Rites of Passage for our Daughters

No offense guys, but today’s blog is probably not your cup of tea, unless you are a single dad raising a daughter..or two. If so, continue readings and pay close attention.


Daughters: Have you had a ceremony to celebrate your passage from young girl to womanhood? That’s right I am talking about a rites of passage that celebrates the start of your menstrual cycle. You are probably wondering – “Who celebrates the start of the curse?”. It’s not a curse, it is a blessing. The beginning of your menstrual cycle is when you becomes fertile and are able to bear life, like Mother Earth. Maybe if we had ceremonial rituals for our girls entering womanhood, there might be more reverence for our bodies and more care put into having children and our roles as nurturers.

Historically, different Native tribes celebrate this time with symbolic ceremonies. The Apache tribe calls their rites of passage, “Sunrise Ceremony” and include many activities and rituals that signify a young girl becoming a woman.  The Navajo tribe conducts an elaborate four-day celebration called the “Kinaalda“. The celebration includes dances, different rituals, and cake (I love any celebration that includes cake). Many other Native American tribes celebrate their girls crossing a bridge into womanhood.  In many African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries, a female rite of passage called female circumcision or female genital 

mutilation is practiced. While a traditional custom, female circumcision is controversial because it poses a health risk and is carried out not only on pubescent girls, but right after birth. Tissue is excised from the vulva of the female. 

In today’s American culture, this kind of positive association with womanhood is generally not considered with the possible exception of the bat mitzvah. However, I don’t believe the bat mitzvah celebrates a young girl’s first menstruation, (my Jewish readers – please let clarify for me), instead it holds a girl accountable for her actions as an adult.

When my daughter’s cycle began, I wanted to celebrate her ‘bridge‘ to womanhood and not have her consider it a curse. I bought a small, beautifully colored journal, and asked each of the significant women (aunts, grandmothers, godmother, close family friends) in her life to write their thought of her or something special that she would be able to read then and reflect on later. We had a special dinner and and she was given gifts and cards. Since no one else in our family or friends had done this before, there was no precedence and she was embarrassed “Mom how could you tell EVERYBODY!”. I just told her how special she was to me as my precious daughter.

Feel free to read more about raising a daughter in my latest book:Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! available at

I would love to hear from you if you have conducted your own rite of passage with your daughter, niece or granddaughter. Email me at


C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parent Coach

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! (220 Communications, 2013)

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  • This is beautiful. 

    However, we must remember that we do not have to mutilate girls and women as a rite of passage.  Besides, FGM does not mark the start of menstruation.  This horrific mutilation has been performed on women when they reached the age of 30 and has been inflicted on young children and even babies. 

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