Cultural awareness is seen through a person’s concept of himself, his culture, and its belief systems.
Just as the Africans celebrate their “rites of passage” from adolescence to adulthood, so do Americans. We, as Americans in our culture, often give lavish gifts or use alcohol as a symbol of our own “rites of passage” (18th or 21st birthday). Earning your driver’s license, or receiving a car are symbols that also represent authority and responsibility. Alcohol brings about a physical and mental change of perception in our culture. At these important periods in our life we are supposed to be responsible persons in our society; we should have a job, drive a car, and be looking for a partner in our life.
What these symbols illustrate is that different people (African) cultures share the same cycle changes in their lives, birth, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, and death. Although these passages are similar in nature, our interpretations of these rituals or ceremonies differ in their cultural symbols.