The life cycle of humans includes important events in which their position or condition changes. These events often involve communal ceremonies, rites of passage or initiation, through which a person is symbolically transferred from one stage of life to another.
In many cultures, important rites of passage include birth, adulthood, marriage and death. On the other hand, more modern events, such as the upper secondary school leaving party or the initiation ceremony for new students, can also be considered rites of passage. What these events have in common is the transition of a person from one stage of life to another or a change in the person’s status in the community. This change and the passage are emphasised by habits, celebrations and objects.
Significant changes in the human life cycle have created a wealth of material cultural heritage and, as a result, have also been stored in the collections of the National Museum of Finland.