Puberty Ceremony Run
Image Credit: Tyrell Descheney
Puberty Ceremony Run
When a young girl gets her first menstrual cycle, a traditional Navajo puberty ceremony is conducted for her. Getting her first menstrual cycle represents that she has become a woman in Navajo society.
Within the days that the ceremony is conducted, she is encouraged to run early in the morning and later in the evening. Before the Sun rises and before the Sun sets. In some cases, she runs in the afternoon as well. Some ceremonies take 4 days to finish, some take 2 days. It all depends on what the family wants.
Each time she runs, she is followed by friends and family who encourage her to keep going further. With each run to each direction, she runs a little further than before. Those who follow her are told to shout noises. Shouting allows the other people know what's going on so they'll acknowledge their child or granddaughter in a respectful manner.
While running, no one is allowed to pass her. Before the can turn around, she runs clockwise around a bush before running back to the hogan. She's told not to look back no matter what. Running through the door and into the hogan, they follow her inside and wait for everyone to finish.
From there they continue with their day whether it be grinding more corn, making food, or simply just talking to her about her role in Navajo society.
On her last run of the ceremony, she is molded while laying on layers of blankets, deer hide and a buffalo robe. One particular individual is chosen to mold her into the lady she'll become.
They say the young girl will take on the characteristics and personality of the chosen one. It can be either a male or female who molds her.
It varies between each family.
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