United States – Purity balls have become a phenomenon in America, now taking place in 48 out of the 50 states. A girl pledges to remain "pure" until her wedding day, symbolically "marries" God and promises her father that she will remain a virgin until she's a wife.
The balls resemble giant wedding ceremonies, with the girls - all around the age of 12 - wearing white gowns and dancing with their fathers who promise to "protect" their daughters' chastity.
During the ceremony, fathers present their daughters with purity rings, which they wear to symbolise their commitment to virginity. In the movement, purity means no sexual contact of any kind, including kisses, until after marriage.
The concept of purity pledges exists in over 17 countries and across America, blossoming from the original purity movement that began in the USA in the 1980s. Adolescent members of church groups began taking vows of abstinence and wearing rings to symbolise their commitment as a backlash to the perceived sexual liberation of the past decades and the growing AIDS epidemic.
They soon began wearing rings to symbolise their commitment, but the idea of girls giving their virginity to their father to safeguard until marriage, and the ceremonial purity balls, developed much later in alliance with Evangelical church movements.