Rite of PassageWhy is right of Passage important ?? How is it important? How does it relate to our life ? If you are going to write about "rite of passage", what will you be writing ? What name...

Rite of Passage

Why is right of Passage important ??

How is it important?

How does it relate to our life ?

If you are going to write about "rite of passage", what will you be writing ?

What name will you choose for your title ?


Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rite of passage refers to rituals that signal to us and to the society around us that we have reached a new stage in life.  These rites are sometimes religiously based, although they do not necessarily have to be.  They can be formal or informal.  They are important to us because they mark a change in our expectations of ourselves and a change in what society expects of us.  A rite of passage usually brings about new rights and new responsibilities.

Some examples of rites of passage include first Communion, confirmation, the bar or bat mitzvah, the first day of kindergarten, and high school and college graduation.  In each of these instances, an old stage of life is ending and a new one is beginning.

Writing about rites of passage might mean discussing a rite that you participated in or one that you look forward to participating in.  What does it mean to you?  What new rights and responsibilities come with your rite of passage?

You might also use such an assignment to learn about a rite of passage in a culture that is unfamiliar to you.  It could be interesting to think about and discuss how another rite of passage is similar to and different from those in your culture.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some time ago Life magazine included a section of the different rites of passage that various cultures have practiced.  Most of these were initiations into manhood or womanhood.  One that was mentioned for America was the Prom which used to be the first time that teens stayed up all night with dates.  Of course, with such a permissive and promiscuous society nowadays, the Prom has lost much of its significance.  So, you may wish to reflect upon how with the deterioration of culture, these rites of passage also lose meaning.

Nevertheless, in the states of the Southeast and the Southwest, there is yet a rite of passage that is practiced among hunters that yet carries significance:  When a boy shoots his first deer, the hunters smear the blood of the deer on the boy/man's face and hands. 

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Often times, a rite of passage is a challenge of some sort -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, or physically.  Being able to succeed is the "passage" part.  It could be considered a rite of passage to withstand the first double workout of the varsity football team's season.  Doing well on the ACT or SAT is an intellectual challenge that all students must do at least once.  Having your first broken heart is an emotional challenge that all young people must pass through.  What is important to consider is not only the rite itself but the potential positive consequences of the passage through the challenge.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A right of passage might differ from culture to culture.  For example, a Jewish child might participate in a right of passage ritual know as a bar mitzva.  Children from particular tribes also undergo ritual rights of passage which can include tattoos or other cultural symbols.  In the US, a non-religious right of passage might include something like a prom or homecoming game.  Each culture has its own rights of passage.  Generally, this is something that marks the transition from childhood into adulthood, like graduating from high school.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rites of passage are often a sudden event in a person's life that teaches them something. It doesn't have to be a formalized event. Many people witness death for the first time -- car accidents, fires, older relatives -- and find themselves growing in maturity. Learning about something significant to your life can also qualify. Plug "Rite of Passage" into Google and see what comes up. Also, recall important events in your life and think if they taught you a life lesson or changed your outlook.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These rites are important to us because they are indicators that we are growing up and moving from one status to another in our society.  Pretty much everyone wants that to happen to them, at least up to a certain point.  So I would be writing about the way in which I was moving up in my society and why I wanted to move to that next status.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Which rite of passage you write about will depend a lot on your culture. Remember that not all rites of passage have to be religious ones. For example, in America I think getting a driver's liscense when you are sixteen or so is a kind of rite of passage, but a cultural and no religious one.