During a strenuous trek in the mountains, a teenage boy dies of starvation. A girl wearing an elegant gown completes a dance with her father. Both of these things come from rites of passage. Why are they so different? Rites of passage are almost as diverse and widespread as individual cultures. Depending on cultural values, initiation into adulthood varies immensely. Unquestionably, all rites of passage start with the same purpose. The goal is to bring a child into adulthood. However, the process might be redundant or even harmful. Some rites of passage should continue to be practiced, like the Quinceañera and Bar Mitzvah, because they have strong benefits and cultural value while others, like hazing and cutting should not because they can harm and possibly kill people.
The Quinceañera, which turns a 15-year old Latino girl into a woman on her birthday, is important and should continue being practiced because it contains strong cultural values. These cultural values along with messages about faith and sexuality are some beneficial outcomes of the Quinceañera. In the end, these benefits make the event worth the cost. For example, in On La Quinceañera, Jan Risher says, “The Reyes family said the expense was worth it, even if they will only now begin saving for college” (2). This is an example of a person who was satisfied by these outcomes. While some people argue that the Quinceañera is too extravagant and expensive for a rite of passage, the fact is that the actual benefits last for a lifetime. For example, in On La Quinceañera, Risher says, “Sometimes a defining point, even a choreographed one, helps bring home the fact of one’s place in the world” (2). This is a great example of one of the long-lasting benefits of this rite of passage. As a result, The Quineañera should be continued to be practiced because of its benefits.
Like the Quinceañera, the Bar Mitzvah also has good benefits. The Bar Mitzvah, which is an event that turns a child into a spiritual adult, should continue being practiced because it provides spiritual values and encourages Judaism. For example, in Entering Adulthood, Aron Moss says, “For many, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience determines their attitude to Judaism” (1). This shows that the child’s religion will be dependent on this event. While some people argue that this event could also have negative effect if not exercised correctly, the fact is the pros almost always outweigh the cons in the end. For example, in Entering Adulthood, Moss says, “Their Jewish identity will be reinforced and they will be proud of their heritage” (1). This shows that the benefits do outweigh the possible negatives. This is a good rite of passage but hazing is not.