We’re excited to introduce our social media intern, Fernanda. At Rites for Girls we are bringing back the coming-of-age rite of passage which gives dignity and power to girls as they journey towards womanhood.
Fernanda has a special story to tell of her experience at that time in her life:
“I always knew when I was going to turn into a teenager. Every girl in Brazil does. We talk about it with our parents, with our friends and family. We wait for it, we dream about it.
I could not believe that I was turning 15 years old already. In Brazil, this means that you are turning into a full grown woman and a teenager, and there is a very special way to celebrate this special moment: a big party with some particular rituals. My parents asked me if I wanted the ‘Quinceañera‘ (15’s party) or if I wanted to travel to Disneyland (that has been my dream forever). I chose the party. Not only because I dreamt about it for my whole life, but because I knew how important this ritual and celebration is when you turn into a teenager.
I went with my parents to choose my dress, the ballroom, every detail. I loved being part of everything. When the celebration starts, 15 couples of friends enter before you. Each of them is holding a candle, representing a year in your life. I went downstairs and my father was waiting for me. He kissed my hand and we danced a valse. While we were dancing I went to each couple and blew the candles. After the dance finished and I had blown the 15 candles, my parents gave a speech. They talked about how proud they were that I was turning into a beautiful teenager and woman and how much they loved me. My best friend also gave a speech and everyone cried, including me. After that, we sang Happy Birthday, made a toast, ate the cake and went to the “disco” to dance (that is inside the ballroom), and parents aren’t allowed. We danced until about 2am and I went home feeling that I was prepared to face my teenage years, but most importantly, that I had the support from my family and my friends, that I was strong, loved and that I would never be alone.
I wouldn’t change anything about it, I loved each and every moment of it and I loved my teenage years. I wish every girl in the world could celebrate their teenage years as we do in Brazil, and I hope this rite of passage to be alive forever.”
The final chapter of Kim McCabe’s ‘From Daughter to Woman’ is a how-to guide to create a coming-of-age celebration for your daughter, one that a modern girl can enjoy.