Though coming of age traditions vary drastically from culture to culture, nearly every society designates specific rituals, ceremonies, and traditions as a way to symbolize and celebrate the transition from child to adult. Here are six of the world’s coolest coming of age traditions that mark the wonderful passage from childhood into adulthood.
Jewish Coming Of Age Traditions: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah
The bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah are coming of age ceremonies for Jewish boys and girls, respectively. Under Jewish Law, individuals are only required to formally observe the commandments once they reach a specific age (12 for girls, 13 for boys). While this change occurs automatically once the child reaches that age, a bar or bat mitzvah is often held to celebrate the boy or girl’s coming-of-age and publicly mark the individual’s right to now participate in religious ceremonies, count in the minyan, or form contacts.
While the ceremony does not indicate that the child is physically an adult, it does so mentally and emotionally with the emphasis on the individual’s increased culpability and responsibility. The name itself “bar” or “bat mitzvah”, translates into son or daughter of the mitzvah, since from that point on the individual much abide by the mitzvahs (also known as commandments or laws) of the Torah.
Like most coming of age traditions, bar and bat mitzvahs lack a singular, definitive template, but most contain an aliyah as well as a reading from the Torah or haftorah by the child obtaining bar or bat mitzvah.
Much like other coming of age traditions and celebrations, reaching “adulthood” isn’t cheap: the bar or bat mitzvah is often expensive, and requires weeks of preparation and education beforehand. Following the ceremony, a reception often as grand as a wedding follows, in which the individual is celebrated. Family and friends come together to join in the fun.