Among the aborigines in Australia, there was a traditional quest called the walkabout. This quest was the trial that would turn boys into men and make them into full-fledged members of their tribes. An adolescent boy on a walkabout would wander alone aimlessly through the desert. He would live in a state of communion with nature. He connected with spirits of his ancestors, who would guide him back home.1
In modern Thailand they have a different tradition. In a parade called the Poy Sang Long, young boys in colorful robes, headdresses, and makeup, are shown off before the people. The boys don't enjoy this celebrity treatment for long, however. After the parade they are dressed in the simple robes of a Buddhist monk and enter a monastery, where they will live as Buddhist monks for at least a week before officially coming of age. Through their service they hope to bring good fortune upon their families, who wait for their return.2
In Myanmar it is traditional for young men to enter a monastery for three months. The age of ordination for a Therevada monk is twenty years old, and these young monks enter into religious service not only for its spiritual benefits, but for the cultural benefits, as well. Burmese girls are much more likely to marry a returned monk, and the time in the monastery is seen as a chance for the young men to learn and mature before taking on the responsibilities of adulthood.3
Each of these rituals, while they come from different cultures, all fall under the same category: rites of passage. A rite of passage is a ritual in which a person transitions from one stage of life to the next. Rites of passage are everywhere, ranging from Jewish Bar Mitzvahs to Native American vision quests. Most rites of passages are designed to help boys become men. They turn dependent children into capable warriors or eligible bachelors.