- Rite of passage
A rite of passage is a
ritualthat marks a change in a person's social or sexual status. Rites of passage are often ceremonies surrounding events such as childbirth, menarcheor other milestones within puberty, coming of age, marriage, weddings, and death. Initiation ceremonies such as baptism, confirmation and bar or bat mitzvahs are considered important rites of passage. In the last centuries Western society has seen a steady decline in the usage of rites of passage. Fact|date=March 2008
History of term
Theories were developed in the 1960s by
Mary Douglasand Victor Turner("The Ritual Process", 1969).Fact|date=March 2008 Joseph Campbell's 1949 text, " The Hero with a Thousand Faces" and his theory of the journey of the hero were also influenced by Arnold van Gennep.
According to van Gennep, rites of passage have three phases: separation,
liminality, and incorporation. In the first phase, people withdraw from the group and begin moving from one place or status to another. In the third phase, they reenter society, having completed the rite. The liminal phase is the period between states, during which people have left one place or state but haven't yet entered or joined the next. Fact|date=March 2008
Types and examples
Rites of passage are diverse, and are often not recognized as such in the culture in which they occur. Many society rituals may look like rites of passage but miss some of the important structural and functional components. Typically the missing piece is the societal recognition and reincorporation phase. Adventure Education programs, such as Outward Bound, have often been described as potential rites of passage. Pamela Cushing researched the rites of passage impact upon adolescent youth at the Canadian Outward Bound School and found the rite of passage impact was lessened by the missing reincorporation phase (Cushing, 1998). Bell (2003) presented more evidence of this lacking third stage and described the "Contemporary Adventure Model of a Rites of Passage" as a modern and weaker version of the rites of passage typically used by outdoor adventure programs.
Several organizations, such as Boys to Men Mentoring Network and Rite of Passage Journeys in Bothell, Washington, provide nature based initiatory experiences that do include the incorporation phase. At the end of Rite of Passage Journeys' Coming-of-Age trips, parents arrive to work with their children for the final weekend of the experience, so that changes that occurred on the trip can be supported when the youth returns to his or her home environment.
Some other examples of rites of passages in contemporary society are given in the following subsections.
Coming of age rites of passage
Gempuku" among the samurai
Poy Sang Long
Russ" in Norway
Scarificationand various other physical endurances
*Sevapuneru or Turmeric ceremony in South India to mark menarche
In various tribal societies, entry into an
age grade– generally gender-separated – (unlike an age set) is marked by an initiation rite, which may be the crowning of a long and complex preparation, sometimes in retreat.
Religious initiation rites
Eucharistand First Confession(especially First Communionin Catholicism)
Bar Mitzvahand Bat Mitzvahin Judaism
Circumcision, mainly in Judaism (Bris) and Islam
Saṃskāraa series of Sacraments in Hinduism.
Shinbyuin Theravada Buddhism
Rumspringa" among the Amish
Vision quest" in some Native American cultures
Quinceañera" many who celebrate include a Catholic mass
Other initiation rites
* Secular coming of age ceremonies for non-religious youngsters who want a rite of passage comparable to the religious rituals like Confirmation
Armed forces rites
Baptism by fire
Battlefield commission, equivalent to ennoblementfor valor or knightingon the field in the ancien régime
Berserker", "berserkergang" - an initiatory Nordic warrior-rite; the young Scandinavian warrior of old or Vikinghad to symbolically transform into a bear or wolf before he could become an elite warrior(cf. Cuchulain's transformation)
Krypteia- a "robber-baron" or "bandit-warrior" rite of the military youths of ancient Sparta
Trial by battle, or Judicium Dei (Judgment of God)
U.S. Marine Crucible
U.S. Navy: Battle Stations
* Naval (military and civilian)
crossing the equator
* In the
U.S. Navyand Royal Navy, wetting-downis a ceremony in which a Naval officer is ceremonially thrown into the ocean upon receiving a promotion.
U.S. Army Victory Forge
* In many military organizations, as in civilian groups, new conscripts are sometimes subjected by "veterans" to practical jokes, ranging from taking advantage of their naïveté to public humiliation and physical attacks; see
* Soldiers and sailors may also be hazed again on obtaining a promotion.
Greececonscription is mandatory and has been historically linked with maturing of a man. The army was historically perceived as the "natural" way to go and as a final 'school' of socialization and maturing for young men before their comeout to the real world; also it would be the first time a young man would find himself on his own and away from home. Consequently, draft dodgers or men unable to serve encountered prejudice, were often frowned upon and deemed useless by conservative societies
Academic circles such as dorms, fraternities, teams and other clubs practice
Entrance into Medicine and Pharmacy (University) :
White Coat Ceremony
* In Spanish universities of the
Modern Age, like Universidad Complutensein Alcalá de Henares, upon completion of his studies, the student was submitted to a public questioning by the faculty, who could ask sympathetic questions that let him excel or tricky points. If the student passed he invited professors and mates to a party. If not, he was publicly processioned with donkey ears.
*Bell, B. J. (2003). "The rites of passage and outdoor education: Critical concerns for effective programming." "The Journal of Experiential Education", 26, 1, pp. 41–50.
*Cushing, P.J. (1998). "Competing the cycle of transformation: Lessons from the rites of passage model." P"athways: The Ontario Journal of Experiential Education", 9,5,7–12.
* [http://www.kcet.org/explore-ca/california-stories/ritesofpassage/ Rites of Passage] (kcet.org)
* [http://www.theritejourney.com The Rite Journey] Rediscovering rites of passage in schools"Ethnographic examples:"
* [http://www.jmclajot.net Pictures of scarification in Africa] - Features by Jean-Michel Clajot, Belgian photographer
* [http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/waymac/Sociology/A%20Term%201/2.%20Culture/Rituals.htm A list of rites of passage and similar rituals] Various ethnographic examples
* [http://www.pygmies.info/initiation.html Rites of passage of Baka Pygmies] Pygmies initiation, with haircut and other rituals
* [http://laquinceaneradocumentary.com Mexican Quinceañera including mass, reception and waltz]
* [http://merrymeettemple.org/wrop.html Rites of Passage] A brief explanation of the Wiccan Rites of Passage.
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Rite of Passage — Rite/s of passage (englisch Erwachsenwerden, Übergangsritual/e) bezeichnet: Filmwelt: Rites of Passage (Kurzfilm), Kurzfilm von Richard Stanley (1983) Rites of Passage (Thriller), US Thriller von Victor Salva (1999) Literatur: Rite of… … Deutsch Wikipedia
rite of passage — [rēt də pä sȧzh′] n. 1. a ceremony, often religious, marking a significant transition in a person s life, as birth, puberty, marriage, or death 2. an event, achievement, etc. in a person s life regarded as having great significance: Also [Fr.]… … English World dictionary
rite of passage — ► rite of passage a ceremony or event, e.g. marriage, marking an important stage in someone s life. Main Entry: ↑rite … English terms dictionary
rite of passage — (plural ,rites of passage) noun count a ceremony or event that marks an important stage in someone s life, for example, becoming an adult … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
rite of passage — 1. Anthropol. a ceremony performed to facilitate or mark a person s change of status upon any of several highly important occasions, as at the onset of puberty or upon entry into marriage or into a clan. 2. any important act or event that serves… … Universalium
rite of passage — noun a ritual performed in some cultures at times when an individual changes status (as from adolescence to adulthood) • Hypernyms: ↑ritual, ↑rite * * * : a ritualistic procedure associated with a nonperiodic crisis or a transitional change of… … Useful english dictionary
Rite de passage — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rite (homonymie). Initiation rituelle au Malawi, chez l ethnie Yao. Un rite de passage (ou … Wikipédia en Français
Rite of Passage — infobox Book | name = Rite of Passage title orig = translator = image caption = Cover of first paperback edition author = Alexei Panshin illustrator = cover artist = country = United States language = English series = genre = Science Fiction… … Wikipedia
rite of passage — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms rite of passage : singular rite of passage plural rites of passage a ceremony or event that marks an important stage in someone s life, for example becoming an adult … English dictionary
rite-of-passage — a rite of passage an activity or ceremony that shows that someone has reached an important new stage in their life, especially the start of their adult life. This is not merely another dreary rite of passage novel … New idioms dictionary