Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Childhood: Coming of Age Rituals: Sub-Saharan Africa: West Africa
(1,434 words)

A rich literature in anthropology has focused on rites of passage through which children attain adult standing in their communities, often by transcending some form of ordeal. Female initiation rituals are, in general, thought of as being smaller and less dramatic than males' and tied more closely to the individual's onset of puberty. In West Africa, however, women's coming-of-age rituals have often been elaborate and invested with layers of spiritual, social, cultural, and political significanc…

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Hernlund, Ylva, “Childhood: Coming of Age Rituals: Sub-Saharan Africa: West Africa”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 24 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0163c>
First published online: 2009

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