Rite of Passage

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“Every human being on this earth is born with a tragedy, and it isn't original sin. He's born with the tragedy that he has to grow up. That he has to leave the nest, the security, and go out to do battle. He has to lose everything that is lovely and fight for a new loveliness of his own making, and it's a tragedy. A lot of people don't have the capacity to do it.” A coming of age is a young person's transition from childhood to adulthood. In most modern societies this transition takes place on an adolescence’s 18th birthday. The celebrations of these transitions vary from culture to culture as well as religious beliefs and hence affect our opinions, views, beliefs and attitudes towards rites of passage and the foreign processes incorporated into rituals and initiations. My name is Kali Collado and I welcome you to “All the World’s a Stage Festival” where I will share with you why 18th birthdays mean different things to different people. In modern-day Australia most 18th birthday celebrations consist of large-scale consumption of booze, clubbing, strippers and drug-induced parties. When an adolescent turns 18 society recognises them as adults and are therefore given more responsibilities, choice-flexibility, benefits and independence from their parents. Turning 18 here in Australia doesn’t require us to undergo physically and mentally perilous initiations or rituals. In fact these benefits, freedom and responsibilities are handed to us on a silver platter. Unlike Vanuatuan culture, villages build wooden towers reaching heights of 100 feet or more, where boys as young as five are to jump off a certain platform with vine ropes tied to each ankle. Summoning all the courage they have, they dive from the platform headfirst. The goal of the jump is to land close enough to the ground that contact between the divers shoulders and the ground is made. These dives are two-fold; in that it’s performed as sacrifice for their gods to ensure bountiful yam crop or to initiate...
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