News of the Weird

  • by: Chuck Shepherd
  • Updated: October 24, 2007 - 4:58 PM

In the northern Albanian countryside, about 40 women still practice an ancient tradition as "sworn virgins." The young females renounce sex forever in exchange for being treated as men, according to an August Washington Post interview of Elvira Dones, an Albanian native who recently completed a documentary on the subject. The oath is usually taken in front of a town's elders, and the likeliest candidates come from homes in need of a male head of household (because of death or abandonment). Even in such a male-dominated society, according to Dones, men seem to accept the "sworn virgins" as equals.

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