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young fishing girl

Young Fishing Girl

Many coming-of-age ceremonies are to acknowledge the passing of a girl through puberty, when she experiences menarche, or her first menstruation. The traditional Apache coming-of-age ceremony for girls is called the na'ii'ees (Sunrise Ceremony), and takes place over four days. The girls are painted with clay and pollen, which they must not wash off until the end of the rituals, which involve dancing and rituals that challenge physical strength. Girls are given teaching in aspects of sexuality, confidence, and healing ability. The girls pray in the direction of the east at dawn, and in the four cardinal directions, which represent the four stages of life. This ceremony was banned by the U.S. government for many decades; after being decriminalized by the Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, it has seen a revival.
• Preparing girls for marriage
In many ancient societies, girls' upbringing had much to do with preparing them to be future wives. In many cultures, it was not the norm for women to be economically independent. Thus, where a girl's future well-being depended upon marrying her to a man who was economically self-sufficient, it was crucial to prepare her to meet whatever qualities or skills were popularly expected of wives.
In cultures ranging from Ancient Greece to the 19th century United States, girls have been taught such essential domestic skills as sewing, cooking, gardening, and basic hygiene and medical care such as preparing balms and salves, and in some cases midwife skills. These skills would be taught from generation to generation, with the knowledge passed down orally from mother to daughter. A well-known reference to these important women's skills is in the folk tale Rumpelstiltskin, which dates back to Medieval Germany and was collected in written form by the folklorists the Brothers Grimm. The miller's daughter is valued as a potential wife because of her reputation for being able to spin straw into gold.

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