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.