Determining Self-Identity

1343 Words6 Pages
Every person in this life goes through a phase of self-exploration that involves trying to identify the different elements that compose one’s identity and personality, which can be perceived as an ultimate personal quest to answer the question “who am I?” Many cultures have rituals that provide the foundation for self-development of the individual and provide a pathway that guides the individual to the answers he or she is looking for. Such rituals are concerned with many different aspects including age, gender, ethnicity, cultural traditions, and religion.

Many rituals that help determine self-identity are primarily related to the age of adolescence. Such coming-of-age rituals or rites of passage are present in numerous cultures around the world. Latin America celebrates the “Quinceañera” when a girl reaches the age of fifteen. Bar and Bat mitzvahs are celebrated when individuals are roughly thirteen. In American societies, girls celebrate their sweet sixteen. We notice the emergence of this pattern in many other cultures. This is because when young individuals reach puberty, they fit into a complex category of society in which they are no longer perceived as children. Coming of age rituals help initiate young adults and ease their transition into adulthood and help them determine their self-identity. They show such individuals that even though they might not necessarily identify themselves as adults, society does, which causes them acknowledge their status and become accountable for their actions.

Gender also plays a vital role in how one perceives him or herself, and how such person is perceived by society. We notice that not all rituals are gender specific, for instance Bar and Bat mitzvahs, however that vast majorit...

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... and the status of wealth one projects onto society. It could create a future generation of superficial individuals who redefine the essence of religious traditions leading to the loss of religious morals and values altogether. Parents must stress the religious meaning of the rituals they are partaking in, in order to develop well-rounded adults who identify their selves in broader terms and seek to preserve their religious moral standards and pass them down onto the succeeding generations to come.

In conclusion, rituals play a vital role in helping individuals explore their own identity and determine their personal characteristics. Rituals tend to implant ideas of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, and religion in a variety of people, thus enabling them to examine each personal aspect contributing to their self-image and determine why they are the way they are.
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