About Apache Puberty Rituals

"Apache" is a term by the white man to over thirty distinct tribes that are similar in spirituality and culture. Even though most Native American tribal rituals have been lost because of persecution, some Apache puberty rituals still remain. One of these beliefs is celebrating the time when a boy or girl turns into an adult.

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Rituals help impress upon the individual and the tribe that the girl or boy is no longer a child. They are supposed to be treated as an adult. Also, they must act as an adult and do his or her part to best help the tribe. These rituals help and not only share a common experience with everyone else in the tribe, but also produce visions which can help answer the question, "What should I do with my life?" At the end of the rituals, the adolescent Apache should have confidence, maturity and spiritual power.
The ceremonies are pretty much dances. among these are the rain dance, the puberty right, the sunrise dance for young woman or girls, the harvest and good crop dance and the spirit dance. As well, the apache's pray on many different occasions and in many different ways ( or also called "in various ways").


Usually an Apache girl is ready for a puberty ritual when she menstruates for the first time, although some tribes wait until the girls are in their early teens, even if they have been menstruating for years. The puberty rituals for girls is usually a far more public ceremony than for the boys, who usually go on personal vision quests without much fanfare from the tribe. However, the puberty rituals for girls have survived time and persecution more than the puberty rituals for boys. There isn't a specific age a boy has to be to go on a vision quest.

Time Frame

The average time for an Apache girl's puberty ritual is four days, although the Mescalero Apache tribe has an eight day ritual. The girls go through various tasks, depending on the particular tribe. Some involve foot races, others perform traditional dances and stay up all night to greet the sun; still others grind corn for hours.

Puberty rites for boys also vary according to the tribal tradition. Usually, this involves enduring some physical hardship such as fasting and then being granted a vision that will guide the boy for the rest of his life. This ritual works on the honor system, as there is no way to prove that a boy is lying about a vision.


Apache puberty rituals, especially for girls, were banned by the American government in the late 1800's. All Native Americans were banned from religious freedom, freedom of expression and from public gatherings of more than six in a group. Mascalino Apaches were allowed to gather in unrestricted numbers only on the Fourth of July, starting in 1911. When they were unmolested for two years, the Mescalino performed the girls puberty ritual for the first time in 40 years. That any rituals survived is amazing.


Girl puberty rituals are a major holiday in Apache tribes. They don't just come together to stare at the girls performing their tasks. Lots of other events for the tribe takes place, such as games and rodeos, dance contests and feasting. It is unknown which events began before the time of European colonization.

About the Apache Sunrise Ceremony

About the Apache Sunrise Ceremony
About the Apache Sunrise Ceremony

The Apache sunrise ceremony has always been an important ritual in Apache tribes and still is today on Apache reservations. It serves as a celebration for an Apache girl's emergence into womanhood after her first menstruation. As one of the most important days of an Apache woman's life, the Apache sunrise ceremony has survived the test of time.

History of

The Apache sunrise ceremony came about from the myth of the White Painted Woman, which is passed on from generation to generation in Apache storytelling.
After the United States took over the North American continent, Native Americans were frequently discouraged from practicing rituals such as the sunrise ceremony. In the early 1900s, the United States actually banned any Native American rituals from taking place, and did not lift this ban until the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed in 1978.

About Apache Rituals

The Apache tribes mainly live in Arizona and New Mexico, along with small populations in surrounding states and Mexico. Their rituals emphasize dances, the most important being the Sunrise Dance.

Apache dressing when attending ceremony

What did thee apache indians wear when they attend a sun rise ceremony? Well head dresses of course. The Apache dancers also wore ankle wraps with bells attached on it. When they move, the bells rattles and jingles. They also wore these on there knees, elbows, and ankles. That is all for now because I couldn't find anymore about what they wore at ceremonies.

This website is about the apache's religion, but the print is very small.(It may be hard to understand)
This video is about the apache sunrise dance. May be a little hard to see, but still quite clear.
Gives you an idea of how a sunrise dance looks like.

This website is about the apache sunrise ceremonies.It talks about some question like : what is the apache sunrise ceremonie?, what myth does the apache sunrise ceremonies re-enact?, what purpose does it serve? , what does it involve? and how can i learn more about it?and you can kind of easy to understand.

In the book "The Apache A proud people" tells about apache religion. Font is perfect and the book is easy to understand. Also about what apache believe about spirits.