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Aztec Rites of Passage
Transcript of Aztec Rites of Passage
The Aztecs are an ancient tribe that lived near present-day Mexico, or in other terms, Meso-America. These people thought time was sacred, so they made rites of passage. These mark a person's transition through life, like birth, manhood, and death.
When a baby was born, it was usually taken to the priest to be given the desired flattened forehead. This was a rather brutal practice, considering they strapped boards to the baby's head. At age 3 or 4, a boy gets a white bead put inside his hair.
When boys hit puberty, their white beads are removed at a ceremony that is similar to a baptism. This ceremony was called The Descent of the Gods. After this ceremony, boys moved into the house of unmarried men, or bachelors.
Transition into Manhood
At the age of 17, boys started their military training. During their training, they would prepare for a war that would be coming. To be considered a full-fledged adult, a boy must capture (and possibly kill) his first enemy to be sacrificed.
To become a higher ranked warrior, a boy must sacrifice more people. To become an Eagle or Jaguar warrior, the highest ranks, a boy must sacrifice (or kill) 20 people minimum.
Connections with The Giver
In 1993, Lois Lowry published The Giver, a book that explains the life of Jonas, a 12 year old boy who lives in a community that is free of pain, war, harsh weather, suffering, and choices.
Receiver of Memory
In this "perfect" community, Jonas is selected to have the most honored job, the Receiver of Memory. To be selected to perform this job, you must have courage, intelligence, integrity, and wisdom. You must be able to bear the pain that is used in this job, physical and emotional.
Rites of passage in Jonas's Society
To become an adult in Jonas's society, you must have had the right amount of volunteer hours, have the requirements to receive your assignment, and have not been released from the community. This is like how you need to have necessary qualities in order to become an adult in ancient times.
Ancient Rites of Passage and The Giver Comparison
In The Giver, Twelves must have a certain kind of training to qualify for the job. Then comes a test. Aztecs have to have training like these people do. Also, in order to become an adult, they must be put to the test. These both have some kind of preparation given in order to become an adult, and they later have a test to prove their strength.
Modern Day Rites of Passage
Even today, rites of passage still exist. In American culture, when you turn 4 or 5, you start school and are comsidered a child and not a baby or toddler. When you turn 11 or 12,you considered a pre-teen. When you turn 13, you start your teenage years. You are considered an adult at age 17 or 18 and you are able to marry.
If I lived in the society inside the Giver, I would have received my assignment and have been considered an adult. If I lived in the Aztec society, I would not have been to the Descent of the Gods.
Tying the Rites of Passage from 2 different communities