I’ve got a 9-year old son who is itching on the inside to become a man. He tries to talk in a deep voice, give advice to everyone, including our pets, and volunteer for all the “heavy lifting” chores around the house. As his dad, I’m trying to think of ways to help him make the transition into manhood in his own mind, as well as in the eyes of our community.
I’ve found quite a few ideas so far, such as the Brazilian tribe Satere-Mawe’s tradition of a young man sticking his hand into a glove full of bullet ants for ten minutes. OR, the Mandan tribe’s process of placing hooks into the chest, shoulders, and back muscles of a young man, and then hanging him in the air where he remains still and quiet. And then there’s the Ethiopian Hamar tribe’s cow jumping ceremony. The entire community forms a circle around a herd of cattle. They sing and dance while four large bulls are positioned side by side. The young man, naked as the day he met the world, is placed on the back of the first bull. Then he must leap from bull to bull, running back and forth three times. When he’s finished, he’s considered a man.
I ran these ideas by my son…to no avail. He told me to keep searching. So I did, and I found this bar mitzvah invitation video from Daniel Blumen. I think Aidan and I will come up with something different, but this was hip and fun. Kudos, Daniel! Way to celebrate what you believe, young man.
Q4U: Dads & Moms, have you taken your son or daughter through a passage to adulthood ceremony? I’d love to hear about it.