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The significance of puberty rites



PUBERTY RITES
When boys and girls become of age, they need to be ushered into adulthood. Puberty rite is the ceremony performed to initiate these children into adulthood. This ceremony is usually performed after the first menstruation for the girls and a predetermined age for the boys.

SIGNIFICANCE OF PUBERTY RITES
Preservation and transmission of culture
Puberty rites help the people to transmit their culture across generations. Activities like the dressing of the girls for the ceremony, drumming and dancing; donations to the girls and their family and the preparation of some traditional dishes characterize the occasion. These practices are preserved and transmitted to the next generation.

Acquisition of life skills
One crucial feature of the ceremony is that, during puberty rites, intensive moral and ethical instructions are given to the girls by members of family or societal elders in order for the young adult to acquire the needed skills for motherhood. These instructions include how to care and maintain the body during subsequent menstruations and get groomed in preparation for marriage, motherhood and adulthood.

Honour to the girl and family
It is an honour for the girl to have stayed chaste and avoided pregnancy before the initiation ceremony. To become pregnant before the time for the rites was an abomination. The family considered it as a disgrace to the girl and family if a girl got pregnant before puberty rites.

Societal support
As a way of congratulating the one who has gone through the ceremony, gifts are presented to the girl involved. The gifts could be in the form of cash or in kind. The gifts may come in the form of cloth, cooking utensils, earrings.

Declaring that the girl is of age
The puberty rite declares or announces to the general public that the girl is of age and ripe for marriage. It then gives men the opportunity to ask for her hand in marriage and the girl can make a choice out of those men who approach her.

Promotes moral life in the society
It serves as a way of encouraging young girls to be patient and stay away from early sex until they have gone through the puberty rites. It is required that before the rite the girls are found to be virgins. Once the girls are able to keep themselves chaste, the programme is believed to promote good moral life in the society.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a. Explain puberty rites.
    b. Explain five ways in which puberty rites are important in the Ghanaian society.

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