Rituals of Transition Is Our Right of Passage Through Life Essay

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Rituals of transition exist in every culture passed down from generation to generation; seemingly, through time man has had a need to use rites to associate inductions into new phases of life. A Rite of Passage is “a ritual that marks an important stage in an individual’s life cycle, such as birth, marriage, and death.” (1) Daniel G. Scott of the University of Victoria, British Columbia has stated, “the rite of passage, known as initiation or coming of age, was the central cultural form for the education and nurturance of humans from childhood into adult life using a process that clarified and affirmed new roles and status in the adult community.”( 2)
French Anthropologist Arnold van Gennep created the phrase ‘Rite of Passage’ to explain
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ix)” (4) Ceremonial rituals are found in all societies to mark the crossing of an individual or group to a new status or position in the community in which they live. Celebrations of these events are marked with everything from great jubilee to subdued acknowledgement of the journey. Rites of passage are compartmentalized into three different stages by as indicated by Van Gennep. These phases are pre-liminary, liminary, and post-liminary from the Latin word limen, meaning entrance or threshold. The initiate, is in the state of change or Liminality, showing humility and obedience by following conduct and dress as prescribed by those around.. Each of the acts in the ritual is representative of the transitional life crisis being faced by the one who has chosen to have these rights bestowed upon them whether by their choosing or not. With completion of each of these three ceremonies, the individual has entered a new life and gained new status within the perspective community. (van Gennep, 1960)
The pre-liminary phase is one of separation,” the ritual removal of the individual from society”.(5). The initiate, often times, is physically removed and separated from the group symbolizing the removal from society the individual’s former life. During this segregation many times members of the community, often the women, feign sadness and resist the separation of the men from them. This is the first step of the crossing over from one life to a new one. In
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