Coming of age is a very young person's transition from childhood to adulthood. The age at which this transition takes place varies in society, as does the nature of the transition. It can be a simple legal convention or can be part of a ritual, as practiced by many societies. In the past, and in some societies today, such a change is associated with the age of sexual maturity (early adolescence); in others, it is associated with an age of religious responsibility. Particularly in western societies, modern legal conventions which stipulate points in late adolescence or early adulthood (most commonly 16-21 when adolescents are generally no longer considered minors and are granted the full rights and responsibilities of an adult) are the focus of the transition. In either case, many cultures retain ceremonies to confirm the coming of age, and significant benefits come with the change. (See also rite of passage.)
Coming of age is often a topic of fiction, in the form of a coming-of-age story. In literature, a novel which deals with the psychological and moral growth associated with coming of age is called a bildungsroman. Similar stories told in film are called coming-of-age films.