Sociology Index


A rite of passage is a ritual of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. Rites of passage is the ritual or ceremonial acknowledgment of a person's passage from one stage of life to the next. Examples of rites of passage are, the graduation ceremony, the retirement party or onset of puberty.

Many cultures provide a ritualized acknowledgment of the passage to adulthood but sociologists note that rites of passage has all but disappeared from modern societies. Rites of passage to puberty, that is, the period during which adolescents girls reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction, is a common practice in India.

The Massai tribe of Kenya, and many other groups in Africa, use female "circumcision" as their main ritual marking her rite of passage into womanhood. Rites of passage have three phases: separation, liminality, and incorporation, as described by van Gennep.

Religious communities often hold rites of passage which involve traditional blessings, prayers and rituals. There are rites of passage in every religion. They usually involve rituals or ceremonies to mark significant moments in a person's life, such as birth, adolescence, marriage and death.

In India, when a man reaches the age of sixty he is considered to have lived a full and fruitful life and the rites of passage to this stage is celebrated with rituals for a new beginning. Couples go through the ceremony of marriage again. Every corner of the world has some form of coming of age ritual or rites of passage. Whether it is puberty or the Japanese Coming of Age Day, which is the crossing between being a child and an adult. Even adventure education programs, such as Outward Bound, have often been described as potential rites of passage. 

Rites of Passage and Group Bonding in he Canadian Airborne - Donna Winslow, University of Ottawa. -This article addresses the issue of primary group bonding and non-conventional methods for promoting unit cohesion. Conventional army training intensifies the power of group pressure within its ranks using methods that teach recruits the need for teamwork. Less conventional methods, such as initiation rites, are also used to promote group bonding.

Rites of Passage at Adolescence: A Ritual Process Paradigm 
Richard M. Dunham, Jeannie S. Kidwell, Florida State University.
Stephen M. Wilson, Montana State University.
Concepts which relate rites of passage to the developmental process at adolescence are reviewed. Selected concepts are assembled to serve as a new interdisciplinary paradigm of ritual processes affecting development. The new paradigm is offered as an elaboration of the classic tripartite paradigm of vanGennep (1909), from the original three steps to fourteen. 

Reflections on "Rites, right? The rites of passage of cross-disciplinary concepts: The value of rites de passage for dealing with today's career transitions" - Altman Yochanan; Holmes Len.
Abstract: Purpose - Mayrhofer and Iellatchitch's discussion of rites of passage in the context of contemporary careers raises some concerns as to the usefulness of the concept as well as to its transferability across disciplines. This rejoinder maintains that, while the employment of rites of passage should be welcomed, its use in career discourse should be made with caution and reserve. Design/methodology/approach - Asks searching questions in pursuit of the above.

The Rites of Passage Youth Empowerment Program is an intensive, focused and sustained preventive and/or intervention approach to empower youth with the knowledge, skills and abilities to transition successfully from adolescence into adulthood. Youth completing the 12 challenges of the program will be equipped with the tools necessary to effect positive change in their lives and communities.

Through the Rites of Passage Program, youth learn through empowerment not fear. This program teaches, teamwork, leadership, values, responsibility and practical life skills.

The Rites of Passage Youth Empowerment Foundation is a group of individuals committed to improving the quality of life and environment for today's youth through the development and implementation of knowledge and skill-based training programs (Rites Programs). These programs provide a step-by-step holistic method to help youth find a sense of self and purpose in their lives.

The Rites of Passage Youth Empowerment Foundation formalizes the training ground of the Rites Programs by providing support through funding and human resources to facilitators of these programs. Rites Programs help youth direct their energies to positive goals for their life, instead of the slippery road into drugs, delinquency and pregnancy.