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ADOLESCENT RITES OF PASSAGETRANSITIONING FROM CHILDHOOD TO ADULTHOODBY: ANNA LETSCHERARGOSY UNIVERSITY
INTRODUCTIONWhat is adolescence? Adolescence is the transitional stage between childhood and adulthood. “The process of adolescence is a period of preparation for adulthood during which time several key developmental experiences occur. Besides physical and sexual maturation, these experiences include movement toward social and economic independence, and development of identity, the acquisition of skills needed to carry out adult relationships and roles, and the capacity for abstract reasoning” (World Health Organization). This presentation will examine the rites of passage between adolescents North American, African and South American cultures. The similarities and differences of the physical, cognitive and socioeconomic changes faced by the adolescents will be identified.
WHAT IS RITE OF PASSAGE? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?•What are Rites of Passage? “Rites of passage are powerful social events that help guide and affirm a transition from one status in life to another. One of the most critical transitions is from adolescence to adulthood, where much hangs in the balance. Youth will either progress into adulthood with life trajectories for success (responsibility, financial independence, healthy relationships) or difficulties (crime, unemployment, irresponsibility)” (Scheer, Gavazzi & Blumenkrantz, 2007). •Why are they important? Rites of passage provide the means for adolescents to ‘sculpt’ their own lives. They help keep adolescents on course and navigate the rollercoaster journey of the stage of adolescence. “Our basic human nature yearns for rites of passage, to be initiated into a group, to be recognized and to be accepted for who we are. ” (Holmes).
RITES OF PASSAGE (AFRICA, SOUTH AMERICA, NORTH AMERICA) Okiek, Kenya •Initiation between ages 14-16 for both genders (boys & girls) •Males circumcised and females excised. Secluded from each other and society from 4-24 weeks. •Paint themselves with white clay and charcoal, so they appear as wild creatures. •Secret knowledge passed on by the same sex elders •Initiation ends when each initiate has seen and held the instrument used to produce the roar of a mythical beast, and is able to produce the roar themselves. Tukana People-Northwest Amazon, South America•For girls, passage into womanhood begins at the start of menstruation. •Rites of Passage lasts from 4-12 weeks. •Secluded in a small room within the family abode•Initiate is considered to be in the underworld in increasing danger from the demons. Remains in seclusion two extra days and paints body in black paint to protect from demons. •Seclusion ends on day 3, she returns to society where festivities begin, including dancing until dawn.