The Coming of Age Ceremony

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Updated: 2015-09-11

The Coming of Age Ceremony

Two young Mosuo people wearing new dresses for the Coming of Age Ceremony. [Photo/]

Mosuo people are usually raised by their grandmothers, mothers, sisters and uncles on their mothers’ side, since they have maternal families. They obey their mothers and seniors in the family, distributing food and other things to elders first. They also have unique cultural customs, among which is the Coming of Age Ceremony.

The Coming of Age Ceremony is very important for Mosuo people. It is usually held on the first day of the lunar New Year, when the kids are 13 years old.

The girls start wearing their hair in long plait s. At the ceremony, theystand in a “Goddess Column” wearing new white or sky-blue dresses with red belts. They also wear red flowers in their hair.

Boys stop wearing long gowns and start wearing their people’s adult clothes, jackets and pants with colorful belts. At the Ceremony, the kids step on pork with one foot and grain bags with the other, symbolizing abundant food and clothes for their entire lives. They then salute the older generations of the family and visit relatives to receive their good wishes and gifts. Finally, there is a banquet to treat friends and relatives.

This ceremony marks the beginning of adolescence for Mosuo kids. From then on, the girls begin to learn financial skills from their mothesr while the boys learn from uncles on their mothers’ side. They are admitted as a part of the family from that day on.

The details of the ceremony may differ among different regions but the general ceremony is more or less the same.


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