MATACO (Gran Chaco, Argentina)
regard the initiation of girls as an introduction to marriage. This
initiation consists in the girl's seclusion—or better—segregation from
everyone apart from her mother. It comes as a prolongation of her first
menstruation, and the long isolation is spent in continual work making caraguatá cord.
It is considered very important that this work should be performed rapidly
and well in order that an impression can be formed of the girl's ability as
regards her main occupation in the future. As a rule the end of seclusion is
marked by an aloja
festival during which the girl looks around for a man. That same night she is
able to take him with her to her home and allow him to sleep with her”.
Karsten (1932): “As soon as a girl has passed
her first menstruation she is considered free to choose for herself
occasional lovers, and generally she does not delay in making use of this
right”. Equally: “Among the Tobas, as among most Chaco tribes, pre-nuptial chastity is
almost unknown, great sexual liberty being allowed both boys and girls before
marriage. As soon as a girl is marriageable, that is, has passed her first
menstruation, she may choose casual lovers, and generally she does not fail
to make use of her freedom”.
Métraux (1939): “It is the moon who sleeps first
with the girls and that is why they menstruate. She [girls] may not marry or
have sexual intercourse until after her first menstruation”.
D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin:
Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology
revised: Sept 2004