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Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Friday: Green living.

21 July 2011

This is Why We Need Rites of Passage

As you know, the end of all things came last week. Here in the multiplexes of the earth, our fellowship with Harry and friends came to an end.

Kinda.

I mean, everyone realises that we still have DVDs, right? And that books are re-readable? I do understand; I went around in mourning for weeks after reading The Deathly Hallows four years ago, after all (btw, not for nothing, but since today is the anniversary of the book release, why didn't they wait one more week to release the movie? A more fitting ending, I would think). I get the not wanting it to end thing, but... it ended. We already knew how it ended.

Anyway, never mind that. What I've really been giggling at this week are the status updates, the tweets, the blog posts, the notes on Facebook, etc., about this being the end of childhood for an entire generation. I don't dispute that point, but what's funny is that it's like every young person from 16-24, plus every parent of that age range, seemed to all realise it separately and decide to bewail it for the universe. And so after reading the 23rd or 58th "end of an era" post, I finally decided that we need more rites of passage.

I don't really want to talk about the images that came up
when I googled "rite of passage". But a young woman at
her bat mitzvah is both safe and sweet. Source.
We already have a few, like graduations or confirmations. And some other things that are more individual but still happen around the same time for people of the same age: getting a driver's licence, going to college, etc. But our culture doesn't have many events in which our society as a whole says to a particular cohort, "We recognize that you have finished one stage and begin another." Graduation and retirement are pretty much it. I think that's a shame, but it's where we are. And that leaves it up to communities and families, and, apparently, films.

Even allowing for regional and religious differences, we need these moments. A final movie in a book series, no matter how crazy-awesome that series is, should not be the marker of the end of one life stage and the beginning of another. It would be cool to have more pauses in time to mark a transition from stage to stage. Dharma and Greg, oddly enough, demonstrates this very well: Throughout Dharma's life, Abby marked milestones and changes with ceremonies that when compared with what the rest of society does, were very strange, but when considered on their merit, were (mostly) good ideas. Even as she made her own way in life, Dharma had those mile markers that showed where her path had already been.

So long, Harry. Thanks for being a mile marker.

Do you or your family have any special rites of passage?

3 comments:

Deniz Bevan said...

I like that idea. and It's true, once you've graduated from high school, everyone starts going through their own rites at their own times, whether its college or marriage or having kids, or what have you. There's always birthdays, I guess. And the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI is coming.
But I can't really think of anything :-(

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I don't have an answer either. I was sad to see Harry Potter end (although I felt like it ended when the book came out more than the movie) but I thought it ended well and satisfyingly. And like you said, you can always go back to the beginning and reread - that's the beauty of books - their worlds are always there waiting for you :)

Su said...

My family didn't have any, and so far we don't have any planned for our future children. I should really get on that.

@Deniz: 100th anniversary? Whoa. That seems so unreal.

@Susanna: Yeah, I felt like HP was over with the last book, too. The movie was just the gravy, as it were.

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