Growing up

Among the different cultures in the world, the coming-of-age ceremonies where a child for the first time is recognized as an adult, are many and varied. In Kenya, a girl who is to be recognised as an adult may have to go through female-circumsion, a painful surgical procedure where the clitoris is partially or completely removed. For the Roman Catholics, there is the Confirmation during which time, God the Holy Spirit will come upon the person, accompanied by God the Father and God the Son, just as he did at Pentecost. For the Chinese, a person is often not considered an adult until he or she is married but then, there is also the Chu Hua Yuan or leaving the garden ritual among the Teochew community. Teochew are Chinese whose ancestors moved from the Central Plains of China to present-day Chaoshan. The Teochew believe that a child after being born, will live in a garden under the care of an elderly couple, Kong Pho, which means grandfather and grandmother. After 15 years, when it is time for the child to leave the garden, the Chu Hua Yuan ritual is performed to allow the child to pay homage and thank the elderly couple. The ritual is usually held on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar.