The ritual that I have picked to write about is the ritual of high school graduation. Every high school’s graduation ceremony are similar however I will be reflecting on my own graduation ceremony. I attended one of the largest schools in Michigan so our graduation was held outdoors at our football stadium. The people attending the ceremony are a collection of students, faculty, and friend and family. The students and most of the faculty are seated on the football field in rows of chairs while the rest of the audience is seated in the bleachers. There is probably around six thousand people in total. There is also a band in attendance and they play the traditional graduation song as well as the school’s fight song. There are speeches presented by some of the faculty and a small amount of students. There is an atmosphere of pride and accomplishment around the event felt by both the people on the field and in the stands. The appropriate dress for the event is formal with the students and faculty in graduation gowns and caps. The crowd of friends and family are also generally dressed fomally with shirt and ties and dresses. The language used during the graduation ceremony in also very formal. The ceremony has a pretty standard structure that includes speeches, and then one by one in alphabetical order each student’s name is called and they get to have their moment of fulfillment as they walk in front of the crowd to receive their diploma. Once every student has received their diploma and subsequent cheers from the crowd there is another ritual inside this ritual of graduation. As a group the student’s move their tassle’s on the same side to symbolize the completion of the ceremony, the students then toss their caps in the air to celebrate this ritual.
pt 2. When analyzing this ritual of the graduation ceremony I would have to categorize it as a rite of passage because the students are going through a change of status into a high school graduate but also a change of status from a kid to an adult. The reason for this ritual being formal both in language and dress is because of the change of status involved, becoming an adult. This ritual means a lot to the participants both the student and their parents. It symbolizes an end to required schooling and a time in life where there aren’t many worries for the students. Kids still live in their parents home, they usually have no job or only part time jobs, generally there aren’t many responibilties that kids in high school have other than going to school. This means symbolically that it is time for these students to mature and get ready to be an adult and ultimately begin their lives on their own. This ritual also inspires hope and dreams for the future. The students and their families now have to start planning for an adult life that could include many things like college, full time work, marriage, parenthood and many others. I see this ritual as the first real stepping stone into their adult lives.