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Friday, July 25, 2008

Puberty ceremony

Recently when my family visited a restaurant, we saw an announcement “Puberty Ceremony” asking the guests to come to a certain place in the restaurant to be part of the celebration. My first reaction was "gosh, do girls like this?" I turned to my wife for answers. If you’re wondering what this is, read on….

In India, in many communities it is a very commonly observed function. When a girl attains menarche, families celebrate it. First, the girl will be stopped from going to school for few days for two reasons – to avoid evil eyes and to give special feeding (such as raw eggs, dry coconuts and milk) because it is believed that the girl needs strength.

This special treatment is ended with a celebration time. Most of the families invite friends, relatives and neighbors to be part of it. For the function, the girl is beautifully dressed either in half saree or full saree and decked in lot of jewelry and flowers. Guests bring gifts for the girl. If I am not wrong, the rationale behind the centuries old tradition is to inform the community around you informally that your daughter is eligible for marriage.

My immediate thought was this: In a country where it is reported to have 60% of children below the age of 14 are subjected to abuse (including sexual abuse by the family members), isn’t having functions like these counter productive to the safety of our own children? I am all for preserving the traditions but we all need to be informed about the inadvertent dangers and act judiciously. Many families choose not to follow such traditions to protect their children from embarrassment.

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Ruby

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quoting: "My immediate thought was this: In a country where it is reported to have 60% of children below the age of 14 are subjected to abuse (including sexual abuse by the family members), isn’t having functions like these counter productive to the safety of our own children? I am all for preserving the traditions but we all need to be informed about the inadvertent dangers and act judiciously."

I don't think pedophiles and sexual abusers would see the attainment of menarche as an opportunity. Pre-pubescent children and infants are also widely abused.