Ideally, culturally inspired communities continue to perform and follow rituals in order to keep the tradition and their unique identity. The first period bleeding is a girl’s transition to womanhood.
And it’s not only an important time for the girls but also for the parents, especially for the mothers for them to guide their girls towards their journey of being full blown women.
How people celebrate their girls’ first period varies in terms of religion, country and ancestral origin.
For most girls living in countries where old traditions are overpowered by technology and modernism, a girl’s menarche is nothing but a chance for parents to do some serious sex talk with her.
Parents would even remind their teenage children not to fall in love unless they already got their period.
Without your period, you’re still officially a child. Today’s teenagers don’t actually celebrate their first period. Most girls are told to hate it instead of accepting it.
Here are some weird and maybe not so weird rituals and traditions followed by people around the world to celebrate a girl’s first period:
1. Sri Lankan
Puberty is lavishly celebrated in Sri Lanka. A Tamil puberty ceremony is luxurious and expensive. The family members and friends are expected to offer luxurious gifts.
To make it extra special, the girl’s close family members will bathe her and feed her extravagant dishes. She is also isolated from everybody except her close relatives.
After being given her second bath, she will then be dressed in a sari. Wearing her sari has a meaningful symbolism. The sari symbolizes her acceptance of her journey of becoming a mature woman.
“My mom slapped me when I got my period”. Considered an old Jewish custom, the whole slapping custom is experienced by most Jewish girls.
But the origin and reason of the custom isn’t clear at all, even to older women who kept the tradition alive.
The first possible reason is to slap some sense into a girl who is already capable of bearing children, reminding her not to get pregnant out of wedlock. Another possible reason is to somehow awaken a girl from her childhood to womanhood.
Indian families hold coming of age ceremonies for girls who just had their first menstruation. The ritual is performed in order to create a positive energy so the girl can have a good life in matrimony.
It is their way to declare that there’s a girl in the family who is already capable of getting married and bear children. It’s an invitation to potential suitors who are interested to offer her marriage.
The ritual is done privately and is exclusive only to family members. Like in Sri Lankan custom, the girl is bathed and wrapped in a colorful sari.
The girl is seated on a stool where only the married ladies are allowed to perform the ritual.
Called “sadanggu”, the ritual is executed to make sure that the girl will be blessed with a good marriage, good husband and bear children.
She must make a promise to forget her childish ways and become a mature woman.
Puberty rituals for girls are still performed by Navajo people until now. The ritual, called kinaalda, lasts for four days where the whole family gathers to celebrate with her.
For the entire celebration, she will be trained emotionally and physically. She will perform tasks for her to have a sense of responsibility.
The ritual is special because the girl’s family will prepare a big corn cake cooked in an earth oven, which is usually done only for special events and ceremonies.
She is expected to wear a traditional buckskin dress with her braided hair. She also needs to get up at sunrise and run fast each day.
She should also have a female role model who is willing to teach her everything she should know about being a woman.
The role model is most probably an older female relative who will share her tribal wisdom about relationships with the opposite sex.
For the Dagara people, the whole puberty ritual is about teaching the girls about sex and intimacy with the opposite sex. It is a form of initiation where the girls are given sex education by older female women.
Celebrating a girl’s period is actually a form of acceptance. While it might sound scary for girls who experience bleeding vaginas for the first time, the rituals are helpful for them not to feel alienated and weird about the whole idea of being a woman.
Most ritual customs include performing them with family members to show their support to their girls. It takes a lot of guidance and counseling so most girls can fully accept the fact that being a mature woman means taking full responsibility to their actions, understanding their bodies, and knowing their roles in the society.
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