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Initiation Rites Of Womanhood Analysis

Decent Essays
The Initiation Rites of Womanhood: An Analysis of the Connection of the Sande Costumes of Sierra Leone and Human Communication This communications study will definer the important ritual of the initiation rites of womanhood in the symbolic use of costumes as form of human communication in Sierra Leone. The Sande female society in Liberia, Sierra Leone has a long standing tradition of using the Bundu Mask and hair-covered costume as a way for older women to welcome girls into womanhood after their three-month seclusion in the forest. In this manner, the costume serves as a symbolic welcoming gesture to young women that are entering into womanhood by the elder women of the community: On this occasion, the masks are worn by women with some rank in society to welcome the younger women at the end of their three-month seclusion in the forest. The…show more content…
In modern times, the Sande costume is still used in the fertility/coming-of-age ritual, yet women in Sierra Leone are extremely aware of the ancient form of communication that it represents in the 21st century: “The traditional costume is indeed worn in the bush, but the girls return to ordinary life dressed in the most up-to-date Creole fashions” (Little 56). In this way, the girls and the older women partake in wearing the costumes, which represent an ancient confirmation of womanhood within the context of modern 21st century culture. The Sande female society utilizes the symbolic costumes of fertility and womanhood as way to communicate an acknowledge identity in the community. This is an important aspect of how women communicate with each other in these intensively ritualistic aspects of the coming-of-age traditions in Sierra Leone. These are important modes of human communication involving the Sande coming-of-age costumes for females in Sierra
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