It has all the ingredients of a wedding. The proud tuxedo-clad father, the frosted white cake, the limousines and an exchange of vows.
But there is no groom and the girl in the long gown is no bride. She’s daddy’s little girl, there to take a vow of chastity.
In what is becoming a trend among conservative Christians in the United States, girls as young as nine are pledging to their fathers to remain virgins until they wed, in elaborate ceremonies dubbed “Purity Balls.”
The gala affairs are intended to celebrate the father-daughter relationship.
The highlight is when the fathers and daughters exchange vows, with dad signing a covenant to protect his daughter’s chastity by living an unblemished life and the daughter promising not to have sex until marriage.
Many fathers at the ceremonies also slip “purity rings” around the finger of their misty-eyed daughters or offer them “chastity bracelets” and other jewelry that the girls can entrust to their husbands on their wedding night.