Girls and rituals in Burma discussion



My BIBLIPGRAPHY: IT MIGHT HELP YOU! IT ASKS ME TO CHOOSE one historical event, issue, movement or problem! I BELIEVE I HAVE CHOSEN A PROBLEM! It is that women need to have rights in Nepal! And should be treated equally in religion, tradition, and politics! I CHOSE 20TH CENTURY! PLEASE simply follow the instructions on the top! Thank you so much!




Please kindly use scholarly websites or books. Thank u






Gulsheen Kohli



“Nepal Style: Rites of Passage.” Hindu’s Today. September 2010. .


-When a girl begins menstruating, everything changes. She is no longer a child but a fertile woman, able to conceive and bear children.

– Her ability to hold and bring forth life is an auspicious thing, worthy of celebration. But menstrual blood, particularly the first time, is frightening and impure. The barah rite of passage reconciles this contradiction by “purifying the womb” before the first menstruation.

– During barah a girl goes back into the earth. For twelve days, she stays in a “cave,” a room in her house heavily curtained, with the windows papered over. Under no circumstances may she see the sun, or the face of any man, including her father, brothers and other relatives. For the first four days, she observes strict purifying restrictions.

– She may not eat salt, may not comb her hair, may not see a mirror, and must sit on straw wearing just a petticoat to eat her plain meal. Her family may still do puja and attend feasts during these four days.

-But on the fifth day, the family enters a state of pollution similar to that caused by childbirth, while the girl in barah ends her austerities and begins to beautify herself. Presented with a traditional beauty scrub made of roasted grains (kon) and mustard oil (chikan), she starts to “make herself fairer.” She practices putting on her mother’s old saris, wears silver anklets, and plays with makeup.

– For some it is joyful and even thrilling time, when they experienced at a profound level the positive value of their female bodies and the changes puberty would bring. “All of our female relatives have to come to feed us while we are in the barah,” Rajani Maharjan remembered. “They feed us special foods–roasted peas and soybeans, corn, peanuts, sugarcane, yogurt, beaten rice–all kinds of things the earth yields to give us strength. We feel ourselves to be so special.” With lots of cousins and friends in the barah room with them, the girls play games, dance, put makeup on each other and giggle.





-One hundred four- to nine-year-old girls dressed as brides. Their clothes were magnificent red brocade or gold cloth. Their hands and feet had been reddened, and they were resplendent with gold jewelry. These little girls were undergoing an initiation known as ihi.

Because there is no rite of passage for girls that explicitly corresponds to the upanayana or bartaman ritual for boys, Newars conduct the ihi ritual for pre-pubescent girls.

-the central event of ihi is a symbolic wedding, in which the girl’s father holds his daughter on his lap and gives her in marriage to a divine groom, represented by a bel (wood apple) fruit.

-In Buddhism, the groom is Sudhana Kumara, the ideal Buddha-like husband. Whichever the case, the ritual is not so much about a divine husband, but about a father and his daughter. Through ihi, a girl enjoys full membership in her father’s family and caste. It is only after ihi that a girl can marry.

-After ihi, girls are reminded to act more grown up. “They say that after ihi, we shouldn’t sit on our father’s lap anymore,” Rajani Maharjan continued. “My mother would say, you’ve had your ihi, so you should be careful about how and what you eat.”

The ihi ceremony takes two full days. Involving far more than the symbolic wedding, it is a celebration of the girls’ gender. Importance of gender, of how they are girls and how they get special treatments.

-Led by a tantric Buddhist priest and performed by their parents and other relatives, the girls are worshiped just as a queen or a Goddess would be. The ceremonies convey the message that the girl’s person is powerful, generative and good.



Greenhalgh, Jane. “A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To The Shed.” Stories of Life in a Changing World. October 17, 2015.


-“When I’m having my period, I can’t touch my grandmother, I can’t eat while she’s eating. I can’t touch the table while she’s eating. I can’t touch my father, I can’t touch my mother,” she says.

-nonprofit is working with girls and women in western Nepal to end a tradition called chaupadi

-that’s held them back for thousands of years: “When they are menstruating, no matter what, they stay outside, they eat outside and they sleep outside,” Shrestha says.


3. BOOK:

Franken, Nicki Yackley. Teens In Nepal.


Page 64- Women in Nepal usually work harder and longer than men.

-most women and teens wake up early to start the housework, without modern appliances, they wash dishes, clothes and clean the house.

-They cook over a fire or a small burner.

-Men do little to help raise the children, so woman have double the responsibility. They take care of the house as well as raise the kids.

-Female teens, have to go to school and are expected to help around the house as much as possible, equivalent to class.

-daughters and mothers work in the fields and create handicrafts. Such as baskets, jewlwery, sold for profit.

-teen girls spend hours, and many days, under the hot sun picking the ripe rice stalks or the golden wheat.

Page 58-along with marrying young, Nepali women become mothers early. More than 40 percent of nepali women are mothers by the time they turn 19.



“Lifestyle and Activities.” The Ultimate Guide To Myanmar. May 21, 2006.


-the Shinbyu or novitiation ceremony is one of the most important events in a Buddhist’s life in Myanmar. Novitiation means allowing boys to enter the Buddha’s Order of Sangha (or monks) as a novice after shaving their heads, donning robes, and asking permission in Pali to become a novice.

-in this the girls have a little role, not too much.


-When the procession begins, the boys ride the caparisoned horses, shaded with gilded umbrellas, accompanied by parents, family members and local women girls carrying sets of yellow robes, offerings and an ornate betel box.


-A band of music troupe and dancers accompanies the procession which leads to a suburban nat or spirit home where prayers and devotions are held.

-While Myanmar boys are novitiated in the Shinbyu ceremony, the girls also have an important ceremony in which their ear lobes are pierced so they can wear ear-rings when they come of age.

Unlike the novitiation ceremony, this is more a social than religious even, and Myanmar women have traditionally worn ear-rings as ornaments as well as status symbols. The ear-rings can be made of silver or gold, with or without gemstones set in them, or they can be of modern design, and are interchangeable to match the dress and to suit the occasion.

This ceremony of young girls usually coincides with the boys’ novitiation rather than being held on its own. The girl, usually a sister of the novices-to-be, can have her ears pierced on her own or in a group depending on the situation. On the day of the novitiation ceremony, the girl’s ritual is held before the novitiation so they can then join the procession.

Ear lobes were pierced, rather painfully, with a spike in the olden days, but now piercing guns are mostly used.


Mra, U. Win. Social Roles & Gender Stereotypes. 1. .


-Women also have some roles in Buddhism.


-Women’s equality ultimately starts in homes and communities, with the values that are transmitted to children by their parents, teachers and community leaders, and perpetuated by prevailing social and cultural systems

– Burmese Buddhism & Tradition A male dog is higher in status than a woman. – Traditional Burmese saying

– All women must be reincarnated as men before they are eligible to become Buddhas. Buddhist practice also restricts women from participating in some ceremonies and entering certain parts of temples. They cannot apply gold leaf to Buddha statues or



perform a number of other common offerings, and signs in temples throughout Burma demarcate areas where women are not allowed to enter

– In Burma women’s clothes cannot be dried above men’s clothes, and women’s underwear cannot be hung outside to dry. In my opinion, a piece of cloth is just a piece of cloth. We should not differentiate between men’s and women’s clothes. Women’s clothes are considered dirty just because we menstruate.

– For example, when we are offering something to the monks, they will ask, “Where is your husband?” They want to accept the donation from the husbands as the procedure is supposed to be undertaken by the head of the house. We also can’t light candles before a Buddha image as people think this is a man’s duty… I think those superstitions are followed blindly by local people, but are not the real teachings of the religion…. Even between nuns and monks there is gender discrimination. A nun cannot sit at the same level as a monk. In my opinion both nuns and monks are following the ascetic life and they renounce their lives in the same way. As far as I know the Buddha never taught such discriminations between men and women. I think that people themselves have modified the religion. I accept the ethical teaching of the Buddha such as the five precepts. What I am opposing is discrimination in every social sphere by people

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