From Boys to Men - How Culture Celebrates Coming of Age

From Boys to Men - How Culture Celebrates Coming of Age

How cultures make men from boys around the world.

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Girls have their Quinceañeras and other, "coming of age", ceremonies that are well-known around the world. A little less known are the coming of age ceremonies of boys as they march toward manhood.

In the west, we mostly think of 21st birthdays, bucks night pranks and drinking parties - especially when such pranks end up in the news. But, not all boys-to-men celebrations wind up with some guy tied to a lamp post. Different countries and cultures have their own ceremonies to celebrate manhood, and here are a few.

Rumspringa

The Amish community celebrates the youths' freedom when they turn 16. At this age, the youths are free to venture out into the society and explore on weekends unsupervised by their parents.

Throughout this duration, they are not tied down by their religious laws. This unique coming of age ceremony is held in hopes that the youths will come to their own realization that they want to commit to their religion.

When these youths decide to get baptized and start committing to the Amish life voluntarily, their rumspringa time ends.

The Bar Mitzvah

Once Jewish boys turn 13, they are considered to be adults and this occasion will be celebrated with a bar mitzvah. Along with their coming of age, they are also required to formally review the Jewish laws and its commandments.

This can be a huge religious responsibility the very day they turn adult! Since the boys will need to prepare for weeks in advance for this ceremony, there will usually be a reception to celebrate the young boy's accomplishments and hard work.

With the ceremony done with, the boys are now officially able to participate in religious ceremonies.

Seijin-no-Hi

In Japan, the coming of age ceremony is held much later - at the age of 20. This specific age is chosen because the Japanese believe that it is at 20 years old that youths are considered to be mature. 20-year-olds start to contribute to society, and they are now able to vote and drink!

This coming of age festival is held on the second Monday of January annually. On this day, youths dress up in traditional attire and head to the local city offices together. There, they receive presents and party with their friends and family.

Sweet Sixteen

This coming of age ceremony in America is not as religious-based as that of some other cultures'. As the ceremony name suggests, sweet sixteen is celebrated when youths turn 16.

To mark their transition from a child to an adult with more freedom and responsibilities, American parents usually gift these youths a car. You can see instances of lavish sweet sixteen parties from reality shows such as 'My Super Sweet Sixteen' if you want to see what it's like!

Guan Li

In some parts of China, the Confucian coming of age ceremonies is carried out. For boys, these ceremonies are referred to as 'Guan Li'. As can be expected from a Confucian ceremony, there are plenty of speeches centred around respect and gratitude for the boys' elders.

Like the Japanese ceremony, Guan Li is also only celebrated when youths turn 20. On this day, the boys will wear a traditional robe. They would bow and show respect and gratitude to their parents.

While they are in a kneeling position, these boys will receive words of advice from their parents before they thank all the attendees for joining their ceremony.

Land Divers

Boys in Vanuatu start participating in a continuous coming of age ceremony from as young as 7 or 8. In this ceremony, boys will have bungee-like vines tied to their ankles, a length just sufficient to refrain them from hitting the ground as they jump off towers as high as 98-feet tall.

In their first few dives, they are allowed to jump off shorter towers, and their mothers will be holding an item representing their childhood as they do so. After the jump, the item will be thrown away, symbolizing their growth from that phase of childhood.

As these boys grow older, they jump from taller towers to symbolize their growth over the years. This ceremony typically draws quite an audience, family members aside - that's not too surprising given how unique this ceremony is!

Image Pexels, CC0 License

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6 Christmas Shopping Tips If You Predictably Waited Until Last-Minute— Like You Do Every Year

You're welcome.

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Let's be honest here. A lot of people do start shopping for Christmas relatively early. But, a lot more people don't have time for that, don't have energy for that, or just forget.

There's also people who hate those commercialized shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's always way too busy, way too loud, the traffic sucks, and you risk getting punched in the face. No thanks. So they wait until the very last minute to shop for anything.

I am one of those people, to be completely honest. Since I am one of those people, I have been last minute shopping since I had my own money to Christmas shop with. So I have a few tips for the last minute shopper that still hasn't gotten the hang of things just yet.

1. Have a plan.

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The worst thing you can do after waiting until the last minute is not know what you're getting or where you're getting it from. Have a game plan made the night before you go out and stick to it.

2. Don't overthink it.

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It's already stressful enough that you waited until the last second to shop. You should already know what each person wants and where to get it. Don't overthink this shopping trip.

3. Have a budget.

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Do not spend your entire paycheck solely because you feel bad for shopping last minute and may not have gotten each person exactly what they wanted.

4. Know the stores. Efficiency is key.

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Know where you're shopping and where everything you need is going to be. Make this trip fast, simple, and efficient.

5. Limit yourself to a strict list. 

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You don't have the time (or money) to be picking up and trying to purchase everything you see. Make a list, stick to it, buy the other stuff you see or want AFTER Christmas.

6. Have a time limit.

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If you don't limit yourself on time, you will be in the store forever debating the integrity of your list and your game plan that you spent the entire afternoon before setting up. Don't self-sabotage like that. Get in there, get what you need and get out.

I'm not exactly sure how helpful this list is for anyone but myself. But, this is what works for me and has gotten pretty good quality Christmas gifts for my loved ones for the last four years.

Happy shopping!

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Youth Homelessness. Where Will You Sleep this Christmas?

Let's find a way to keep the next generation off the streets this Christmas.
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Homelessness is always a sad thing, but it is even worse when it’s youth homelessness. New South Wales in Australia has seen a significant increase in the number of homeless children in the state.

This is a trend that has continued for over the last 20 years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon.

According to NDIS provider, The Samaritan Foundation, as many as 26,000 Australian children are living under homeless conditions each night and about 731,000 children in Australia live under the poverty line.

Many of these children often sleep in cars, friends’ houses, hotels, or on the streets outside. 

Between 2015 and 2016, New South Wales homelessness organisations had helped over 18,400 people who were between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. 

Shelters and homelessness service providers are seeing hundreds of more homeless youth requesting their help each year. As a result, the problem of youth homelessness is clearly getting worse instead of better.

Below are the top 4 causes of homelessness in Australia:

Escaping Abuse

An abusive household is a huge reason why many kids end up on the streets. They simply want to get away from the violence and arguing in their household so that they can find some peace and serenity in their lives.

The children are often the victims of this abuse, and instead of telling someone about it, they just run away because they’re too ashamed.  

Family Troubles

Families that fall under hard economic times may become homeless because they cannot afford a place to live. Parents in this situation usually want to be providers for their children, but they simply don’t have the means to do so.

This forces the children to either become homeless with their parents or to become homeless on their own. 

Abandonment 

Parents who abandon their children or kick them out of the house at a premature age will cause them to become homeless.

There are many reasons for why parents might do this to their children, but if the children are too young, they won’t have the means of taking care of themselves. 

Mental Health Issues

Something that doesn’t get talked about enough is children with mental disorders. A lot of homeless youth are suffering from these mental disorders. According some research (Johnson and Chamberlain, Are the Homeless Mentally Ill?, Salvation Army 2011) a disproportionate number of homeless people in Australia also suffer from some kind of metal anxiety, depression or mental disorder.

This makes it so much harder for them to get off the streets because they don’t have the mental capacity to land a job or get themselves cleaned up. Without someone stepping in to help them, they will stay homeless indefinitely.

Turning the Problem Around

A big reason why homelessness continues to trend is that these children don’t get the help they need fast enough. If they’ve been out on the streets for a few years or longer, it is going to be hard for them to ever reintegrate back into society.

Things, like going to school and getting a job, will seem too surreal for them to consider. 

In New South Wales, the state government is looking to crack down on this problem.

Instead of letting homelessness service providers handle everything, the government and local communities are looking to help troubled youths early on before they even become homeless. 

That way, they won’t fall into a hard life that they mentally can’t pull themselves out of.

Homelessness is always a sad thing, but it is even worse when it’s youth homelessness. New South Wales in Australia has seen a significant increase in the number of homeless children in the state.

This is a trend that has continued for over the last 20 years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon.

According to NDIS provider, The Samaritan Foundation, as many as 26,000 Australian children are living under homeless conditions each night and about 731,000 children in Australia live under the poverty line.

Many of these children often sleep in cars, friends’ houses, hotels, or on the streets outside. 

Between 2015 and 2016, New South Wales homelessness organisations had helped over 18,400 people who were between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. 

Shelters and homelessness service providers are seeing hundreds of more homeless youth requesting their help each year. As a result, the problem of youth homelessness is clearly getting worse instead of better.

Below are the top 4 causes of homelessness in Australia:

Escaping Abuse

An abusive household is a huge reason why many kids end up on the streets. They simply want to get away from the violence and arguing in their household so that they can find some peace and serenity in their lives.

The children are often the victims of this abuse, and instead of telling someone about it, they just run away because they’re too ashamed.  

Family Troubles

Families that fall under hard economic times may become homeless because they cannot afford a place to live. Parents in this situation usually want to be providers for their children, but they simply don’t have the means to do so.

This forces the children to either become homeless with their parents or to become homeless on their own. 

Abandonment 

Parents who abandon their children or kick them out of the house at a premature age will cause them to become homeless.

There are many reasons for why parents might do this to their children, but if the children are too young, they won’t have the means of taking care of themselves. 

Mental Health Issues

Something that doesn’t get talked about enough is children with mental disorders. A lot of homeless youth are suffering from these mental disorders. According some research (Johnson and Chamberlain, Are the Homeless Mentally Ill?, Salvation Army 2011) a disproportionate number of homeless people in Australia also suffer from some kind of metal anxiety, depression or mental disorder.

This makes it so much harder for them to get off the streets because they don’t have the mental capacity to land a job or get themselves cleaned up. Without someone stepping in to help them, they will stay homeless indefinitely.

Turning the Problem Around

A big reason why homelessness continues to trend is that these children don’t get the help they need fast enough. If they’ve been out on the streets for a few years or longer, it is going to be hard for them to ever reintegrate back into society.

Things, like going to school and getting a job, will seem too surreal for them to consider. 

In New South Wales, the state government is looking to crack down on this problem.

Instead of letting homelessness service providers handle everything, the government and local communities are looking to help troubled youths early on before they even become homeless. 

That way, they won’t fall into a hard life that they mentally can’t pull themselves out of.

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/worried-girl-woman-waiting-sitting-413690/

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