5 unique menstrual rituals around the world
Menstruation is not only about physical transformation in a girl's body, but it also involves celebration and honor in different cultures across the globe. Different countries around the globe follow certain menstrual rituals to commemorate a girl's first period and celebrate her transition to womanhood. Some of these rituals also involve isolation and alienation. Here are five interesting menstrual rituals from around the world.
Hut ritual of Ulithi women
Residing in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, the Ulithi tribe follows a simple menstruation ritual. When a girl in the tribe gets her first period, she is shifted to a hut for four days, along with pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children. While the girl is isolated from the male population, the ceremony celebrates womanhood with feasts, songs, and dance.
Preparing sekihan in Japan
In a popular menstrual ritual in many parts of Japan, the mother of the girl prepares a traditional dish called sekihan to celebrate her daughter's first period. All the family members have to eat the dish to celebrate the day. Sekihan is made with adzuki beans and sticky rice. The red color of the auspicious dish is associated with celebration and joy.
Berry cleanse in Canada
Canada has a unique tradition of welcoming a girl's first period with a diet restriction. When a girl gets her first period, she has to go through a berry cleanse, during which she is not allowed to eat berries for at least one year. She can collect and preserve them but not eat them. After a year, however, she can eat them again.
Sunrise ceremony in North America
The Native American Apache tribe in North America hosts a function, the Sunrise ceremony, to celebrate a girl's first period and her shift from childhood to adulthood. The menstruating girl wears symbolic outfits, receives and offers gifts, and celebrates the occasion with a feast. The ceremony involves dancing for hours, praying, chanting, and running. The girl's face is covered with paint throughout the ceremony.
Flower dance in northwestern California's Hupa tribe
The Hupa tribe from northwestern California follows a fun menstrual ritual called the flower dance when a girl gets her first period. According to the tribe, menarche, or a woman's first period, is extremely powerful. Celebrated for several days, the menstruating girl is made to wear a face covering composed of blue jay feathers. The ceremony also involves song, dance, and a large feast.