Rite of passage among Ga’anda and the United State share similar sacrifices but differ in their significance to each culture. Ga’anda and the United States recognize the importance of cultural rituals in aiding their young children in their transition to adulthood. Both cultures commence their coming to age rituals at a young age for example, in Ga’anda, girls begin their initiation ordeal at the age of six while in the United States their transition begin from the age of five years old as they embark in their education.
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In both cultures, their transition to adulthood require commitment, time, and undergoing some form of pain.
As mentioned earlier, the culture of Ga’anda regard pain to be necessary for the transition to adulthood as it prepares the young for responsibilities and hardships that are part of their upcoming status as adults. Their commitment to their society is shown by enduring physical and psychological pain extensively for well over a decade. Similarly, young children in the United States undergo psychological pain such as stress throughout their academic life and their commitment is demonstrated through their perseverance in completing their college education. As their transition comes to an end, both cultures celebrate their commitment in a ceremonial process that contain certain rituals such as specific dress and activities.
For examples, in Ga’anda, the community held Yowo for girls who completed Hleeta. In this ceremony, the girls wear a traditional garment called takerkert that closely resembles a woven cloth apron in western culture. In the United States, graduation ceremonies also consist of wearing traditional dress known as cap and gowns and turning their cap tassels as symbol of transition to professionals. Additionally, in both societies respect is given to those individuals who complete their rite of passage as they value their commitment to their culture. While the rite of passage in both cultures share similar experiences, they differ in the significance as each culture embrace different values. In Ga’anda, Hleeta is not only a marker that establishes an individual’s identity within the community but also a tradition that fortifies the culture as a whole.
Hleeta plays a central part in consolidating communities as these marking carry the same symbolic significance across all subgroups of Ga’anda. This process, therefore, helps consolidate disperse communities as women from different subgroups can marry outside their community and thus help connect disperse communities. By continuing this process of scarification, young girls reinforce the community’s culture and values as they help preserve the tradition throughout generations. In contrast, the significance behind Americans’ rite of passage is to help students become independent individuals rather than members of a close-knitted community. Americans believe that education plays an important role in individualism as it helps them develop knowledge, maturity and responsibility. Respectably, their personal growth and prosperity in life will be a result of their own efforts rather than through the help of others.
In conclusion, rite of passage among the Ga’anda and American society share a common believe that pain is necessary in the transition to adulthood, however, differ in their significance as each culture embraces different values. In Ga’anda, Hleeta is used to help prepare young girls in their transition to womanhood and marriage by helping them develop physical and mental fortitude. In the Unites States, the psychosocial pain of stress found when receiving an education helps students mentally prepare for all the responsibilities and challenges that adults face as professionals in the working world. While their rituals differ, both cultures help their young children become successful members of society as both rite of passage rituals inculcate skills, knowledge and fortitude necessary to endure all the challenges that accompany adulthood.
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