Coming of age ceremonies from girls to women are still celebrated in many tribes, and in others they are slowly disappearing or have already been forgotten.
But almost everywhere I hear, to my delight, about this custom that is still kept and respected.
When a girl gets her first period, time stops.
She stays home with her bibi (=grandmother), little Mother (=her mother’s younger sister), or sometimes with her mother.
For seven days the women cook for her, pampering her, freeing her from her usual chores so she can put her heart and womb to the changes in her body and in her life. So that she can also be free to listen and learn from the women around her.
Girls tell me...
One young woman told me that her little mother bought her new underwear and pads as a gift. She taught her how to put on the pad and how to clean herself.
Another told me about the week she spent with her mother, during which she rested and was pampered, getting life lessons from her mother, women of her family, and women neighbors about her menstrual cycle and femininity.
Some girls receive gifts from the women of the family and women neighbors, some receive a modest gift or not at all, depending on the ability of the family. But love is always abundant, guidance, and women’ sweet togetherness.
From now on, the girl will slowly enter the world of women.
In our western world...
I’m thinking to myself – a week.
So different from the rushing western life, not stopping for anything and anyone.
I remember the morning when I woke up and discovered my blood. My mother had already left for work, but I remembered what she had taught me. I put on a pad and went to school. But there, came pain and discomfort. I was in the wrong place.
And what if I would have stayed home for a week with My mother?
What if the women neighbors came to congratulate me?
A time of joy and celebration! Ella is becoming a woman!
I write a lot about inspiration.
I’m collecting it for you.
For you to read, breathe in the words, the pictures, the stories of coming of age ceremonies from girls to women…
And then - what can you take from all this?
What can you give from all this to my daughter, my niece, the daughter of a good friend?
How do you become the guidance for girls around you?
How can you support other women whose daughter is growing up?
I would love to hear from you in the comments.