Reclaiming your ancestral practices is as eye-opening as it is empowering. As you continue to research and reconnect, you’ll find that family traditions play a huge part in keeping cultures alive. Across the diaspora, people have been reconnecting to their ancestral practices through waist beads. To reintegrate the ancient adornment into your family's traditions, consider gifting waist beads to your loved ones for these major life events.
Many cultures have gifted waist beads to young women after having their first menstrual cycle for centuries. This tradition marks this pivotal moment in a young woman’s life by connecting it to a beautiful adornment. Your family can choose other coming-of-age markers as well such as an 18th birthday or a high school graduation. Make sure your new tradition reflects your family’s values.
Waist beads have long been gifted to brides and bridesmaids to be worn at the wedding ceremony. In many cultures, the groom’s family gifts the waist beads to the bride. But to ensure your family keeps your newfound tradition going, consider having your family elders — your mother, grandmothers, or aunts — gift and tie on the beads!
We all have life goals that we set for ourselves and actively strive to achieve. Anything from career, weight loss, language learning, or travel goals take time, discipline, and conviction to complete. These big moments are great to honor by having a family member gift you a pair of waist beads. Not only does this tradition hold you accountable, but it also keeps the family up-to-date on each other's dreams and accomplishments!
Bringing new life into this world is a good reason to celebrate! Waist beads worn by pregnant women are tied to hang at the lowest part of the waist so that the baby has space to grow comfortably. Tiny sets of waist beads are also gifted to newborns to welcome them into the world. Your family might consider gifting the waist beads at the baby shower, the naming ceremony, or the baby’s first day home.
While establishing your family’s waist bead traditions, make sure you keep the love you have for one another and the pride in your heritage at the base of your practice.