M5_A1 - Rites Of Passage to Adolescence Rites Of Passage to...

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Rites Of Passage to Adolescence By: Shlomo Avraham Argosy University Online Rites Of Passage to Adolescence 1
Abstract In this paper we will review three different cultures, from three different areas of the world, and how they develop from young children into adolescents. We will get a change to explore rituals and ceremonies that are traditional in those cultures, and compare them with those acceptable in America. Our two other cultures for this matter are the Maasai tribe from Kenya, Africa, and the Jewish people from Israel. While we discuss the traditional and ceremonial events taking place, we will also examine the conceptual life of adults within the culture, in order to better understand what role models are playing part in the young people’s life. We will use the findings from the two cultures as comparison with the American rites of passage as they reflect in our society. Focusing on both Maasai and Jewish culture brings two different perceptions. While Jewish culture relies on traditional religious milestones, the Maasai rely on traditional tribal goals. For example, while in Jewish culture the birth of a child is celebrated eight days after birth with circumcision, as a bond between god and Jacob, Maasai celebrate their newborn’s new life upon name giving, based on traditional names from animals and spirits. Rites Of Passage to Adolescence 2
Maasai rites of passage In the Maasai culture there are a few rituals that symbolize the tribe member’s achievement of reaching a certain goal. It is important to remember that Maasai members are raised to be warriors. A warrior’s position allows the tribe member to defend its territories. However, the Maasai do not engage too much in tribal wars these days, instead they mostly shepherd their cattle and grow crops in the fields. They do not hunt as much either accept for lions (Maasai Association, 2011). There are a few traditional rites of passage in the Maasai tribe member’s life. They include milk drinking ceremony, meat eating ceremony, earlobe ceremony, leg burning ceremony, junior elder ceremony, senior boy ceremony, warrior shaving ceremony, and the most important one, circumcision. The circumcision defines the complete passage from childhood to adulthood and once the circumcision wounds heal (around 8 months) the young boy is declared to be a warrior (Danson, 2010). The Maasai perform a pre-circumcision process in which the young boys between the ages of 11 to 14 travel their land for four months. This is a symbol of announcing their formation of new age set (Maasai Association, 2011). The night before the initiation ceremony the boys have to

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