June 3, 2007

Rites of passage

It has been a week marked by rites of passage: my son’s 18th birthday and party, a Italian Jewish wedding and a university graduation party. All a bit different in practice and in meaning.

My younger son turned 18. He and a friend from his class (girl), whose birthday fell just a day earlier, asked to throw a joint party and the parents all agreed. So we rented a club, a DJ, ordered food and drinks and two cakes. The kids put together an invitation list of 130, decided on a 1960s theme and made slick 1960s style invitations. It was a big success and a formal rite of passage. We wish them well!

No school prom at 18 and the social events of this important year are the birthday parties that serve as “coming out into society” rites. The invitation announces “abito scuro” – a dark suit and tie for the boys and evening dress for the girls and everyone took the deeper meaning of the party to heart – a send off from youth into adulthood.
The 1960s theme was a success too – check out these girls!

Notice the bottles in the picture? Yes, they had a brindisi or toast with the cake.

The Italian Jewish wedding was also a bit different with its Italian Jewish rituals. It was a privilege to be invited as an outsider as the Roman Jewish community is quite closed and conservative. The women had to sit apart from the men so I was alone as I watched the lovely ceremony. The couple was surrounded and physically protected by their respective families during the ceremony which emphasized the role of family in their future life together. We wish the couple well!

A friend’s daughter passed her thesis in front of a commission with 110 e lode – the highest recognition -- and she had a party to celebrate. The difference being that the party was at home, where she lives and has lived for her years of university study and where she will stay while continuing a graduate degree. So the party was inter-generational, her childhood and university friends, relatives and parent’s friends all toasting her success. She was beaming and happy and we wish her well too!

A domani,

1 comment:

Kataroma said...

In Australia we have those "coming of age" parties at 21 not 18. I had mine at home, at my mum's house where I lived until I was 23 (normal in Australia!) It was fun. Traditionally, the children are given the keys to the house at 21 although I of course had gotten the keys way earlier - maybe at around 12 since my mum worked full time so I was a "latchkey child."