People are throwing period parties (first moon parties) across the globe and we are here for it!
Periods. They’re such a staple in most women’s monthly routine that each month we reluctantly prepare ourselves for a week full of pain, mood swings and binge eating. On average, Mother Nature comes knocking around 500 times in a woman’s life, so it can be difficult to remember back to a time before them.
Starting your period can be such a terrifying time: the changes, hormones and oh my god – the spots! All these changes can be incredibly overwhelming and can make you feel like you’re the only person that’s ever felt like this, and telling your parents can feel like the most embarrassing thing in the whole entire world.
It’s no secret that there’s a lack of education around periods, sex and puberty. For most of us, memories of sex-ed classes consist of a teacher putting an ill-fitting condom onto an un-ripened banana whilst mouthy pubescent boys asked stupid questions like ‘Miss, what does fanny mean?’ – not exactly the most informative experience.
This lack of education in schools may be why in the past couple of years, parents have decided to take matters into their own hands, and have tried softening the hormonal blow for their little darlings by celebrating their child’s entrance into the world as an official adult by throwing a ‘Period Party’.
What is a period party?
Yep, you heard it. Period Parties – which also go by the name of ‘full moon parties’ and ‘red tent parties.’
This new craze burst into the media spotlight a few years ago and gained attention after a tweet went viral. The tweet showed a family throwing their daughter a ‘period party’ after she had aired her fears around starting her period. The tweet gained 14.5K likes as well as receiving lots and lots of comments, and I won’t lie to you; it was definitely a mixed bag of opinions.
However, amongst them were some super positive messages, which included people stating how they had been inspired by the family to recreate their own and how they think it’s amazing that a conscious effort is being made to remove the negative stigma around periods, but like anything, there’s always going to be some differing opinions on the matter.
Of course, it wasn’t long before celebrities wanted in on the action. Comedian Bert Kreischer spoke openly on the show ‘Coran’, where he explained how his daughter came to him and told him that “all the girls are throwing them”. So like any supportive father, he took it upon himself to organise a party equipped with red food, red drinks and period themed cake and told the host and the audience that “it was awesome”.
Supermodel Tyra Banks also spoke about the recent trend in her book written with her mum, Carolyn London, ‘Perfect is Boring’. The mum mentions how she was inspired by a programme on the National Geographic channel, where she noticed that in so many primitive cultures there was a rite of passage ceremony, in which women came together to honour and celebrate a girl who had just started her period, “It was a celebration of womanhood, and an acknowledgement of passing into another realm.”
London decided to host a party for daughter Tyra by inviting her friends, getting a cake, decorating the house and putting together a gift basket, as well as giving everyone a breakdown of all the menstrual products, explaining hygiene and going into anatomy. Tyra seemed on-board with the idea as she wrote “I appreciate that my mother never wanted me to be ashamed of anything, or to think that there was something bad or dirty about my body,”
What are the origins of period parties?
Although this trend might be somewhat new in Western societies, it seems that other cultures have always been one step ahead of us. In Apache culture, being a young girl traditionally meant that they had to partake in a sunrise ceremony, also known as Na’ii’ees, during the summer of their first menstruation. The ceremony lasted 4 days and consisted of strict rules in which the girls were not allowed to wash or touch their skin, or drink from anything other than drinking tubes, as well as re-enacting the Apache Origin Myth drawing, in which it was thought they gained power during this special time.
Bali was also ahead of the game with their traditional ceremonies, where they would throw a coming of age celebration known as Mepandes. They were teeth-filling ceremonies which involved removing the sharp edges of canine teeth and flattening the front 6 teeth to signify getting rid of negative lust, greed, anger and jealousy. The ceremony could only be performed on girls who have had their first period.
It seems that we could learn a lot from other cultural traditions because they’ve really been getting this whole ‘women empowerment’ thing right.
Period party ideas
Here’s a very important, very scientific checklist to follow if you’re looking to throw your own bash:
- Friends and family
- Vagina or tampon cake (red velvet flavour, obv)
- Red food (strawberries, raspberries, jelly)
- Cranberry juice (red wine for the adults)
- Red balloons
- Ovary shape piñata
- Cracking playlist full of female-empowering artist (Lizzo and Ariana Grande are a must)
- Period related party games – pass the period pad, what’s the time-of-the-month Mr Wolf, stuck in the blood (all the classics)
What can we learn from period parties?
All jokes and puns aside, these parties are really touching on something quite significant. They’re helping move towards turning a topic that is often deemed taboo, into something we can (and should) openly talk about. The parties’ main aims are to provide an opportunity to educate children on puberty, periods and sex and allow parents a chance to talk with their children about what is happening to their body.
No matter how you chose to celebrate this occasion, whether it is being ‘extra’ and inviting round the family, the neighbours and anyone else who’s up for a sing and a dance or just simply taking 10 minutes to sit down and talk with your daughter, it’s important to remember that this should always be a positive experience, never a negative and should most definitely never ever be embarrassing.