why are coming-of-age ceremonies so important?
Adolescence is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood. There are 3 stages: early adolescence (10-13), middle adolescence (14-17), and late adolescence (18-21 and beyond). Early adolescence includes some big physical changes as well as changes in the way a young person relates to family, friends, and the world. Children begin to bond in relationships with close friends, which usually takes precedence over family relationships. The many physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that happen during this time can bring a mixed bag of anticipation and anxiety for both children and their family. Therefore, why not embrace this inevitable change with acknowledgement, compassion, and celebration?
Coming-of-age ceremonies are an opportunity for both the child and parent(s) to create a memorable and educational, rite of passage. As the child is transforming into a young adult, this ritual involves the releasing of some parts of their childhood; old roles, perspectives and behaviors that no longer serve their highest good; and in return, they gain young adult responsibilities and privileges. Friends and family are encouraged to give support in the preparation process, which can be months or weeks, for the young adult.
The age at which coming-of-age ceremonies occur and how, depends entirely on where they live and what culture they grow up in. Ceremonies are designed with the child’s interests in mind. These rites of passage ceremonies can begin as young as age 10 when some girls begin menses; to 18+ as children are moving out of their family home.
To learn more about other cultures around the world and how they celebrate coming of age, check out this article: