First some caveats:
1) This ritual assumes enthusiastic (even though possibly shy or eye-rolling) consent of the newly menstruating person! Some kids might love this; others might be slightly embarassed but still secretly enjoy it; others might find it extremely unpleasant and/or invasive, which is the opposite of the goal (to celebrate this passage). If you are an adult wishing to celebrate the onset of menstruation for a young person who does not wish to have it celebrated, please simply write them a letter for them to read on their own time containing your blessings and good wishes.
2) This was created with cis girls in mind. For non-binary, gnc (gender non-conforming) or trans kids, this may well not be appropriate (unless it is!). I wrote this in response to a friend who has a cis daughter and asked for support, and I am sharing in that vein.
The below could be done with just one adult and the young person, or any combination of additional adult or teen friends, auntie figures, grandma, etc.
In person is great, or virtual can allow for distant community. And it can be literally 5 minutes or it can expand into a longer thing—whatever feels right for you and your young one.
I offer these suggestions for you to play with and make your own!
I have found that two basic elements are separately very powerful and can be even more so in combination: blessing (words), and ritual (body).
The blessing element consists of spoken and/or written words. These can be traditionally “religious” (Shehekheyanu, priestly blessing); however, also very powerful are simple lists of “Blessings I wish for you as you continue to grow” and lists of “What I love and respect and honor about you” reflections of her. These blessings could be written and read out loud, and maybe given to her to treasure, or can just be spoken spontaneously. If other teens/adults are present it can be a nice circle sharing, with each person offering a blessing for the future and a reflection of the girl’s current self/wonderfulness. You can also invite the girl to speak her own blessings for herself, or her wishes for the future, or honor aspects of her own self, or ask questions.
The ritual element involves simple bodily actions which help us connect to magic, time and each other beyond the realm of words. There are so many ways to do this; they are truly infinite. Some elements can be:
1) FIRE: lighting a beautiful candle or just a simple tea light—lighting it to begin the ceremony and blowing it out together to close the ceremony
2) WATER: speaking those blessings (from above) over a pot of special herbal tea as it’s brewing and then drinking it together to take the blessings in and enjoy fruits of the earth (I often like to offer some tea to the earth as well, pouring it out)
3) EARTH: connecting through food and plants, something as simple as having raspberries or red candy or other fruit present to eat during the ceremony, to honor the sacred act of bleeding and the cycle of reproduction
4) AIR: giving a gift she can treasure for years to come (a small piece of jewelry or hand-me-down for example, doesn’t have to be fancy) as part of the ceremony
Other nice ideas:
5) presenting her with flowers
6) drawing her a bubble bath w/candles to end the ceremony and letting her relax in there alone, if she likes that sort of thing
In my opinion, it should be what feels fun and exciting to you as well as the girl, and not stressful—but it’s also normal to feel a little nervous and weird about doing a new ritual, so you can just let that discomfort be there and not worry too much about it.
Blessings to all of us in all of our transitions!