Ways To Celebrate Rites Of PassageWays To Celebrate Rites Of Passage

In life, we have many special occasions to commemorate. The rites of passage which make up some of the most significant celebrations include special birthdays, graduations, marriages, births, and religious milestones. Such momentous events deserve to be marked with special parties, gifts, and other forms of commemoration. These are ideas for ways to celebrate the rites of passage in our lives.

The first rite of passage which all of us enjoy is birth. Of course, the occasion is just as special to the new parents as it is to the newborn child. For the infant, a small handmade gift such as a quilt or baby blanket is a wonderful keepsake in honor of their birth. If the child is a girl, a small piece of girls jewelry which she can wear when older is another time honored tradition. Other classic ways to mark the birth of a child include valuable gifts like engraved silver cups and spoons, savings bonds, and jewelry for the mother. Excellent jewelry choices include a "baby ring", often made with the child's birthstone or blue or pink gems, a baby theme charm for a bracelet, a locket, or a mother and child pendant.

Every birthday is special, but some are considered to be true rites of passage. In the life of a young person, birthdays such as the 13th, 16th, 18th, and 21st are those which may be considered to be true milestones on the way to adulthood. It is no coincidence that the 13th birthday is the time which is marked with the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah in Judaism or that in the United States, girls have big "Sweet Sixteen" parties. The 15th birthday is important in Hispanic culture, and is frequently celebrated with the Quinceanara. In addition to parties and religious ceremonies, the parents of the child hitting a milestone birthday may also wish to commemorate it in another way. A special gift is typically given, with a new car being the most desired (if not the most frequently received!) 16th birthday present. Girls jewelry such as pearls, silver bracelets, or tiny diamond earrings may be given in honor of a big birthday, and for boys a sought-after electronic device is a popular gift.

Graduations are always a big deal. In some families, it is not only high school and college graduations which are cause for a celebration, but also 8th grade graduation and possibly even elementary school graduation (it usually depends on whether the school holds a ceremony for these lower school graduations). A family dinner is the most customary way to celebrate a graduation and show the student how proud the family is of him or her. For high school and college graduations, there may also be bigger parties; in the case of one family I knew, they were so relieved when their daughter made it through high school that they threw a huge party for all their friends, family, and neighbors! Traditional graduation gifts are geared towards the life ahead, such as a car (if means permit), a dictionary for the college-bound high school graduate, or a new computer. For the younger graduates, a gift of silver girls jewelry with a message like "Congratulations, Sarah" is very appropriate.

Perhaps the most celebrated rite of passage in our society is marriage. The wedding itself is the big way to mark the momentous occasion, as well as all of the associated parties and showers. In some cultures there are special ways to welcome a young woman or man into marriage, such as the Indian henna ceremony which is held before the wedding, or the Japanese tea rituals. And of course, many religions will have their own particular traditions in honor of marriage. Then there are the gifts, moving into a new home together, and often the wife taking her husband's name. Without a doubt, we do a great job celebrating the rite of passage that takes place when two are joined into one in marriage!
by Bridget Mora
References and Bibliography
Bridget Mora writes for Silverland Jewelry about society, jewelry, and celebrations. At http://silverlandjewelry.com/ we handcraft a beautiful selection of girls jewelry, bridal jewelry, and bridesmaid jewelry. All jewelry orders over $99 receive free shipping.
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