In Van Lam village, Ninh Thuan province, Central Vietnam, Cham girls usually in groups of around 5, undergo a Karoh (maturity) ceremony, one of the most important ritual events of their lives and if it has not taken place, the girl cannot marry.
After a purification ritual, the girls prepare for the main ceremony by dressing in a white dress and then putting on bronze, copper and sometimes gold jewellery. The girl’s hair is brushed and put up into a bun. Afterwards each girl is given a traditional yellow robe and her head is covered with a red woven cloth and then the head priest places his hand on the girls head, recites a prayer and cuts a small lock of her hair.
The Cham, a Muslim community of around 39,000 people living along the coast of Central Vietnam are one of the 54 ethnic groups recognised by the Vietnamese government.