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The Passage

  • Date Submitted: 03/29/2010 03:50 PM
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The Passage
Jessica Brewer
English 121
The Passage
My life as a teenager was over, there were no announcements, no invitations to a party, no traditional secrets given from the elders, yet I felt that a change occurred. This significant event would forever change my life.
In many cultures around the world teenager is really not acknowledged. The child becomes an adult with a series of rituals and initiations. Most have a ceremony where different rituals are performed to transition the child into an adult. The parents and the community are involved in the preparation and they all take part in the celebration. Depending on the tribe or the religious sect different initiations take place.
On a tiny Pacific Island of Pentecost boys as young as five years old engage in an ancient tradition, or precursor to modern day bungee jumping as part of the initiation for the coming of age ritual. This ritual could be considered suicidal, but in this tribe it is considered heroic and brave. The boys jump from rickety towers 100 ft. high and have to touch the ground with their head. This is to appease the God’s for a good yam harvest. This extreme ritual separates the men from the boys.
In New Guinea the young men have to put on gloves that are embedded with red ants, and endure this pain for approximately 10 minutes. The elders of the tribe support the participant, and perform dances and songs. Afterwards the man has achieved his manhood. If the young man does not participate in the ritual, or is fearful he will not be allowed to marry, own land, or participate in the community or tribal activities. He is shunned.
In the Jewish community the rites of passage happens to a boy when he is about 13. The preparation begins at least a year before the actual celebration. He learns secrets of his religious ancestors and Hebrew. He learns a series of prayer and dedication to God that empowers...


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