Wait, was that a period? Rites Of Passage

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How other cultures celebrate menstruation

Each culture has a different ways in celebrating a girl’s first experience in becoming a woman pertaining to their first menstruation. It can be a joyful four-day celebration which includes all family to being separated from the opposite sex for weeks to being a harrowing experience where something is taken away from you. Here is a look at a few!

Menarche: A term for a girl’s first menstrual cycle:

This is a time where the mother has the role to prepare her daughter for womanhood. This is a special time where the mother and daughter bond and create their own celebration.

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The Apache Sunrise Ceremony:

This is a four day ceremony where girls come together soon after their first menstruation to perform sacramental dances, songs, and enactments in order to embrace their role to womanhood.

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Tukana Tribe, Northwest Amazon, Festa das Mocas Novas:

This is a ceremony that starts within 12 weeks of first menstruation where a girl is in seclusion for two days hiding from dangerous demons and then emerges to destroy the demons with her family and then celebrate.

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Okrika Tribe, Nigeria:

This has many layers of initiation for a girl who just started menstruation. It starts with being fed rich foods in a “fatting room” to learning traditional song and dance to being striked with sticks to get rid of romantic attachments.

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Islamic Tradition:

In this culture there is a name, baaligh meaning mature, when one enters adulthood but other than that there is no ceremony to celebrate. Instead it is a very private and quiet experience.

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Rites of Passage for Maasai Girls in East Africa:

This is a ceremonial practice of female circumcision, a dangerous and lethal practice. It is illegal in most countries but some nomadic tribes still practice today.

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Further reading:

There is a really touching book that explores a first hand account of going through this experience called Aman: The Story of a Somali Girl by Virignia Lee Barnes. You can borrow it from the Brooklyn Library!

 

Here is a website page with brief descriptions of other Rights of Passages around the world.

 

 

 

Other reading around the web:

Coming of Age Traditions

Coming of Age: Alternative Rites of Passage for Maasai Girls