I'll start on what i found interesting...
"When children grew up they had to pass from the category of "children" to "youth". A real pantomime was played at the ceremony of initiation: a child was "swallowed" by a mythical animal Totem, and a young man was "born" from the animal's belly. Some researchers say that a famous tail about The Little Red Riding Hood contain repercussions of that rite."
I see the psychological importance and effect of this rite, if you are familiar with shamanic principles, there is such thing as power animals, every person has at least one but likely a few. The animals live in our underworld(subconcious) and impart the wisdom and the energetic qualties they embody, they give us their unique energy. The animal is not an animal, it is the spirit of all animals of it's kind, the group mind.
I'm sure the wise men understood all this and would especially understand the psychological effect of being swallowed by the power animal, To be embodied by it, and embody it's qualties. I feel all present would take this seriously as if the child really were about to be eaten by the power animal, this would amplify the effect in the childs mind to a great degree. Also I imagine this is not undue, as within the childs mind their would be a meeting and communing with the animals Spirit.
Following this it say they were tested and for mental and physical maturity, i don't know exactly what this entailed...
and there it also say the boys were branded with a patrimonial mark, quite painfully, i don't know if these is true, is this like an ancient tattoo?? anyone know about this from other cultures??
Lastly they were given new clothes, the same as the adults wear and it is intresting what it said about clothing...
"The Ancient Slavs believed that human's biosphere "soaked" into his clothes and stayed there. It's easy to understand why the first child's nappy was made from his parent's petticoats. Parent's "power" would defend and protect a child.Children's clothes in Ancient Russia were the same for boys and girls. It was a long vest with a narrow waist-band. Children took the right to ware "adult clothes" only after the ceremony of initiation."
So after the ceremony (being eaten by the animal) the child would now be wearing the same clothes as all the adults, this too would have a great psychological effect as now the child would identify with the adults and not so much the children, as now he/she looked as them...
The link again http://library.thinkquest.org/C006323F/ - Ancient Russia
Now not all the information i feel is accurate, there are some that sounded tainted by the occult, yet still worth a read.
I'm Sure their is alot more detail to these rite that i'm unaware of yet together we can work this out!