Rites of Passage
One interesting rite of passage that the Spartans had was called Helot Killing. In the Spartan society, the only way a male could be considered a man was to go through warrior training, at a place called the krypteia. Each Spartan boy would be taken from his family at the age of seven, and attend warrior training at the krypteia until he was seventeen. When he turned eighteen, he would be sent off into the country with nothing but a knife, and had the task of killing as many state-owned slaves (called helots) as he could, while trying to return to his krypteia all in one piece. During all of this, he would have to go undetected, making this rite of passage all the more difficult. If he completed this task, he would be considered a man, and would be expected to marry and continue serving his state as a warrior. This rite of passage follows the three stage process, as discussed during class. The first stage is removal from society, which happens to a Spartan boy when he is seven years old, when he leaves to train at the krypteia. This stage includes the ten years of training the boy recieves. The next stage, transition, occurs when the boy goes on his quest to kill Helots and return to his krypteia. If he returns from this, he transitions into the final stage, reincorporation into society. He is now considered a man and a warrior, and is reincorporated into society with this reputation.
Not very much is known about Spartan funerary practices for the average Spartan, except that marked headstones would only be given to soldiers who died in a combat which Sparta ended up winning, and to women who died in childbirth. However, there is more information on funerary practices for well-known and/or powerful Spartans. When a Spartan king died, messengers on horseback would travel throughout the Spartan kingdom spreading the news. Two people from each household would then be expected to join in the mourning of the king, or they would face harsh punishments. Mourners would consistently strike their foreheads as a symbol of their grief. Additionally, for a ten day period after the king was buried, no meetings to decide who the next ruler would be were allowed.