(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
By Selma Komisky
Wow, you’ve reached the tween years! That’s a huge milestone not only because you are growing up, but also because that means that your becoming a woman. This happens for girls when you start something called your menstrual cycle (AKA your period). In other countries and cultures girls have a celebration when this happens. You might say that sounds weird or embarrassing! Not! It’s actually pretty cool because it’s an awesome day in every young girl’s life. When you start your period, it’s a special event that God designed just for girls. At first you might totally freak out and say, “UGH!” You also might not be that thrilled and even be a little scared or feel unsure and awkward. For sure you don’t want anyone to blab about it (no way!). But how about sharing about it with someone who you think is safe and understands? You can share about how you feel with your mom, grandma, aunt, your big sister or even a best friend you can trust. After all, they all have gone through it too!
But just like you celebrate a big accomplishment like graduating elementary school to go to middle school, you can celebrate becoming a young woman and make your occasion totally special. Why? Because this is something that will make you feel good about yourself.
Accepting you’re body and discovering all the new changes can be like a roller coaster of emotions. There’s acne, thinking you look gross, wearing a bra (which is not comfy at first LOL) and cramps that makes you feel yucky to name a few. You’re changing from a child into a young woman. In other words, you’re growing up! So, have fun creating your own special celebration day. It’s not lame either. Here’s some cool ideas to try:
- eat at your favorite place
- get manicures
- go to the beach
- have a chick flick night at home
- go on a picnic
- take a short trip
- go to a concert
The ideas are endless! Note to moms, you can help make your daughters day special by making her a special care package. You can buy your daughter all the feminine products and wrap them in special girly paper, put a journal in there, special calendar to help her keep track of her cycle or write how she feels, along with treats, perfume, comfy pjs, makeup, a facial mask, nail polish, etc. Have fun with it!
And while you celebrate, don’t forget to take a look at how some girls around the world celebrate becoming a young lady. It will help you see that celebration is normal and see how cool it is to see girls celebrating all over the world who are just like you! Here are some examples:
Sri Lanka – Tamil population
When a girl has her first period, they celebrate and splurge in a lavish way. Friends and family bring gifts. She takes a special bath and gets fed all these delicious delicacies. Then, she gets to dress up in a pretty outfit called a sari with jewelry (i.e. the sari is a symbol of her becoming a young woman).
“Kinaalda” is a puberty ceremony that lasts for four days. The girl has specific activities and is adorned in her finest bright clothes and turquoise jewelry. Usually her mother, aunt, or grandma combs her hair styled into a bun (called tsiiyeel). The girl helps her mother grind corn and bakes a large corn cake to share with her guests. They untie and loosen the girl’s hair and the girl runs with children following behind her while others sing songs together. This symbolizes the fact that she will one day be a kind mother whom her children will always follow.
Ghana – Krobo population
Girls have a festival called “Dipo” which is celebrated in April. The festival lasts two days to initiate girls into adolescence. The girls are decorated in beads and wear a cloth around their waist which symbolizes transition into womanhood. The girls also have a portion of their heads shaven. Then, they take a bath in the river and eat sugar cane and peanuts to finish off the celebration.
So as you can see, we really we aren’t that different! God made this very special event for every girl. So, let me congratulate you on your entrance into womanhood! I hope you do something fun and don’t forget to celebrate!