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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Luiseño Girls' Ceremony


One of the most striking characteristics of Luiseno culture is the integration of philosophy, theology, customs, material items, and environment. The Luiseno world is linked through concepts which are inclusive, expansive, and harmonious. The high degree of integration is difficult to express or explain simply, but can be demonstrated through example. In this paper, the ceremony to celebrate the maturation of girls (referred to as the girls' ceremony) is described, annotated, and compared to the Luiseno cosmogony or creation story in order to reveal the Luiseno worldview. During the weqennic and yuninnic the girls participated in a ritualized reenactment of the creation and ordering of the world. Their place and purpose in life were revealed, and they then hopefully experienced a continuity between their lives, their ancestors, and the past which extended to the beginning of time.

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