21 Jun Rite of Passage | How Kenyan Boys Become Young Men
We embrace the local traditions of our homes and the coming of age ceremony for boys is certainly a hallmark.
Each year the ceremony is marked with beautiful outfits, music and wonderful traditional cuisine. It is a unique moment of prayer, thanksgiving and joy to all the family members and the community at large.
Here’s a video from the ceremony in 2016 at our Kitalale Home. A similar ceremony took place in 2017 and will be conducted again this year.
What Does the “Crossing the Line” Entail?
The rite of passage ceremony is one of the most important ceremonies for Kenyan boys, aged 12-13 years old. Often called “crossing the line”, the tradition marks the passage from boyhood to teenagehood.
Our boys went through circumcision procedure and training within a group from their church. They were away at a camp for two weeks where they were counseled, mentored, received teachings and the actual circumcision procedure. During this period kids are taught good morals and virtues needed for them to survive the challenging times that follow this stage. The hope is to prepare them to succeed in future as responsible adults.
Once home, the now-men stayed up in the guest huts area and remained isolated for another two weeks to heal and and share special times with the “house fathers and men” of the home. At the end of this time there was a great celebration which is symbolic of the boys coming back to the family as men.
From Emily, who was present for the celebration:
“In the morning of the celebration the house fathers and other male staff spent special time with the boys and together they celebrated and painted their faces and prepared their dancing. The guests were in the tent, the men and boys came out dancing and were received by all the women.
The women then met the boys and took over with their traditional dance and song to usher them back into the family as no longer boys, but young men. There were several presentations from both male and female staff, even I shared! All were focused on speaking into their lives.
We then had a wonderful meal of roasted goat and enjoyed the special time together.”
After the Ceremony
Per Kenyan culture, once the young men go through the ceremony they move to a separate cottage where the older males live together with their “house father”. It was a very exciting time for the boys and they were proud to be recognized as young men.
We are so thankful for our Kenyan staff who lead our children and are committed to maintaining important cultural traditions.
Plans are already in place for a celebration this year!
Please join us in prayer for the boys making the transition, that they would be prepared and well cared for as they come of age in our community.