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The Menina Moça rite represents the transition between childhood and entry into adulthood within the indigenous community of the Nambikwara people.


This ritual is performed when the young woman goes through her first menstrual cycle, becoming a public girl (wa'yontãdu, "menstruated girl").


At that moment, she is taken to a seclusion in a circular construction called “tamuio”, made of straw and jusseira rafters, which is specially erected by her parents for this purpose.


For the Nambikwara, the tamuio symbolizes the cocoon where the butterfly awaits its complete transformation into adulthood.


During this period of seclusion, the young woman receives guidance and instructions from women in her family and community, preparing her to carry out the responsibilities of adult women of her ethnic group.


Amid flutes played, chants, dances and sports competitions, the villages in the community celebrate the girls' transition into adulthood.


The whole community gets involved, from planning the event to acquiring the necessary materials and food, in addition to receiving guests from other regions.


The ceremony includes a set of vocal songs known as “menstruating girl songs,” which are inextricably linked to the female puberty rite of passage and are sung exclusively during this ritual. In addition to the vocal songs, they also perform a repertoire of “flute songs”, using wind instruments made specifically for the occasion.


Despite being a secular practice among the Nambikwara, carrying out this rite is not without its challenges. In order to preserve the culture of the Nambikwara people, the Instituto Amazonas is offering support for the performance of the ritual, as well as the production of traditional handicrafts and the establishment of community gardens for the consumption of foods typical of this ethnic group.

Objectives connected to this initiative:



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