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The Coming of Age Ceremony
Jess had looked forward to her trip for a long time. Ever since she had heard about the opportunity at a gap year fair she had had her heart set on it. She was currently being driven down the badly maintained track to the tribe’s village and both her excitement and nerves were building.
The tribe that Jess would be living with had little contact with the outside world, and so had preserved many of their strange customs and traditions. Jess knew little about them, but was aware that at the end of her month there the annual coming of age ceremony would be taking place. She knew that this ceremony was participated in by all of those who had turned eighteen during the past twelve months and was intended to help them find a spouse. Having turned eighteen earlier that year she was fascinated to witness the ceremony.
Soon they arrived on the outskirts of the village, and the vehicle drew to a stop. The driver stepped out of the vehicle and unloaded her bags. Jess stepped out too, wondering what she was to do next, how to introduce herself. As she stood there staring in the direction of the village, the driver jumped back in the vehicle and drove off.
Jess picked up her bags and started to walk tentatively towards the outskirts of the village. It consisted of relatively crude huts, built in a circle around a central open area. Nobody seemed to be around. The village seemed almost abandoned. She wondered what had happened, and various terrible prospects filled her mind.
She walked into the central area and looked around. Suddenly she got the shock of her life. A group of completely naked men of varying ages leapt out from their concealment all around her and started to race towards her. Jess was terrified. What were they going to do to her?
As they approached, suddenly they broke into what appeared to be a dance, all moving in time to some non-existent music. She stared in shock at the display. This seemed to be some kind of welcoming party, but what a strange party it was. Not a single man in the group (which seemed to consist of men ranging from about her age right up to much older men) was wearing a stitch of clothing.
Jess had never even seen a naked man in real life before. She had attended a girl’s school back at home, and came from a protective family. She’d never even had a boyfriend. It was such a strange sight to see so many naked men all at once. Jess stole a glance at a few of their penises, which they were making no attempt to hide. She wondered if they would mind, but thought that if this was the way they normally walked around, it probably would not bother them. Jess found a few of the younger men quite attractive, and decided that it might be an even more enjoyable month than she had previously expected if the men walked around naked.
Then a thought struck her. She looked down at her own body, concealed in her western clothes, and looked back at the naked men. She knew so little about this tribe and their customs. Would she be expected to spend the month naked too? The thought horrified her.
Soon her confusion was increased further as another group of villagers came dancing out to join the other men. It was a mixture of younger boys and girls, mostly in their teens she would have guessed, and they were all fully dressed in brightly coloured clothing. She breathed a small sigh of relief at the revelation that not everyone in the village walked around naked.
Finally a group of women, ranging like the original men from around her age to much older, came out and started dancing. They too were naked and made no attempt to hide their own bodies. Unlike the men, however, they had elaborate paintings all over their body: symbols and pictures that meant nothing to Jess but which must signify something to the tribe.
Now the whole area was full of dancing villagers — the younger amongst them fully dressed in traditional tribal robes, the older completely naked and seemingly not remotely embarrassed. Finally a small group of villagers started to play traditional instruments, and the air was full of the sound of the tribe’s traditional music, mixed with the singing of the tribespeople. Jess’ nerves were starting to give way now to fascination at this strange but enthusiastic greeting.
Eventually the music and singing died down and one of the women stepped forward to greet Jess. She was a very attractive girl who looked to be around Jess’ age, and to Jess’ relief was wrapped in the tribe’s traditional robes, not naked like her older peers.
“Hello and welcome,” she said to Jess, smiling and giving a little bow of her head.
Jess was a little uncertain as to how to respond, but bowed her head back slightly and thanked the woman.
“My name is Sigma and I will be looking after you during your stay in the village,” the woman explained in good but heavily accented English.
“I’m Jess,” responded Jess. “I’m so pleased to be here in your village. That was a great welcome.”
Sigma turned to the other villagers and said something in their native tongue. A chant went up from around the group.
“They are chanting their pleasure that you enjoyed it,” Sigma translated.
Sigma introduced Jess to some of the other tribe members, both those who were senior within the tribe and those who were Sigma’s friends and family. Jess discovered that many of the older tribespeople could not speak any English, but some of the younger ones, including Sigma, had been taught English during a short lived government programme a few years earlier.
Over the next few days Jess learnt many things about the tribe. The tribe members did not usually walk around naked. Normally they would wear rather dull coloured but intricately patterned robes. It was only on major ceremonial occasions that they would vary from this normal dress. On the most special of occasions those who had not yet come of age would wear the brightly coloured robes, whereas those who had would wear nothing at all.
Sigma explained the reason for this somewhat strange behaviour. Many years ago the village had suffered a run of awful events, and the tribespeople had become convinced that they must have offended the spirits. At the time, nudity was highly frowned on within the tribe, and to be naked in public was considered a thing of great shame. It was reserved for those who had committed some major crime against the tribe — they would be stripped of their clothes and then cast out of the village.
The villagers however were desperate to bring their run of ill luck to an end, and eventually decided that the only way to appease the spirits would be for all of them to dance completely naked around the village, to demonstrate their shame at having wronged the spirits. Almost immediately after this first ceremony, the tribe’s luck had changed, and everyone became convinced that they had been forgiven by the spirits.
Now it had become tradition to disrobe for any major ceremonial event, to demonstrate their shame for any wrong they may have done previously, and to avoid the spirits becoming offended again. Only those who had not come of age yet were excluded from this obligation, because no tribesperson was deemed to have responsibility for the actions of the tribe until they had been through the coming of age ceremony.
Jess started to engage in many of the traditional day-to-day activities of the tribe, from going to collect water at the nearby lake to preparing the food to helping in making the elaborately decorated robes all the tribespeople wore. She was delighted to be gifted her own set of robes, which made her blend in slightly better than she had when she had been wearing her Western clothes.
Jess found the tribespeople extremely friendly. They rarely saw outsiders in their village, and so this fair skinned girl was very exciting and exotic to them. Jess was by any account a very attractive girl, a beautiful brunette with a great figure. She proved especially popular with the menfolk of the village. Being a traditionally shy girl who normally dressed down and made little of her looks, Jess had never had the amount of male attention that might have been expected for a girl of her looks when back at home. But here she was the centre of attention, and, after some initial reticence, she started to love her new found role.
She became especially close to one of the boys, Theta. He was the same age as Jess and was preparing to take part in the coming of age ceremony at the end of the month. Like Jess, he was a little shy, but he was a very attractive boy. He had a reputation in the village as being one of the best hunters, something which Jess would not normally have looked for in a boy, but which she could understand the attraction of in a village that was hundreds of miles from the nearest supermarket.
After a few weeks, Sigma told Jess she needed a word with her. Whilst she was pleased Jess was settling into the tribe so well, she had some concerns. Firstly, Jess had become a very popular girl amongst the young men in the village, and there had been mumblings amongst them about the amount of time she was spending with Theta. Whilst Jess might be leaving at the end of the month, Theta would be staying, and it would not be good for him to become unpopular due to the amount of time he was spending with Jess.
Secondly, it was not the done thing in the village for any girl and boy to spend too much time with each other prior to coming of age. They were supposed to socialise with everyone, so that they could get the best idea of who would make the best spouse for them. The older tribespeople particularly were concerned about their breach of custom, and concerned that Theta was not socialising with the other girls in the village to try to find himself a future wife.
Thirdly, Sigma was worried that Theta may be developing the expectation that Jess would become his future wife, and would stay in the village with him. He would be bitterly disappointed when she left the village, and Sigma felt it was unfair for Jess to lead him on, no matter how unintentionally, especially at this important time in his life.
Jess was very disappointed to hear this, but understood. She didn’t want to cause any trouble for the tribe, especially for Theta, of whom she was very fond. Over the next few weeks she did her best to spend more time with the other tribespeople, and to only see Theta occasionally. Theta seemed slightly confused and hurt by her apparent rejection, but she hoped that it would be for the best in the long term.
The day of the coming of age ceremony finally arrived. There had been a great anticipation around the village prior to the ceremony, especially amongst those who would be participating in the ceremony. It was an extremely important event for them — not only the day on which they would come of age and be able to take a full part in village life, but also the day when they were supposed to find a future spouse.
Jess had met all of the people who were to participate in the ceremony. There were four girls, Sigma amongst them, and five boys, including Theta. The imbalance added an extra degree of nerves for the male participants, as one of them was certain to end up without a partner. Not only did this mean a lonely time at the ceremony, but, given there was little opportunity to socialise outside of the village, it meant an uncertain future. There were two single girls in the village who had come of age in the past few years and not been able to find a spouse, but none of the boys were at all keen on the prospect of marrying either of them.
The ceremony started after lunch. All the female members of the tribe gathered on one side of the central circle, with the four girls who would be taking part in the ceremony at the front, and the males gathered at the other side in similar fashion. Jess was sitting close to the front, dressed in her own brightly coloured ceremonial robes that she had made with Sigma’s help over the past few weeks. Jess was rather pleased to see that none of the tribespeople were naked for this ceremony, as she would have again felt rather embarrassed.
Just prior to the commencement of the ceremony, Sigma turned to Jess.
“The first part of the ceremony will be traditional dancing with the boys,” she whispered. “I’m sure no one would mind if you took part too. After all, otherwise one of the boys will be left without a partner.”
At first Jess resisted and declined the offer. She didn’t want to invade their special ceremony, and anyway, apart from helping Sigma practice her dancing for the ceremony, she had little knowledge of how to perform the dance. However, Sigma insisted, and eventually Jess gave in. She had after all spent the last year looking forward to this ceremony. It would be the only chance in her life to take part in it. Why not?
The music struck up, and the girls, Jess included, danced into the middle of the circle, as did the boys from the other side. Each girl partnered up with one of the boys, Jess taking care not to partner up with Theta, lest she be taken to be giving him any signals.
The dancing continued for quite some time, the girls and boys regularly swapping partners. During a short break, Sigma explained to Jess that dancing was a very important part of tribal life, and that traditionally this part of the ceremony was designed to help participants test potential partner’s dancing ability, to help them make their final decision as to why they wished to spend the rest of their life with.
Jess laughed a little.
“Surely you’re not going to change your mind about your future husband based solely on how he dances?” she smiled.
Sigma looked serious for a second.
“The dances are each representative of different things. One is representative of hunting ability, another of fertility, and so on. We are supposed to be able to tell how good the boy is at these things by the way they dance.”
Jess’ smile fell a little. She hoped she hadn’t offended Sigma.
Then Sigma chuckled a little.
“Of course most of us don’t really believe that any more. It’s just ceremony. No, I decided which boy I wanted years ago.”
She blushed a little then subtly gestured to one of the boys on the other side of the circle, who was laughing and joking with a tribal elder. His name was Chi, and Jess could see what Sigma saw in him. He was very funny and a perfect gentleman. He wasn’t at all bad looking, either. There was also a rumour amongst the girls that he had been bitten on the penis by a venomous snake many years ago, and this had caused it still today to be swelled to a most impressive size. Size, it appeared, did matter to the girls in the village. It was a genuinely held belief that those with larger penises were more fertile and better lovers. Given that those who had not come of age yet would never be naked in public within the village however, nobody had any idea as to whether Chi’s penis really was as impressively sized as was believed, and Jess thought it rather farfetched.
The dancing went on for hours. At times they were joined by the other villagers, and Jess was by now very much enjoying the ceremony. Her initial inhibitions were lost. She felt very much one of the tribe and was really glad that she had not just sat out as a spectator.
Later in the afternoon the dancing finally ended and it was time for a series of trials for the villagers who were coming of age to prove themselves ready to be admitted into adulthood. The trials for the boys were of a very physical nature — catching a wild boar that was let loose in the village, an archery demonstration, even running over hot coals. The girls, in accordance with their traditional roles, were expected to show demonstrations of their needlework and to cook a meal for the entire village. Again, Jess was invited to join in, and, though her needlework was nothing compared to the standard of the other girls, the villagers were most impressed by how quickly she had learnt. She was delighted when all the villagers declared the meal cooked to be the best they had ever tasted at a coming of age ceremony.
As the light started to fade, the day entered its final section. Sigma explained that each of the villagers who were coming of age would step forward to be declared an adult by a tribal elder. They would then be expected to remove their robes and stand there naked in front of the entire village. Sigma explained that although as children they were immune from any responsibility for wrongdoing by the tribe, all adults had to accept responsibility for any wrong done by any member of the tribe, and the disrobing was a symbolic representation of their acceptance of this responsibility, and their shame for any wrongdoing the tribe had committed in the past.
“Are you… are you nervous about that?” Jess asked, very surprised at the revelation.
“Of course,” she said. “We are a very private people normally — that’s why we always wear these robes which show very little of our bodies or even their shape. It is most embarrassing for us to be naked in public, and this is even worse that the big ceremonies like you witnessed when you arrived. Almost everyone else will be dressed — it will only be the new adults who will be naked, and it will be our very first time revealing our bodies.”
Jess felt bad for Sigma and the others, and was very glad that she would not have to undress in front of the rest of the tribe.
First it was the turn of the boys to be inducted into adulthood. The first boy stepped forward and bowed his head slightly before the great tribal elder who was stood in the centre of the circle. The elder recited a long chant, which Sigma whispered was welcoming the boy to adulthood and explaining his rights and responsibilities. The boy chanted back, accepting the welcome and agreeing to do his best for the tribe and to abide by its laws and customs. Then the elder made a gesture by pulling on his own robes.
The boy looked around at the entire group assembled nervously, then, as quickly as he could, removed the robes and dropped them on the ground. A chant went up from the entire tribe, welcoming him to adulthood. He looked rather embarrassed at his nudity and all the attention, but did his best to smile.
Jess looked at his body, especially his crotch. A feeling of excitement welled up inside her. She had only once before seen naked men, on her first day in the village, and then she had been rather too nervous to enjoy the sight much. Now she was determined to enjoy the five naked bodies, the five exposed cocks that would be presented in front of her. She was especially looking forward to seeing Theta naked, although she also couldn’t wait to find out in the rumours about Chi’s penis were true.
The first boy went back to the edge of the circle, and another of the boys approached the centre. Again, he went through the same process. However, upon him removing his robes Jess noticed almost immediately that he had a partial erection. Jess found the sight of an erect penis even more exciting that the flaccid penises she had already seen, and could feel her own body starting to respond to the sexually exciting nature of the events. She looked at Sigma, wondering if she was feeling the same, but Sigma was just staring into space, seemingly more concerned about her own exposure to the group.
Next up was Chi, and that did get Sigma’s attention. Jess wished that the chanting wasn’t nearly so long, and her excitement grew as the moment of exposure grew closer. Finally, after only a second’s pause to take a deep breath, Chi removed his robes. Whilst she still doubted that a snake bite was the reason, Jess had to admit that Chi did indeed have a penis of a most impressive length, even in its largely flaccid state. Jess tore her eyes away from his cock for a moment to look at Sigma, who’s eyes were clearly fixed on a very specific part of his body. Sigma had a wide smile on her face.