Dating (not to be confused with the English word dating) ~ A Tagalog Rite of Passage of a Young Girl Transitioning to a Woman.

Menstruation rites for young girls in the early Tagalogs were a celebration of womanhood, the transition of a young girl to a woman. Like many other cultures, the Tagalogs had their own rites of passage from a boy’s first hunt, to one’s first raid, to birth, to marriage, and a young girls first menstruation.

For the Tagalogs, this rite of passage was called, dating. When a young girl had her first menstruation she was to be blindfolded by the katalonan (priestess) and secluded for four days and four nights. The only contact she received was when she was fed by one of the older women of her family, her mother, her grandmother, or an older sister. The only thing she was able to eat was the rice her older relative gave her and 2 eggs each per day and night during her seclusion, nothing more.

During this time of seclusion, her relatives and friends feasted for the 4 days and nights in celebration of her transitioning to womanhood. After the fourth night, the young girl was finally taken out of the room she was secluded in at early dawn. She was escorted out of the house and into the the nearest body of water, whether it was a lake, a river, or by the ocean. Still blindfolded, she must not touch her feet directly on dry land once she stepped out of her home. To prevent this she was to walk across planks toward the body of water and make sure she never touched the soil. Once reaching the body of water she was ritually bathed by the katalonan and then was anointed with aromatic oils and musk of the civet cat (musang). After that the katalonan removed the blindfold and the girl was sent home.

For the next two days it was another celebration but only exclusively with other women, no men, with singing, feasting, and dancing. It was then that the young girl was no longer a girl but a woman. The ritual was to ensure that the girl was able to bear children and have fortune in finding and having a happy marriage.

About The Author

Executive Editor & Founder

Ligaya is the Executive Editor & Writer at She lives in NYC with her two dogs and spends her time reading, writing, collecting and buying books online and in safe haven, Strand Bookstore, watching her guilty tv show pleasure Vikings, and overdosing herself in coffee as a certified caffeine addict. Her book, Diwatahan: A Look Into the Precolonial Beliefs, Practices, Myths, & Folklore of the Philippines, is currently in progress and is scheduled to be published in Summer of 2017.

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