Coming of Age Rituals: Section B

10 Jan

Part One:
Watch any 4 of the following coming of age videos from National Geographic and complete the handout.

Initiation with Ants
In this remote Amazonian village, becoming an adult means sticking your hand into a swarm of angry, stinging giant ants.

Wearing a Glove of Venomous Ants 
Pat takes on an Amazonian bullet ant ritual and is thrown into 24 hours of mind-numbing pain.

Fulani Initiation Rites
Benin boys move toward manhood by enduring the sting of a whip.

Brothers versus Bulls
Young men’s rite of passage requires wrangling bulls selected for their aggressive nature.

Apache Girl’s Rite of Passage
In New Mexico, the Mescalero Apache reservation prepares for a coming-of-age ritual. Over the span of four days, young Apache girls will pass through ancient tests of strength, endurance, and character that will make them women.

Knife Dancing
A ritual of passage for a South Korean girl requires dancing barefoot on top of sharp knives.

Part Two:
Sophie’s “Sweet 16” experience is quite different from many of the coming-of-age rituals you watched on National Geographic. In your view, why are some coming-of-age rituals so celebratory (like Sweet Sixteen parties, the Quinceañera, and the Bar/t Mitzvah) and others so physically or emotionally demanding? Please post your response as a comment (1-paragraph).

17 Responses to “Coming of Age Rituals: Section B”

  1. dannykw January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    I believe it depends what which culture a person id from. Celebratory come of ages are made to show the mark of the ending of childhood to go to into adulthood. While others that are physically and demanding because it shows they are able to endure pain and struggles in the future. We are have different trails that we will have to face.

  2. Elijah Font January 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    I think that coming-of-age rituals are so widely celebrated because they are celbrating the kids or people becoming a better person, adult, or a warrior. I think some are physical because the tribes/chief want to see if you can sustain pain so that when things come, you can be ready for anything. I think some are emotional because people want to get things out of them so they go long distances to get the spirits in or out.

  3. mollysigner January 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I feel that those that test physical demand versus emotional demand is because that is what their life endures more or less. Those that live in various tribes, they have to deal with the physicality of the work load. They need to be used to the physical pain for “fights” and “war” when fighting for their clan/tribe. However those that focus more on the emotional demand then the physical demand has to deal with how mature they are. I feel that those that are given less are not as mature. They don’t have easy access and have to work their whole lives while others have easy access to things that we take for granted. One example being housing, clothing, water… etc.
    Having it be a physical demand shows that they have endured things like so for a long time. Now it is just testing how strong their endurance is. They understand the concept of doing their share in the tribe and are more mature then those of their own age who have emotional demand coming of age rituals. Therefore those that test emotional demand must be exciting and more celebratory because it does not have to be as serious.

  4. Jon-Paul Jones January 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    In my opinion, it all depends on your culture. Sweet Sixteen parties are so celebratory because there usually located in the United States and they use to living the good life therefore the experience from childhood to adulthood is so easy unlike other cultures. For instance, some cultures dance with knives while others fight against raging bulls in order to show there maturity. This goes to shows that depending on where you live and your culture, determines how serious things are dealt with such as maturity.

  5. Brittany Muscat January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Having a sweet 16 is way different than the other rituals of other traditions. Every culture has different traditions for coming of age. Coming of age show the ending of a person’s childhood becoming adults. Some rituals are painful, and physically demanding because those particular rituals show that these people are strong and they are able to pass the pain for their future. Everyone is different, so every culture has to have different rituals that mean different things.

  6. snb2236 January 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Many coming of age rituals are celebratory while many others are physical or emotionally demanding. I feel like these coming of age rituals depends on the culture they have. Some people believe they have to do physical or emotionally things in order to become a man or a women. There are some rituals where in order to become a man you have to wear these gloves filled with ants at least 20 times. There are others where you have to battle someone and they both have to whip each other 3 times in order to become a man. For women there were some where you have to get painful face tattoos and dance on knifes.

  7. iWowk January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Some are celebratory while others are emotionally or physically draining because it depends on what culture a person is from. Celebratory rituals depends more on a person’s “age”, defining the line between “childhood” and “adulthood”. Whereas in other cultures, people have to endure rituals that are more painful, such as the tribe that had to endure the painful ritual of sticking their hands in gloves full of bullet ants. In general, the rituals depend on what responsibilities each person/tribe has in his or her society.

  8. kelseyiris January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    I feel that the coming of age in america in america is different from the coming of age in other cultures, because in america most of the people who live here want to make everything big and extravagant. If someone is turning 16 like Sophie and they have money they would want to whole world to know about it. They are very greedy about what they want because to them they have everything and that since they have it they can spend it. The coming of age in other cultures I feel don’t have as much as america does, so what they do is they use what they have to create a tradition, and they look inside the people that they are giving the ceremony to. They look for things that they will need in life, strength, endurance, character, women hood, and man hood. They also test these things so if they pass this test they would be able to concur these things without much struggle.

  9. Zineb Ouachtouki January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    All of these coming of age rituals were distinct and done for different purposes. Some were celebrations and other were painful initiations. Many of the initiations required men to have to go through excruciating pain to prove them selves a man. The Benin tribe required men to get whipped three times on the back while a Amazonian men had to put his hand in venomous ants. These initations were very different from American traditions which are usually parties such as Quinceanera’s, Sweet Sixteens and Bar Mitzvahs where children get gifts, money and feel perfect for one day while other people have to go through pain.

  10. Christy C. January 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    The way Sophie celebrated her 16th birthday is definitely different from the other rituals I watched. Each culture is different from one another. Some coming of age rituals are so celebratory because that’s the way the culture celebrates it. They celebrate because they obviously know it’s important to, but others are so physically and emotionally demanding because those people like to show that they are strong or they are ready to become a women/warrior. Each culture is different and they have different ways of celebrating things depending where you live and what you believe in.

  11. smr1484 January 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Sophie’s “Sweet 16” was completely different from the other videos we watched about becoming 16. I thought the rituals would be different then what we have in the U.S, but the videos I watched were all related to the gods and they looked really painful. I watched four videos and only one out of the four wasn’t painful, but you did have to dance for ten hours straight. The other videos involved standing on knives, whipping each other, or wearing poisinous gloves and it was all for their gods or so that they could go into adulthood! Now when I think about 16th birthday parties I realize how it’s kind of selfish to be throwing a party to celebrate yourself instead of doing something to really show how you’ve grown, America is absolutely crazy.

  12. jjaygregory January 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Many cultures all around the world share their coming of age experience differently and each have its own true meaning of what it means or is like in entering the adult world. Having a Sweet Sixteen in America is meant for showing your friends and family you are now an adult and you can do what you please taken in the celebrity approach. While in other cultures around the world, the coming of age celebration or ritual is more physically and emotional demanding. These cultures require that the coming of age is not just a number meant for the world to know, but a age where you carry on more responsibility in the culture and your more involved physically and emotionally. For instance the Initiation with ants documentary showed a young boy having to wear gloves full of angry red ants, which was the coming of age ritual because it showed the boy that being an adult and warrior in the tribe meant you have to sacrifice physically for other tribe mates in war and hunting.

  13. taylorcranford January 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I believe that the “coming of age” ritual is based on your religion, culture and daily lifestyle. In My Super Sweet 16, it was an over-the-top party, where everyone celebrated, danced and had a good time. In other countries, the rituals for growing up are much more demanding and physically painful. I truly think this is because in other countries they usually have to work hard for anything they get, so these rituals prepare them for any pain they might come across during adulthood. In one of the National Geographic videos, I remember the creator of the ritual saying that he was giving these people a great amount of pain, so they would be ready to be a warrior and excepted by the tribe. Rituals in other countries seem like a contest, or in other words, to see who can take more pain in without showing it.

  14. mingrc January 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    I think the country changes the tradition. Overall, the US is a modernized country and a lot of people are spoiled even when their parent’s income isn’t that high. In some parts of Africa they don’t have technology like cell phones, TVs, and cars. Maybe some rituals are more physically demanding because they don’t have much to give so they test the kids instead. A parent’s beliefs effects the ritual also. In the Apache ritual video the girl’s mother was filmed saying “I knew this is what I wanted to have for her.” The girl said she was happy and she couldn’t smile, but it still didn’t seem like she was happy at all. It looked like it was forced on her. All of the other videos made me shutter and I was slightly disturbed by them. The other ceremonies in the other countries were done to test the child’s endurance both mentally and physically. I get that it’s good to prepare kids for the hardships of adulthood, but I don’t get why they “celebrate” x number years of living by nearly killing them.

  15. Axel Aquino January 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    I think that the country you live in changes the way the tradition is celebrated or done. The United States is a very modern country then lets say some parts in Africa for example, we wouldn’t do some of the more physically demanding rituals because we don’t see some of the things as humane or even necessary. A families beliefs could also affect the rituals of coming of age rituals just like in the video of the kids that had to whip each other, if the kid lost then his family would be shamed. The kid said that it really hurt him but he was glad he won. He didn’t really glad, just hurt. Most rituals show were really physically demanding because they wanted to make the kids show how mature they are and how much they want to grow up, it’s all a test, but for sweet sixteens and quinceañeras, it’s just a big party to show people that they are growing up.

  16. David R January 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I believe that it depends on the country you’re in and also the culture you were born/raised to be in. Sweet 16’s are different than other coming-of-age rituals around the world because its more “modern”.These celebratory coming-of-age are less emotional and less physically “dangerous” because for us its just a party to celebrate our birthday. For others around the world its more personal and more important for them so they make the ritual really important for them to do. The rituals that are more physical and emotionally demanding like it like that because they know if they do it they are ready for what is to come later in their lives.

  17. Aaron Midyette February 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    I think the reason some coming of age rituals are fun is to end childhood in the best way possible before there are more responsibilities that need to be taken on. I also think this is the same kind of idea with more physically and/or emotionally demanding coming of age rituals, to prepare the participant for adulthood. Some are also a test to display the characteristics a person will need later in adulthood or are ideal traits.

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