Fascinating first-period traditions around the world

Caroline Laffer | 12 November, 2021

Fascinating first-period traditions around the world

In this modern age and time, there are still plenty of cultures out there that practice or follow certain traditions when a girl hits puberty or first period. It could be a huge party to some or a bloody bath to others; but bottom-line is, it really depends on where you live and what beliefs your parents or grandparents have growing up.

Puberty for girls are usually within the ages 10-14, and it's when they develop their breasts, their pubic hairs start to grow, and they could have their first period during this time, too!

As a woman and a mum, I know how scary it is to think about having your first period and seeing blood down there, so having these traditions actually serve as a safety net to a lot of tweens and teens (and mums) out there that everything's going to be alright.

So we've done our research and found these fascinating first period traditions being practiced in some countries, which you might enjoy sharing with your tweens and teens!

South Africa

In South Africa, a big party will be thrown in honour of a girl's first day of womanhood. Her friends and family give her gifts, but she can't leave the house for three days.

"You have a party thrown to celebrate your transition into womanhood where you don't leave the house for three days, then get presents."

- Nyiko, South Africa (source: BuzzFeed)

Italy

Have you heard the word "signorina?" That's what Italians call a girl who just got her first period. It means 'miss' or 'young lady.' Her family and relatives then inform everyone who knows her that her period has arrived. 

"It can become kind of awkward when your parents' old friends all congratulate you."

- Maria, Italy (source: BuzzFeed)

Philippines

In the Philippines, they have this age-long belief that when a girl gets her first period, the mother should wash her panties full of blood with plain water, then smear it into her daughter's face to prevent her from having pimples. Girls are also encouraged to jump three steps from the stairs to only get 3 days of menstruation. Wooah! 

"My mum rinsed my underwear (literally just with water) and smeared it all over my face because she said it would prevent pimples in the future."

- Shane, Philippines (source: BuzzFeed)

Israel

Period customs are quite delicious in some countries! Like this one in Israel. Girls who got their first period are required to lick a spoon-full of honey because they believe that it would make their future periods 'easier' and more manageable. Tasty, at least!

"You need to lick a teaspoon of honey to make the future periods easier."

- Peleg, Israel (source: BuzzFeed)

Canada

Here's another fascinating period tradition that involves food! If a Canadian girl gets her first period, she must undergo a berry cleanse where she's not allowed to eat berries for a year. She's allowed to collect them, but not eat them. After a year, that's when she is finally able to eat berries again - this is their way of celebrating womanhood!

"Once you get your first period you go on a berry cleanse where you don't eat berries for a year."

- Anonymous, Canada (source: BuzzFeed)

What first period traditions do you have, where you're from? We'd love you to let us know by sharing this blog to your socials and tag us using the hashtag #knickedblogs.