Conservation Ecology 5 2: Areas of Challenge and Research Discussion: It draws on my experience in the field, particularly with Native youth in a community-based program called "Rediscovery. Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Rites of Passage , please sign up. That's all I have to say. Hensley Right now there aren't any plans for a sequel.
My next book will be another stand-alone for Harper Teen. With that being said, I wouldn't be opposed …more Right now there aren't any plans for a sequel. With that being said, I wouldn't be opposed to writing a sequel if it works out. Hope that helps, even though I don't think it's the definitive answer you're looking for.
Who designed the cover for Rites of Passage? Jack Sarah Nichole Kaufman. See all 11 questions about Rites of Passage…. Lists with This Book.
Aug 20, Emily May rated it really liked it Shelves: As if being female is somehow a sickness Mom and I can get over. Psst, come over here. You haven't read this book yet, have you? I'm going to bet you haven't and I'm also willing to bet that I know the reason. You saw it was called Rites of Passage and you saw the dog tags on the cover image and, let's face it, your interest was probably already waning, right?
But you don't like to judge a book by its cover so you decided to check out the blurb. And then you remembered all those other books that promised epic fantasy, fast-paced drama and hot guys or girls and this book was suddenly forgotten, right? Then step right up here because you belong in the same club as me.
The "I judged Rites of Passage completely wrong" club. It was a close call. I so very nearly passed up this well-written, well-paced, completely moving contemporary in favour of some probably terrible paranormal and fantasy. The cast of characters is large but each one is well-drawn and feels very real; the relationship dynamics are complex and realistic but no less engaging; the plot moves along at a perfect pace, telling multiple stories of family, friendship, love and loss. She doesn't skimp on the details of the rough training the students must face.
Nor does she serve up a watered down version of the sexism and homophobia present amongst many young males in the military. I don't know about you, but there's just something so damn compelling about books that piss me off. As a woman, it was almost impossible to not care about and root for Sam in this book.
I've never wanted to go to military school - if you know me, the idea is really quite laughable - but hell, this book made me desperate for Sam to prove everyone wrong and make it through. There was so much unfairness and misogyny balanced out by Sam's determination and badassery but still realistically so that I was unable to look away.
This is one of those books that doesn't get picked up unless some annoying person on the internet fangirls like crazy and tells you to give it a chance! So, fellow readers, here I am: View all 24 comments. They're not going to stop. Not until I'm gone. Rites of Passage left me on such a high, I'm jumping around at 5AM like a crazy person when I should have been tucked up in bed like the reasonable adult I'm supposed to be. Yet as I've been flirting on a slump all summer, I wasn't going to stop reading such a captivating story: The thing is, it would have been so easy to write Mac in an unrealistic way, to make her so successful that her kickass personality would have reeked of unbelievability, and I'm so glad it wasn't the case.
I admire her all the same. I've never understood why kickass female leads had to fight alone to be strong - "valuable". What the fuck is that?!
Where Two Worlds Touch: Spiritual Rites of Passage
It's the working woman fighting to the top all over again, and that's so sad. Why are we accepting that? Why are we condoning the wicked message that we need to be alone to deserve our success? In my opinion Rites of Passage 's message is way more important: I loved the complicity and friendship between Mac and some of her classmates. I loved that she found people to stand up for her and yet kept making her own decisions. Girl power, but not only - let's not put all men in the same basket, alright? I also have the biggest crush on the love interest, which is a shock, because men in uniforms give me the CREEPS I know how irrational that is, trust me - one of my close friends was in the military and he teased me about it endlessly, but what can I say, I am weird.
I loved this adorable guy.
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Granted, there are two boys, but never at the same time, and the first one is already history when the second one YUM steals the show. If that's a love triangle, then we've all been in one once in our life what a frightening thought, I know. I'll end this night rambling by saying that I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending because of two opposite reasons: Aw hell, I don't care. In my head everything goes well in the end OKAY?! Nearly perfect as far as I'm concerned: I'm still cracking up about the alarm people thing. For more of my reviews, please visit: View all 17 comments.
Sep 14, Lola rated it liked it Shelves: Sam is one unforgettable and inspiring character. Exactly what we needed for this kind of story; someone who will show and prove us what we, as human, are truly capable of, if only we persevere and work hard without looking behind us but ahead of us. Not only is this inspiring and motivating us to do whatever we dream of or feel the need to accomplish, but it also features some other great themes such as discovering what family is all about, how friendship is built and, yes, some less wonderful ones like betrayal but fortunately also how to move past that and just… keep going.
I was very frustrated at first because of the person giving Sam such an unconceivable hard time but then her determination got the best of me and I kept believing she will succeed in this military school, whatever people did to bring her down and make her quit. Almost every student was on her back…yet she kept waking every morning, following orders with as many yells and going to sleep with a hidden ache in her stomach but also with the feeling that she had survived the day and the hope that tomorrow she will as well.
And, you know what? I completely believed her.
Sam may have chosen to go to military school because of a bet, but we can also see that she, whatever everyone may think or make her imagine, has her place there. She deserves a place there. Of course, there is some romance in this story…but also some kind of a love-triangle. Not a super present and heavy but actually a gradual one. What I mean by that is that we first get to know the first love interest and then another one embarks. Not quite both at the same time. It worked out in this book well enough and has a more convenient turn of events that most love-triangles have.
The writing was good but you should maybe know that the story is not fast-paced. What is surprising is that I never thought of reading this story in particular before seeing how praised it was by reviewers. View all 54 comments. Jul 13, Aj the Ravenous Reader rated it really liked it Shelves: But Sam is an incredibly impressive and strong character-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My biggest complaint is the rushed ending.
But overall, I enjoyed the entire book. The inspiring messages in the story would certainly linger and I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a unique YA contemporary read. View all 15 comments. Mar 29, Melanie rated it really liked it Shelves: I did a discussion review with one of my bestest bloggy friends ever, Jaz.
A quick summary of what we discussed: She's brave and a hard worker. And she kicked everyone's asses. Never read anything set in military school and you can tell the author knows A LOT about it. This is how it's done! What a wonderful book!
What is a rite of passage? Why is it Important? — Rite of Passage Journeys
Since it seemed like a 'boy' book I decided to check out the blurb as well. It's not a 'boy' book! It's about something I've never read. I had to get it! I prayed to God, Jesus, Buddha, Zeus and Loki the lovely peeps from Harper Teen would grant me the wish to read it before everybody else. Her brother dared her to do it before he killed himself so Sam felt she had to do it.
Her father's in military, her two brothers as well so it was obvious she would follow in their footsteps. After her brother killed himself everything changed; her mother started popping pills, father wasn't around and her brother who's with her in the DMA wasn't talking to her. Aside from the family drama, Sam had to deal with hazing from the members of the school's secret society who want her and 3 other girls gone.
She's not sure who to trust and who her real friends are. Throughout the whole book I was on the edge of my seat. It was as if I was Sam and I was being hazed every day for 9 months. I felt her pain and anger. I wanted to reach out and help her out somehow or at least punch the bastards who were abusing her daily. Some of the scenes were hard to watch. It just made me wonder how many people go through the same thing in real life.
You'd think being a soldier is something to be proud of but just like in every other job there are good and bad people. The world is not black and white. I don't want to talk too much about the plot since the blurb already covered that part but you should know this book is worth the time. I think I'm going to persuade my friends to read it once it gets out because they can't miss this outstanding debut and you shouldn't either!
View all 31 comments. And thanks to Anna for recommending I ask for this for Xmas I loved meeting the sexy, forbidden Colonel. Like all my posts lately, review to come. View all 10 comments. Apr 28, Lauren rated it it was amazing Shelves: I stayed up until 1: I was completely hooked on this story from start to finish.
I would never survive a military school, especially everything Sam faced at DMA. She could definitely give any dystopian heroine a run for her money. Sam is fierce and determined to survive at all cost and never gives up, even when faced with constant pressure from people who will do anything to see her gone. Drill was pretty amazing and swoony as I stayed up until 1: Drill was pretty amazing and swoony as well.
Learn to Embrace Change as Part of Your Spiritual Homework with this Pathfinding Guide
I love how he supported Sam. I'd pick him for my team any day. I'm hoping we get a sequel! There's definitely more story that could be told. But this is a great standalone if not. Full review to come. View all 3 comments. Sep 04, Beatrix rated it really liked it Shelves: And instead they get the most wonderful treat in the form of a paperback. Two main reasons why I loved this: The amount of detail is stunning.
The beginning was somewhat boring to me, I admit, because it sta 4. The beginning was somewhat boring to me, I admit, because it starts right away with endless descriptions of drills and practices they were forced to do. But, soon it picks up, and oh well, you get used to it. And even though at times it was tough, I loved every second of it. And, Sam, oh you brave girl. I wanted to hug her at times, because she was obviously missing affection. As a person who hates working out, or anything sports-related, I truly admired her.
Well, not just her, but everyone courageous enough to do what Sam did. God knows I would never do it. I say, screw you all, Sam you show them. And did she ever. Not only is she not wanted, daily abused but also has a secret society called The Society working with full force trying to make her quit. I think the author did a great job, not only in portraying what life in a military school looks like, but in giving a voice to Sam, who is an awesome female heroine, IMO.
I loved everything the way it was. Go meet Sam and live through a hell year at DMA. View all 11 comments. Aug 06, Jodi Meadows rated it it was amazing. What is life like for the first girl to enroll in a previously all-boy's military school? Smoke shows, secret societies, and a steamy romance: But I'm pretty sure I'd have died by page 10 if I'd been in Mac's place. May 16, Ksenia rated it it was amazing Shelves: And what a shame! I loved this book! The author went to a military school on a dare and her personal experience is evident throughout the book. My only complaint is the ending romance-wise.
I loved this book. You can find my reviews: View all 12 comments. Apr 05, Rachel E. Carter rated it it was amazing Shelves: Highly recommend for fans of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series. Loved how powerful Sam was as a protagonist who refused to give up against all odds -all so she could pave the way for other girls to join the same military academy.
Don't write this off because of the cover and title. I experienced so much anger reading this - in all the right ways. You wanna read about a girl fighting the patriarchy in an all-boys' military academy with badassery and a smidgen of cute yet forbidden romance? When most of the guys want her out of there even resorting to kicking her in the side, OY and her military family won't help her?
When she wants to succeed to make it easier for other females to come in, even when the other girls with Don't write this off because of the cover and title. When she wants to succeed to make it easier for other females to come in, even when the other girls with her don't want to stay?
Then pick this up! You can't help rooting for Sam throughout the book, even when you're raging inside over the blatant sexism. I had to sit in bed turning pages on my Kindle just to witness her comeuppance. It was so worth it. Plus, the author went to military school and it shows. The setting feels authentic; the drills and routine are so hardcore you want to hug them all. He follows the Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung — in championing the importance of myth and ritual, especially for uprooted moderns who so often suffer from alienation and a pervasive sense of meaninglessness—what Jung calls the disease of our age.
Rituals provide avenues for "participation mystique," participation in mystery, the experience of the "numinous," or the profoundly awesome. The journalist Gail Sheehy has also noted this glaring lack of ritual to shepherd us through life's transformations in her popular book of , Passages: Predictable Crises in Adult Life.
She remarks that although some attention is paid by psychologists to the difficult passages of childhood and adolescence, the successive stages of adult life rate hardly any notice. She cites Erik Erickson as one of the few psychologists to have offered any awareness of continuing passages after adolescence. The ruling concept appears to be that we fight our way through childhood and the confusions of adolescence only to plateau out into our twenties and cruise through to the finish line on a straight, unmarked path.
This paucity of attention to passages through adult life, she says, leaves our potential for continued growth undeveloped. Her book seeks to contribute toward filling in these gaps. She lists these recognizable phases in life: Certainly some rituals remain to mark the attainment of important stages in life. Many of us mark the reaching of a new year at our birthday with some sort of acknowledgment, though few among us may recognize it as an occasion to honor the commencement of a new cycle in our lives.
We celebrate various holidays through the year, but what is missing is precisely a sense of the sacred. They are regarded largely as holidays—excuses to enjoy days off from work—but the metaphor has died. We no longer perceive them, by and large, as holy days. Ritual still surrounds the culminating events of life such as weddings, graduations, and funerals, but what happens to us in between these momentous events? Sheehy notes that other cultures have done more to provide a lifelong nexus of ritual forms to recognize these passages, such as the Hindu system's Four Stages of Life.
In this context the religious perspective offers a "sacred canopy" to use Peter Berger's language, providing a container for sacralizing the ongoing experience of life from the student phase, through householder stage, to dharma phase, the period entered in midlife when the natural tendency is to be occupied with a search for deeper meaning, culminating in the moksha stage in the sixties, and beyond, when all Hindus can aspire to take up some version of the life of the sannyassi holy man and his quest for salvation. A similar ritual framework might be cited in the ancient Greek tradition of the archer-goddess Artemis, recognized as the goddess of perilous passages.
Each of life's difficult transitions from birth to death was honored by prayers to Artemis to deliver the individual through the narrow passage, as if each such event were a new birth through a perilous birth canal, which could end in death: The perilous passage might kill us. Today we lack such rituals and are left to flounder through the profound changes in life with a clumsy gait, a forlorn fear, and a nagging sense that there must be something wrong with us.
If we had a ritual system to render sacred these predictable and perfectly normal passages in life, we might be able to combat this sense of meaninglessness and infuse our lives with a deeper experience of the sacred. How different it used to be in the ancient past! Evidence from the Paleolithic cave paintings in France and Spain attest to a profound ritualistic sensibility.
Many sites show evidence of adolescent initiation rites, based on the presence of footprints in the soft clay of the cave floors. These footprints, undisturbed for thousands of years, remain as a silent witness to the amazing power of ritual. Many of these ritual sites are miles deep in the caves, in areas very difficult to access. It is as if the ritual necessitated a journey deep into dangerous territory, to undergo an ordeal and a triumphant emergence for the transformed souls who are rebirthed out of the cave, the womb of the deep Earth Mother.
Jean Clottes tells of one spectacular archeological find. The eyes of late twentieth-century explorers were the first in tens of thousands of years to fall upon an incredible sight: At the back of a closed-in passage miles deep in the cave, they witnessed—still standing undisturbed—a bear skeleton. It stood upright on its hind legs with its skull on the ground between its feet and its skeleton covered with a much-maligned bear pelt.
As researchers approached it, they discovered, still as fresh as the day they had been trampled in the earth, adolescent-sized footprints in the soft clay, going round and round the bear skeleton, its pelt showing signs of having been repeatedly stabbed by spearheads. Some ancient ritual of adolescent initiation to the mystery of the hunt was frozen here, to stand as a testament for all time, bathed in utter silence and the profound, absolute darkness of the cave's protective walls.
When we say that these adolescents were being initiated into the mystery of the hunt, we petition an important category that Joseph Campbell termed the "company of braves. Providing sustenance and protection of the innocent are the archaic tasks, if not to say drives, of the males in the society.
Are these drives "hard-wired," rooted at an instinctive level in the masculine consciousness? If so, these primal societies provided a built-in mechanism to honor and celebrate these vital energies, as adolescent boys were put through a ritualistic ordeal to achieve "bravery" and to earn the respect of the grown men who regularly participated in hunting magic. The well-known vision quest tradition among the plains Indians of North America is an example of such a profound initiation ritual: The youth who embarks on the quest returns a brave, as in the similar "walkabout" ritual of the aboriginal Australians and the circumcision and other cutting rituals adolescent boys endure in traditional African cultures.
This sort of initiation rite is almost completely lacking in our contemporary culture. The lack of a sacralizing ritual leaves adolescents to flounder through this stage on their own, bonding with peers who are experiencing the same passage, left to feel completely misunderstood and unappreciated by their parents, teachers, and guardians of the ruling social order into which they are tacitly expected to enter and assume their appropriate place.
Initiation rites are typically supposed to be provided by the religious traditions of a culture. And indeed, the dominant religions of our culture do retain some such rites. There are the Bar and Bat Mitzvah rituals in Judaism, and Confirmation in the church rituals in Catholicism and some forms of Protestantism. The Jewish boy or girl memorizes Bible passages, leads the congregation in prayer and offers an address modeled on the form of a sermon. It is a ritual introduction into a legalistic framework that he or she now takes on as a personal responsibility.
Similarly, the Christian youth undergoing Confirmation is ritually initiated into an all-encompassing system of dogma, with attendant rules and regulations to be followed with diligence. Certainly there is room within the ritual itself for the initiate to experience a profound, spiritual awakening, the presence of the divine filling his or her soul. But this kind of numinous experience probably happens all too infrequently in actuality.
Campbell and Jung claim that traditional Western religions have long ago ossified. The original core experience of the mysterious that rituals are designed to inculcate long ago faded to leave only the external forms of adherence to dogma and strict practice. Rituals like the Bar Mitzvah or Confirmation do not initiate the youth into the mystery of his or her own body. The surging energies experienced in adolescence are never engaged in the initiation rite. Unlike the powerful rituals of primal societies, the Bar Mitzvah boy is not newly initiated into a company of braves nor instilled with the sense of a new potency coursing through his veins.
Leading the congregation in prayer may, indeed, be scary, but it is not primal. It is nothing like facing down a huge woolly rhinoceros charging at his face, armed only with a wooden spear. As Joseph Campbell puts it, the ruling mythologies of our culture are at least two thousand years out of date for our contemporary experience. We do not inhabit the desert world of ancient Jerusalem anymore. Our world is a high-tech, fast-paced wonder of computers and the burgeoning information superhighway.
To be initiated into the ancient law or the church is, in most cases, finally irrelevant to the immediate fascinations of the contemporary mindset. It does not provide a mechanism for participating in mystery, even if that is what it was originally designed to do. This ossification of our traditional religions has left moderns craving for a genuine experience of the numinous.
Currents in contemporary culture will always spontaneously invent new modes for such experience. These new ritual forms represent an authentic surging up of primal energies, authentic since they have been authored by participants in contemporary culture and stem directly from contemporary experience. The contemporary practices of piercing and tattooing that were all the rage in the popular culture of the s might be seen to represent precisely this.
It is a new shamanism, as these are long-standing practices shamans have cultivated all over the world. The young person of the s might have been through a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or Confirmation, but that was obligatory—imposed upon them by their parents' expectations and so, not authentic. But the night they went to get their first tattoo or piercing put them through a genuine ordeal.
They chose to undergo pain that had to be endured over some period of time. They decided purposefully on the specific tattoo or area to be pierced. These acts of penetration into their flesh left them ritually scarred—marked for life with the proud sign of the ordeal. They forged a new identity during these rituals, as they emerged from out of the darkened tattoo parlor, a marked person, a changed person. The experience might have been entered into in solitude or shared with peers, but it was most emphatically not enjoined by, or typically approved of, by the parental units.
It was the sheer intensity of raw, immediate, physical experience the youth was craving. The tattoo and piercing became sacred rituals, rites of passage into a new authentic self. But what has become of the sacred company of braves? Where is the community of elders who welcomed the newly transformed youth into the mystery of the hunt? The youth today might sport a stylish new tattoo, but then he simply returns to regular life. There is no righteous fight to join to provide for dependents or protect them from harm, though this was not always the case in the modern world until very recent times.
The generations that fought both World Wars I and II had no lack of a righteous fight to engage their primal postadolescent energies. There was a strong company of braves to join as well as a sharply demarcated battle to protect the innocent and combat injustice. These generations experienced no emptiness, no longing for the intensity of experience. Boot camp forcefully—and ritualistically—inaugurated them into the mystery and power of their own bodies. These generations of young men had their primal need to join a respected company of braves well satisfied.
But in the postwar era, the battlegrounds of the righteous fight began to be profoundly obscured. Members of the generation that came into adolescence during the s were rebels, but without a cause. This was the generation that invented rock and roll , the new, virtually exciting pathway for experiencing the numinous and for directly engaging the surging energies of the body. It was not precisely a company of braves, but it was an authentically created avenue for satisfying the desired intensity of experience. This ritual form continued to engage the generation that came into adolescence in the s.
They also had a righteous fight to fight, as they inaugurated the "street-fighting" mode of powerful social protest. The war in Vietnam and the war against the war provided these youths with an avenue for the intensity of experience.
Rites of Passage
But with the s a kind of pervasive disillusionment set in, perhaps born of Watergate, and the young had no real righteous fight to join, no ritual introduction into a company of braves, the traditional model for this carried by the military brotherhood having been distinctly soured after the humiliations of Vietnam. Apathy and self-centered greed became the hallmarks of this age, culminating in the culture of greed of the s.
The s also brought in a conservative swing, a kind of backlash against the complexity that had marked the entire century. The harkening for a more simple, traditional set of "family values" and a swing toward fundamental—that is, basic, simple—forms of religion stamped the young of that era with a conservative quality. This almost seems unnatural for youth, a time in life when rebellion seems to be built in by nature.
The youth culture of the s was marked by this conservative legacy but seemed strangely schizophrenic—so often conservative in political values, yet wild in their quest for powerful experience in rave clubs and in the Gothic fascination with the macabre, the cult of death. Still there was no righteous fight to join, no well-defined set of causes, as if the youth of the s seemed to be resigned to worldwide destruction.
It is as if they were "dancing in the wasteland," cultivating a purposeful sense of not caring while the world devolved into violence and chaos. This was apathy with an edge, and a real fascination for violence emerged. The primal company of braves has distorted into inner city street gangs and rural white supremacist and militia movements, filled with young men fascinated with guns and bombs and dedicated to an ugly violence. If there were an honorable avenue for channeling these energies, a way in which young men could earn the genuine respect of the peers and elders and be honored by society for their authentic bravery then perhaps we might avoid the drive-by shootings, gang violence, and school shooting rampages we experienced in the s.
In other words, if there were honored, recognized rites of passage for earning genuine power and respect, these distortions might be transformed. But how do we reinfuse our culture with primal rituals? Not only are adolescents left without an initiation into a company of braves, but the subsequent natural passages of life remain without any ritual forms. The attempts of individuals like Robert Bly and Sam Keen to reintroduce shamanic rituals in the emergent "men's movement" reflect an authentic move toward the resacralizing of our lives, as the conservative Christian Promise Keepers might also be said to represent.
These are rituals for adult males that perhaps go some distance toward re-creating an authentic company of braves. All well and good, but they are largely fringe movements, whereas the majority in mainstream culture remain unengaged. And these rituals are for men only.
Where are the primal rituals to initiate the female into the profound mysteries of her own body and to honor her continued transformations through the various stages of life? Such rituals virtually do not exist in our culture, and women are left to experience their own mysteries in isolation. Joseph Campbell said, "woman is the mystery," a profound comment with far-reaching implications. The awesome changes that render the woman capable of creating new life are going to happen within her body in any case. Still, these profound transformations need some ritual avenue to be made consciously meaningful.
While such rituals do not exist for the majority of women, the pagan religions of Wicca, Goddess, and the Earth have perennially provided spiritual containers for the mysteries of the female experience. The contemporary resurgence of such primal forms of religion is a result of the same thirst for the experience of the numinous, for the sacralizing of the stages of our lives. The fact that our contemporary culture has witnessed a strong welling-up of such primal religious forms demonstrates the extreme importance of the need for meaningful rites of passage.
Clottes, Jean, and David Lewis -Williams. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious: 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 Judaism , or secular events such as getting a driver's license, graduating from high 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.
Rites of Passage
Van Gennep then distinguished three sequential stages of rites of passage: 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 an 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 Douglas , another 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 do 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 and death, do not necessarily occur when individuals reach specific ages. Birth Rites Although van Gennep claimed that birth constitutes one of the primary transitions in human life there are relatively few true 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 States , individuals 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 between , getting a driver's license, registering 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 in 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 example, 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 United States , the confirmation, practiced by Catholics and some Protestant denominations, and the bar and bit mitzvah for Jews are rites of passage that demarcate childhood and adulthood in a religious sense, although not necessarily with respect to life in general.
Confirmation 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 in , is 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: 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 University , required 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. The valediction usually involves a recollection of the classes' past and exhortations for the future. Like many other rites of passage, graduation involves symbolic clothing. These involve caps, gowns, and, depending on the degree being received, hoods.
Because early university education in Europe was in the hands of clerics and was largely religious in nature, students and teachers alike wore robes. Hoods may have served to protect tonsured clerical heads until the introduction of the skullcap. Oxford and Cambridge standardized university dress in the sixteenth century and these traditions were exported with the founding of the first American universities beginning with Harvard College in An intercollegiate commission met at Columbia University in in order to establish a system for academic dress.
The commission prescribed the materials and styles for gowns, including the colors that designated different fields of study. Although some minor changes have been made since, the regulations adopted by the American Council on Education in remain in place for academic costumes. While black is the prescribed color for gowns, in the s, graduates from high schools, colleges, and universities began to wear gowns in their school colors. Diplomas, class rings, and yearbooks are common markers of graduation. Early diplomas were of sheepskin.
Parchment began to replace sheepskin around although diplomas are still often referred to as "sheepskins. The high school and college yearbook developed from school newspapers and literary magazines. Yearbooks, which may date to the s in the United States, were initially scrapbooks that contained various school memorabilia. The Yale Banner, the oldest college yearbook in the United States, dates to and originally published enrollment statistics and memberships in societies.
Graduations at all levels are commonly celebrated with graduation parties. These celebrate the changed status of the graduates. While most high school graduates in the early s went on to higher education of some kind, those who did not were expected to become employed and assume fully adult roles in society. The same was true of college graduates. The Debutante Ball The debutante ball is a traditional means of introducing young women, aged sixteen to eighteen, to society.
The ball is a format for their "debut" into the adult world. The American debut tradition is rooted in English custom and is based on the idea that mates for daughters of aristocratic families were to be of similar social standing. While there is no formal aristocracy in America, debutante balls are most often for the daughters of well-to-do families.
Balls begin with the formal introduction of young women and their partners to guests in the form of a promenade across the ballroom. Masters of ceremonies, who introduce the debutantes, often comment on their gowns and some of their activities. Normally a cohort of young women debut at the same time. The introductions are followed by several formal dances. A formal meal and more dancing follow. The tradition of the debutante ball began in American in in Philadelphia but the best-known event for debutantes is the Mayflower Ball, held in New York City.
They held their first annual meeting at the Waldorf Hotel in and, thereafter, held dinner banquets each November in celebration of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. The balls, traditionally held in October or November, involve a gourmet meal, orchestral music, and presentation of the Plymouth Awards to recognize individuals for their efforts in philanthropy and education.