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Communities and cultures celebrate periods and the start of periods.

Periods or Menstruation are extensively a taboo topic to discuss in India. A bleeding woman is seen as impure and believed that her touch is capable of polluting and causing destruction. However, some communities and cultures celebrate periods and the start of periods. They see the start of the menstrual cycle as a milestone in a woman's life as it is the transition of a girl into a "young woman". People rejoice at the beginning of the fertile period with rituals and celebrations.

Ambubachi Mela

Ambubachi Mela is an annual festival celebrated at the Kamakhya temple in Guhwahati. The roots of The Ambubachi Mela lie in Hindu Mythology. People believe that the genitalia of Goddess Sati aka Shakti fell to the ground where the temple was built. Every June the temple gates are closed off for three days when the goddess is believed to be menstruating. On the commence of the fourth day the temple doors open and devotees receive a red cloth that is supposedly soaked in the goddess' menstrual blood. Then on the seventh day of Asadha, the festival takes place at one of the major Shakti Peethas where the female genitalia of Goddess Sati is said to have fallen and a cave with natural spring was formed. Notably, Devi Kamakhya is represented by a stone shaped in the form of a vulva.


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Idol of Sati at Kamakhya Temple A red cloth that is supposedly soaked in the goddess' menstrual blood.Wikimedia Commons

Raja Parba

Raja Parba or Mithuna Sankranti is a 3-day festival celebrated to honor womanhood. It is commonly believed that during these three days Mother Earth or 'Bhudevi' menstruates. A ceremonial bath is arranged on day four. The first day is called Pahili Raja, the second day is Mithuna Sankranti, the third day is Bhudaaha or Basi Raja. The final and the fourth day is called Basumati snana, on this day the ladies bathe the grinding stone as a symbol of Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth) with turmeric paste and flower, indoor, etc. during these three days women and girls take a break from work and wear new saree, aalta, and ornaments and receive gifts as a sign of gratitude. The festival also signifies the onset of monsoon in the state.

Tuloni Biya

Assamese people celebrate the menarche of their daughters by holding a small wedding to a banana tree signifying that the girl is now a woman and marriageable. The tradition is similar to a typical wedding ceremony. Girls are restricted from all activities and isolated in their rules. Relatives come over and participate in the ceremony, and the young girl is lavished with gifts.

Others

In India, there are numerous other rituals celebrating periods In Telegu called Langa Voni or half Sari function takes shape. Meanwhile, Tamils term it as Pavadai Dhavani, whereas in Kannada it is Langa Davani. The girl puts on a half-saree for the first time in her life and she will continue to wear it until her marriage when she drapes a full saree. After her first period, a girl becomes a young woman after this point in their eyes and society. The Ritu Kala Samskara or Ritusuddhi, as termed in South India is observed by the girl's family and friends.

ALSO READ: Menstruation Not a Taboo in Hindu Culture

Rituals and ceremonies may differ from community to community, the celebration is to mark the transition of a girl towards womanhood. The celebration has a history of meaning to convey to the girl that she has reached a 'marriageable age' and is being looked for as a 'potential suitor'.

Keywords: Menstruation, Hindu Mythology, womanhood, menarche, celebration, Hindu festival, bleeding goddess, Ambubachi Mela


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