The rituals and rites of passages in American Culture vary by many factors including region, gender, age and religion. I believe that many rites of passage occur at milestone birthdays and major life events. At age thirteen, there is a change of perception from child to adolescent. With that change comes more responsibility leading to maturity. Around that age is when adolescents begin to transition from middle school to junior high to high school following through a rite of passage. During high school is when when many experience their first real emotional relationship. That also leads to an increase in maturity and emotional development. I believe it is common to have first sexual relations while in high school. That is the time period when hormones amplify and bodies begin to mature. These experiences are the start of transition into adulthood. Another ritual is turning sixteen and gaining the ability to drive a car. This is a period of learning and once again obtaining more responsibility. The next major ritual one goes through is high school graduation. Which marks the start of adulthood along with their eighteenth birthday. They are given options and choices including furthering their education, whether that is at a college or trade school, or entering the workforce. The decisions made at this age tend to dictate the direction of their lives and that is a lot of pressure on someone so young. If they choose to enter college they begin another rite of passage. College students are most often than not, living on their own for the first time. This is a time when maturing is crucial. Managing their education as well as a social life and job are skills picked up along the way. A ritual that occurs during this time is a twenty-first birthday, where drinking becomes legal. As said in lecture, this is a time when college students have responsibility but do not consider themselves actual adults and tend to behave as so. Graduation from college marks the start of professional and responsible living. Many begin careers or start a family which upon itself has many rituals and rites of passages including marriage and children. All of these experiences constitute rituals and rites of passage that the majority of the population go through.
As for myself, I grew up in Northern Michigan, in a small rural town where rituals and rites of passage differed slightly from what I mentioned above. One of the first rituals I was a part of would be my baptism at 6 months old. That was followed by my first communion at age 10. These experiences were not necessarily my choice but were significant events in my life. A rite of passage that I went through at age thirteen was a process in gaining responsibility. At this age I was given the opportunity to take a hunting safety course and participate in a youth hunt. This was a large event in my hometown. This signified that you were responsible and mature enough to be given lessons on life and death and understood the significance of each. I was also taught to be thankful and to always use the animal for a dutiful purpose. Nothing was put to waste, everything was used in someway by my family or donated to another who could use it. I also experienced the rituals and rites of passage through high school and into college.
College is often a transition state between two set identifications, childhood and adulthood. In this time period it is stated that they are in a liminiality period. I completely understand this concept as it is very relatable. College marked the end of dependence on my parents completely and the start of my own independence. I have to be responsible and manage my time between my studies, my social life and my job. My parents occasionally assist me so having a job is not necessary but is helpful in maintaining my independence. It feels as if college is a limbo period where anything goes before you have no other choice but to be responsible and provide for yourself. An implicit message that I have noticed is that it is acceptable for men to go out and drink alcohol multiple nights a well but less so for women. Because of this I have noticed that women are more cautious on what events they choose attend as they do not want too many in one week for appearance purposes. An explicit message that I have heard multiple times, frequently from individuals from my small hometown, is that drinking alcohol and attending social gatherings more than twice a week categorizes you as an “alcoholic”. Coming from a small town this did not surprise be as the majority of people are small-minded and judgmental.