The Coming of Age Ritual of the Nacirema

I joined the Nacirema tribe in a time that they called yam, shortly after joining them I was able to experience and observe their ritual for individuals who have come of age and will be departing from the tribe.  They call this ritual noitaudarg which lasts for several hours.

As the ritual began slow loud music began to play while those who were coming of age began to file into the room to center.  They were garbed in absurd looking garments that were entirely black.  There were two portions to these garments.  The first is known as nwog, which is very loose-fitting that goes down to their lower leg and the sleeves reach the wrists.  The other garment is this absurd looking head-dress of thing known as a pac.  The pac contains this string that is attached from the top of the head-dress.  I noticed that some were wearing sashes or cords around their next, possibly indicating rank or honor.

As the last member came to the center the elder holding the ceremony instructed to everyone to sit.  The elder then proceeded to speak to the entire tribe for a long period of time, as he concluded he asked for one of the members of those in the absurd garments to come up.  They then proceeded for talk for an extended period of time while the entire tribe was silent.  Several other members of both those coming of age as well as members of the tribe continue to speak to the tribe as a whole.  When the final speaker concludes they then begin a procession where those who are coming of age must pass in front of the tribe to obtain a piece of paper indicating they have completed their right of passage.  This perplexing piece of paper is called by the tribe an amolpid.

As the ceremony ends the individuals stand and move the string that is attached to their head-dress to the other side, immediately following this action they throw their head-dress as far into the air as possible.  The music restarts and they again proceed in front of tribe back to where the originally came from.

It can be concluded that this ritual, which is highly structured, is an important right of passage for each member of the society.  Researches hypothesize that this ritual is important for members to be considered an adult and ready to enter the leagues of the elders within the tribe.


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