Rites of Passage Essay

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of passageRite of passage A rite of passage is a ritual event that marks a person's transition from one status to another. The concept of rites of passage as a general theory of socialization was first formally articulated by Arnold van Gennep in his book The Rites of Passage to denote rituals marking the transitional phase between childhood and full inclusion into a tribe or social group.[1] The concept of the rite of passage is also used to explore and describe various other milestones in an individual's life, for any marked transitional stage, when one's social status is altered. Gennep's work exercised a deep impact on anthropological thought.[2] Milestones include transitions from puberty, year 7 to high school, coming of age, marriage and death. Initiation ceremonies such as baptism, akika, confirmation and Bar are considered important rites of passage for people of their respective religions. Rites of passage show anthropologists what social hierarchies, values and beliefs are important in specific cultures. ------------------------------------------------- Stages Rites of passage have three phases: separation, transition, and reincorporation, as van Gennep described. "I propose to call the rites of separation from previous world, preliminal rites, those executed during the transitional stage liminal (or threshold) rites, and the ceremonies of incorporation into the new world post liminal rites."[3] In the first phase, people withdraw from their current status and prepare to move from one place or status to another. "The first phase (of separation) comprises symbolic behaviour signifying the detachment of the individual or group ... from an earlier fixed point in the social structure."[4] There is often a detachment or "cutting away" from the former self in this phase, which is signified in symbolic actions and rituals. For example, the cutting of the

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