Essay Rites of Passage

1651 Words Sep 23rd, 1999 7 Pages
Rites of Passage

When an individual experiences movement, or a change from an affixed position in society to another position, that individual can easily describe their change as a passage into a new realm of living. A new realm of living is the way in which the individual and society views, acknowledges, and proceeds with their life. Their changes are monumental not only for the individual, but for his/her society as well. Many changes take place during the span of a persons life. They become rites of passage and rituals of initiation-which are more than just simple changes. A plethora of come with these rites and are found in all corners of the globe. Going on vision quests, by the plains Indians of
North America, to circumcision
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However their motives today are mainly social:

to show other youths their strength and endurance and of course to impress the girls. In a way their present participation in the Sun Dance takes place of the vision quest as a mark of the attainment of adulthood(Earhart, p. 306).

The girls also have rites of initiation. One that is much more involved and detailed, and has many more "taboos" associated with them. For example, if a girl is in her menstrual cycle, she is considered to have evil spirits around her, and she must be separated from the rest of the tribe so as to not have the spirits cause trouble for others(Earhart, p. 307) The age at which girls begin to menstruate is the first sign that initiation must take place. "She abstains from eating meat but may eat roots and drink water. After a few days or maybe a week, the girl appears again, shrouded in new cloths and painted"(Earhart,
The Shashoni boys (out of choice) learn the positives of boasting.
Although they don't necessarily depend on the Sun Dance as the deciding factor for passing into manhood, it gives them a chance to be in a position of authority, or power which often is needed in adulthood. The more enduring, and well-executed dance, the more attractive they look. It could lead to higher

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