Coming of age in 2020 – the summer without exams or school proms


TitleComing of age in 2020 – the summer without exams or school proms
Degree of recognitionInternational
Media name/outletThe Conversation
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
DescriptionThe transition from childhood to adulthood is marked by humans in a wide variety of ways across the world. Many of these “coming of age” celebrations are held at puberty. For instance, the filing of front teeth in Bali is said to ease the “sad ripu” or six evils of lust, greed, wrath, pride, jealousy and intoxication. In contrast, the Jewish bar mitzvah marks the point at which children are deemed to be responsible for their own actions.

Demonstrations of physical prowess are often tied to male ceremonies. The start of periods may play the same role for girls, with rituals such as the Apache sunrise ceremony marking the passage into womanhood.

Despite the differences in the style of all these events, they often have three elements in common: they are public, and involve special clothes and particular foods. This places these rituals squarely into the cultural realm, which may explain the wide variation. Culture is especially variable, as it is passed on socially and often serves to mark inclusion into a particular group.

PersonsIsabelle Winder, Gwyndaf Roberts, Vivien Shaw