The Emergence of a Young Girl into Womanhood

1435 WordsJan 28, 20186 Pages
Across several different cultures, there are different ways in which people of a community recognize the emergence of a young girl into womanhood. In the United States the most common is the famous Sweet Sixteen which as in the name states: relates to being sixteen years old, getting a car, and having some sort of celebration to commemorate the birthday. Among others include the Quinceanera which is usually equated with Mexico and Bat Mitzvahs which is a Jewish girl’s rite of passage. Another rite of passage, called Kinaalda, is a puberty ceremony that holds the same importance and significance among the Navajo tribe as their creation story. Unlike American society, during the people’s lifetime there is not a time between child and adult. In the Navajo culture it seems that it is more plausible to say that the time between being a child and adult or as stated by Leighton and Kluckhohn (1947), “physical maturity and social maturity are more nearly coincidental.” Meaning unlike the American culture where the gap between childhood and adulthood is filled with an adolescence, and in the Navajo tribe this gap is not prolonged and instead this transition is commemorated by a four-night ceremony. This process begins at the Navajo girl’s first menstruation and is a way to announce to the whole community that she has become a woman. In earlier marriage customs, a year or so after the ceremony the girl would be considered ready for marriage; as a result, some felt that “a girl’s
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