and Hassan. Although they are not related by blood, they consider each other as brothers. However, their bond is shattered by a betrayal that haunts Amir for years. The novel deals with the issues of guilt, redemption and identity.
- Lord of the Rings, a fantasy series by J.R.R. Tolkien, depicts the friendship between Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, two hobbits who embark on a perilous quest to destroy the One Ring. Along the way, they encounter many dangers and temptations, but they remain loyal and supportive of each other. Their friendship is often compared to that of blood brothers.
Another aspect of blood brotherhood is the ritual that is performed to create the bond. Different cultures have different ways of conducting the blood oath ceremony, but they usually involve making a small cut on a part of the body and mixing or exchanging blood with the other participant. Sometimes, the blood is mixed with wine or milk and drunk by both parties. Other times, the blood is smeared on a token or a symbol of their friendship, such as a ring, a knife or a cloak.
The ritual of blood brotherhood is often seen as a sacred and solemn act that should not be taken lightly. It is a way of expressing trust, loyalty and devotion to another person, regardless of their biological or social ties. It is also a way of creating a new identity and belonging, as blood brothers share a common bond that transcends their original families or clans.
However, the ritual of blood brotherhood can also have negative consequences if it is broken or betrayed. Some cultures believe that breaking a blood oath can bring bad luck, curses or even death to the offenders. Some blood brothers may also feel obliged to follow their partner’s wishes or actions, even if they are immoral or harmful. Some blood brothers may also become jealous or possessive of their partner, and resent any interference from others.