As a child in VIII th standard, I remember being invited to a Tuloni Biya. Back then, I had absolutely no idea what it was. Menstruation being a taboo, open discussion on such topic is hardly possible.
As I grew up, I understood that Tuloni Biya is a ritual, a symbolic wedding that is performed a few days after a girl has had her first period.
But the bigger question still lingers in my mind. Why such ritual even exists ? Dosen’t it make a young girl more uncomfortable ?
Recently (dated Septemeber 10th, 2017), I came across an article in Assam Tribune Sunday Reading by Bidisha Saikia who tried to find the bright spot in such traditions. I am quoting the relevant paras below.
In Assam, a ritual called Tuloni Biya is still performed to commemorate the attainment of womanhood. The mock marriage of one’s daughter to the banana tree signifies the girl attaining adulthood and her potential to bear a child. The girl isn’t even allowed to eat proper food till the fourth day, and she is confined to her bed in a room. Men are kept away and she isn’t even allowed to be touched by anyone
Generally on the fourth day, the girl is bathed with proper wedding ritual, using maah-halodhi (green gram and turmeric). . .
. . .There is a bright side to every story and I have always tried to find those “bright spots”. It is true that what the little girl had gone through should not be practised, but it is also true that because of these rituals and customs, we feel comfortable talking about mesturation/ puberty with our friends and family. In many schools in India, girls feel embarrassed if they get red stains on their skirt, but we don’t. It is most likely because our classmate already know about it. They know becasue most of them would have attended their female friends’ Tuloni Biya
You can read the full article written by Bidisha Saikia [email@example.com] in Assam Tribune Sunday Reading published on September 10th 2017.