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Rites of passage are rituals and ceremonies that celebrate the transition from one stage of life to another. The recognition of many of these, especially birth and death, is universal, in all known cultures, both past and present. Additionally, one or more important points between birth and death, such as the transition from childhood to adulthood, marriage, and retirement, are marked with ceremonies.
Sometimes these rites demark a biological change, such as a girl's first menstruation, while many others commemorate purely cultural events, such as religious affirmations and confirmations for example, baptism and confirmation in Christianity, bar and bat mitzvahs in Judaismor secular events such Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 getting a driver's license, graduating from Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 school, or retirement may also be associated with rituals and ceremonies that are largely expressive.
The concept of rites of passage was first explicated in by Arnold van Gennep — in his book Les Rites de Passage. While the title of van Gennep's book is usually translated into English as "The Rites of Passage," it might be better translated as "The Rites of Transition" as his study dealt with the ceremonies that accompany the transitions individuals make between various life stages. In addition to the rituals and ceremonies associated with life transitions, van Gennep identified a second category of rites of passage, those that mark particular points in the passage of time, especially as indicated by celestial events.
These include, for example, the coming of the new year, the new moon, the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. While the three stages characterize all rites of passage, van Gennep claimed that they are not equally emphasized in all ceremonies or by all cultural groups.
For example, the element of separation is accentuated in funerary rituals while transition, which marks the period when Forgotten American Hero - Freddie K And The Breeze* - Immortally Wounded individual is removed from one status but not yet admitted to another, is most prominent in initiation ceremonies.
Rites of incorporation are emphasized in marriage. Van Gennep showed that rites of passage involve symbolism such as simulated birth and death or death and resurrection. Sometimes rites involve a ritual passing through a door or archway, symbolizing an individual's "death" and "rebirth" into a new status.
In the incorporation stage of rites of passage, the individual is often given a new name or title, as has traditionally been the case in Western culture when women marry or when one receives an advanced academic degree such as Mr.
The anthropologist Victor Turner characterized the transitional phase as particularly sacred or troublesome. This "liminal" from the Latin limen, meaning "threshold" period is one where the individual is between one status and another. During the liminal phase, initiates often feel a sense of separation from the everyday but also a feeling of togetherness with other initiates.
Turner referred to this sense of togetherness as communitas. He also emphasized the importance of rituals, such as those that demark life transitions. Mary DouglasRite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 anthropologist, argued that all social transitions are perceived as dangerous.
Moreover, because people in the transitional phase between life stages exist in a temporarily undefined status, their place in society is itself undefined. While van Gennep focused primarily on rituals directed at life transitions for individuals, in their text, Principles of Anthropology, Eliot D. Chapple and Carleton S. Coon distinguished between individual-oriented rites of passage and group-oriented rituals that they termed "rites of intensification.
Rites of intensification, such as planting and harvest ceremonies, in contrast to rites of passage, are community, rather than individual, events and create and maintain identity and cohesion in social groups. The development of rites of passage in America parallels the populating of the continent as well as the social change that has taken place since colonial times. Native Americans had, and continue to maintain in many cases, their own rites of birth, transition to adulthood, marriage, and death, while the first settlers from Europe, and later from other parts of the world, brought their particular rites of passage with them.
The forms and functions of rites of passage have changed over time as culture has changed, as well. In the American colonial period, for example, children were often regarded as small adults who should transition to fully adult behavior and responsibilities as rapidly as possible. Adolescence, as the social category acknowledged in the early twenty-first century, was either nonexistent as it seems to be in many other cultures, or very brief.
This meant that life transitions not only took place at different times than they Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 now but that their meaning was often different from today's, as well.
Moreover, some of the rites of passage that may have been important in the past are no longer significant while others that integrate with modern society and culture have been introduced in relatively recent times.
Since there are many different cultural and ethnic groups in America, the examples of rites of passage that follow are necessarily both selective and brief. They are arranged to approximate chronological order over the lifespan, although some, such as marriage Northwest Passage - Various - Dominionated The Third death, do not necessarily occur when individuals reach specific ages.
Mr. Blake* - People Everybody birth rites, either in America or elsewhere. Several explanations for this are possible. For one, until very recently in human history, infant mortality was so common that expending ritual effort on births, or the newborn, may have been regarded as premature.
Or, babies may have not been thought to be fully human until certain rites, such as naming, took place. Rites that take place either before the birthing and soon after are common, however. Giving small gifts to newborns or new parents dates, at least, to Roman times in Europe.
However, the modern form of such gift giving, the "baby shower," appeared in the late nineteenth century in the form of "teas" for new mothers. These took place after the baby was born because pregnant women, and especially those of social standing, did not appear in public. In the early twentieth century, these teas became "showers.
Showers involve gifts for the baby, often accompanied by advice for the parents-to-be, a meal, and, commonly, party games. Showers are generally held for first children only. Similar events for second or later children, if held, are sometimes called "sprinkles. Rites of Passage for the Young While rites of passage for birthing and for newborns are rare in America, religious rituals for infants and children are important.
Baptism Baptism is the closest thing to a birth rite in Christianity. The modern form of baptism is descended from ancient Judaism wherein non-Jews were baptized as part of a conversion rite. Baptism, derived from the Greek word "baptizein," meaning "to immerse," involved immersion in early Christianity. While immersion continues to be practiced in some Christian denominations, the more common practice of sprinkling water on the fore-heads of infants developed later. For early Christians, baptism, normally held during the Easter vigil, served to initiate neophytes into the Christian community, usually after an extended period of study.
Because baptism was a rite of conversion, it was not a rite of birth in early Christianity. However, with the Christianization of Europe, it evolved into a rite to be held within eight days of birth. As such, baptism resolved the child's ambiguous status of being incapable of committing a sin yet tainted by original sin. Because the rite publicly initiated a Christian, baptisms became known unofficially as "christenings.
Many Christian denominations now either disregard baptism entirely or, at minimum, no longer hold it as essential for salvation. Circumcision Jewish fathers are prescribed to circumcise their sons on the eighth day after their birth.
This practice is based on the belief that when God chose Abram eventually known as Abraham to be the founder of Judaism, he commanded him to circumcise himself and his sons. The ritual of circumcision is termed a brit or bris milah, meaning "the covenant of circumcision.
The two main parts of a bris milah are the circumcision and the naming of the baby. In addition, a religious feast, the seudat mitzvah, follows the ceremony. A similar rite for baby girls, called a bris bat, involves no medical procedure, and is primarily a naming ceremony. In addition to the bris, the Hebrew naming, and the banquet, godparents are usually designated at these events. Rites of Passage to Adulthood Ceremonial markers of the transition from childhood to adulthood are, worldwide, the most common form of rites of passage.
In Western culture, including the United Statesindividuals have an extended transitional period—adolescence that is largely absent in traditional societies.
Hence, for the most part, American society lacks definitive markers of the child-adult transition. For most young Americans, there is a series of events that, in effect, string out the child-adult transition. These include such secular events as moving from grade school to high school perhaps with middle or junior high school in betweenRite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 a driver's Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1registering to vote, graduating from high school or college, and achieving the age at which consumption of alcoholic beverages is legal.
Since boys and girls alike share these events, their substitution for traditional ceremonies, that were usually religious Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 nature, reflects the weakening of traditional gender roles.
However, some rituals involve entrance into society, most often for young women, that announce adult status and, hence, eligibility for marriage and child rearing. The "sweet sixteen" party and the debutante ball, described below, are two examples of such rituals. Although both have faded somewhat in popularity, they served to announce that initiates had attained adult status and, thus, could now engage in dating and, eventually, marriage.
Unlike boys, the transition from childhood to adulthood for girls has more significant physiological markers. While a public announcement of their first menstruation would be embarrassing and humiliating for most American girls, this was not the case in many Native American cultures. Among the Apache, for Reggae In The Grass - Various - Reggae In The Grass, the Sunrise Ceremony is a rite of passage for girls to women and is held during the summer following a girl's first menstruation.
In the Tom Pettings Hertzattacken - Alles Oder Nichts Statesthe confirmation, practiced by Catholics and some Protestant denominations, and the bar and bit mitzvah Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 Jews are rites of passage that demarcate childhood and adulthood in a religious sense, although not necessarily with respect to life in general.
Rite Of Passage - CIRClings - Stretching Time Vol.1 The evolution of baptism from a rite of initiation into Christendom to a birth rite left behind a ritual vacuum. That is, baptism no longer functioned as a transitional rite between childhood and adulthood. Hence, confirmation, initially a part of the baptism rite, eventually replaced baptism as an adolescent rite of passage into adulthood.
Although some sects, such as the Anabaptists, rejected the validity of infant baptism and hence required rebaptism, for Catholics and some Protestant denominations confirmation serves to reaffirm the grace bestowed in infant baptism.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah Jewish boys become full participants in community religious life at age thirteen when they become bar mitzvah. The bar mitzvah ceremony, while common, is not a requirement for becoming bar mitzvah and is a relatively recent innovation. The ceremony commonly consists of the initiate being called on to recite a blessing over the weekly reading from the Torah.
The initiate usually makes a speech, beginning with the phrase "Today, I am a man," as well. The bat mitzvah, first celebrated inis a similar ceremony for Jewish girls and it takes place when they are twelve years of age, although the ceremony can be postponed until they are thirteen, as with boys.
In some Jewish sects, the bat mitzvah is similar to the bar mitzvah while, in orthodox orders, females cannot participate in certain religious rituals and, hence, the bat mitzvah is essentially a party.
A rite of passage from childhood to adulthood at age twelve or thirteen may seem early and, indeed, those who become bar and bat mitzvah rarely assume fully adult roles.
However, in strictly Orthodox eastern European Jewish communities, boys of thirteen did experience a fundamental life change: they left their families for study at schools known as yeshivas for religious study. Except for holiday visits, many never returned to their families. Among modern Jewish communities, this practice is retained only among strictly Orthodox groups such as the Hasidim. Bar and bat mitzvahs usually involve elaborate receptions that follow the ceremony itself, much as is the case with weddings.
The ceremonies and the receptions are important social events for members of local Jewish communities and also reunite family members who may live far apart. Graduation Graduation is the culmination of a student's high school or college career. Traditionally, graduations consisted of two parts, the commencement and the baccalaureate. Commencement is the part of the graduation ceremony where graduates receive their degrees and, traditionally, flip the tassels on their hats from one side to the other to show their changed status.
The baccalaureate, which dates to a statute at Oxford Universityrequired the graduate to deliver a sermon in Latin. The tradition has continued in America although the sermons are no longer in Latin, no longer religious in nature in public institutions, and are delivered either by school officials or an invited guest. The class valedictorian, the student who has graduated first academically in his or her class, delivers the valediction at the ceremony.
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