What is a rite of passage? Every person experiences a great number of rites of passage, but only a small group understand what it is. Rite of passage is a ceremony or action that is a sign of a new stage in someone’s life and social status. There are two the most significant rites of passage: a birth and death. However, there are a lot of other important moments in the life of every person, like birthdays, entering schools, college, and universities, graduation from the institutes of education, first working experience, marriage, children, divorce, and many other significant things that happen in the life of every person.
Thanks to them people feel more connected with the society they live in. Rites of passage can make people’s lives worse or better, easier or harder, sweeter or bitter. However, the most important thing is that they change people and change the society where they live.
In general, a rite of passage is a transition from one state to another. For example when a child becomes an adult, or when a single person becomes married, or when an unemployed person gets his/her first job. Yet, these examples are related only to the society. Rites of passage also can be cultural and religious. In this case, people do something to be a part of some culture or religious group. In any case, the society, or culture, or religion asks every person about some rite of passage. In some cases, it can be a meaning that all people after 30 should be married. If the society has such meaning, it means that it won’t trust those people, who do not follow this rule. For example, in Christianity, no one can be a member of this church without christening. The same situation is with culture.
Rites of passage can be very different. Some of them are pleasant and happy, like marriage or graduation from college, when others are sad or angry, like divorce. However, they also can be scary, challenging, and even dangerous. Everything depends on a concrete person, its society, culture, and religion. It is a well-known fact that people in some tribes should do quite dangerous things so that society they live in accepted them. For example, there is a tribe where it is necessary to jump from a huge mountain being held by a rope of their feet. It is also a common thing to do circumcision to women and men or hurt themselves. Some people may think that it is crazy, but it is fine for them. It is their culture and their life, and if they want to be a part of this culture and society, they have to do such things, otherwise, they won’t be able to be a part of the tribe. The time duration of every rite of passage is also different. It can be a couple of hours, one day or even a month. For example, christening last about a half of an hour, when a rite of passage when a boy is going to become a man in the Sambia Tribe, he has to do three stage passage that lasts of a month long.
Rites of passage can be very different and have different goals. However, all of them are necessary to help people to feel themselves the part of the society or some group. Religious rites of passage play very important role not only because it is a chance to be part of this religious group, they are necessary in order to show that this person believes in this religion. Cultural rites of passage also are very important and play a not less important role, than religious and society rites of passage. They chance people and help them to grow.
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