THE IMPORTANCE OF COMING-OF-AGE RITUALS
Nationalities, faiths and ethnicities (all multigenerational groups, really) recognize the importance of grooming their future members. The survival of their culture depends on it. Because grooming future members is so vital, coming-of-age rituals are often celebrated by the entire community – making these events a really big deal. This builds kids’ sense of pride in belonging and pride in their role in society.
These ceremonies are a big deal for kids. They are anticipated and talked about throughout their childhood as they watch older siblings and friends don the mantle of adulthood. Other than birthdays, there are few other times when the focus is exclusively on them – when they can experience the pride their parents and teachers feel.
This year the pandemic has denied many kids the full-blown celebration that most of us experienced. I expect they will always feel a little less ‘launched’ – that they simply migrated without fanfare. I hope we can find a way to change that. It would be good for all of us.
Check out these articles about coming-of-age rituals in the Native American community and beyond. – SA