Coming-of-Age Rituals: Itercresco

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Make-up. High heels. Driving. Shaving. Dating. These are most of the undertakings that accompany maturing and becoming a young adult in the western society. For some in the western culture, the coming of age ritual is the allowance of these freedoms. In other cases and cultures, the coming of age ritual is often based on deeply rooted traditions and a heightened sense of grandeur. Whatever they may be, coming of age rituals are integral to our society, to our inner growth, and to our development as people. In this generation, “young people however, do not suddenly feel adult upon reaching the landmark legal ages. Instead, they view these ages as representing starting points for adulthood rather than as things that immediately render them adult,” (Waters 171). The coming of age rituals avail in establishing a heightened sense of responsibility to young adults, which in turn benefits our society; these rituals cause a person to feel seasoned and as if they are truly coming into their own. At this point in their lives, young adults are akin to baby sea turtles that have almost made it to the ocean; they are crawling to the ritual that will “make” them an adult. Itercresco not only enables adolescents to discover their roots in the context of cultural traits, religious spirituality, and relevant philanthropy, which will assist them in becoming productive members of society. With attention to common perceptions of “adulthood”, Itercresco interlaces practices such as volunteerism and going to an art museum to encourage the youth to be emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially independent. “Itercresco”— the name is a combination of the Latin translations of the words “growing” and “journey”. The ritual, which occurs at the age of sixteen, involves seven months living in the country and town from which either the teenager’s mother’s or father’s family originates; the young adults have the option to choose the region they wish to further explore. If there is still family living in the town or city, the teenager may spend one out of the seven months with the relatives if they allow them to. If the young adult no longer has family in that vicinity, they will live on their own and off of the land as much as possible for the duration of the seven months. The adolescents are sent away with seven thousand dollars and half of these funds must be used for philanthropic purposes. The rest of the money must endure the seven months, but they are allowed to find work. In fact, acquisition of employment is highly encouraged, as it will further fuel attention to a responsible persona. The funds for the philanthropic aspect cannot simply be donated; it must be actively used to benefit the town or city. In this day and age, preparation of the nation’s youth for the fast-paced society they are subjected to is integral. Itercresco seeks to ready adolescents for the “real world” by exposing them to society in a mature light and fashion. This generation requires a well-rounded persona in order to be successful. Being cultured is imperative in our community; knowledge of classic literature, film, art, and music seems to be the necessity in the modern time. For example, trips to the Louvre in Paris and Gershwin Theatre in New York City can drastically provide new outlooks on life as well as knowledge not previously present. Self-discovery and understanding on a religious level is also an integral aspect to being a productive member of society; apprehension of one’s inner self and a sense of self-awareness serve as foundations for being self sufficient and independent. Spending time immersed in learning about the spiritual aspects of different religions and examining one’s own views on spirituality and religion can provide immeasurable wisdom and erudition. A simple trip to a mosque or synagogue can shed light on a myriad of beliefs and ideals that may shape one’s future outlook on life. Giving back to the community and having a...
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