Transformational Narrative:
Rites of Passage
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RITES OF PASSAGE

Birth, puberty, marriage, and death are, in all cultures, marked by ceremonies which may differ but are universal in function. Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) was the first anthropologist to note the regularity and significance of the rituals attached to the transitional stages in man's life, and his phrase for these, "the rites of passage," has become a part of the language of anthropology and sociology.
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Birth, puberty, marriage, and death are, in all cultures, marked by ceremonies which may differ but are universal in function. Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) was the first anthropologist to note the regularity and significance of the rituals attached to the transitional stages in man's life, and his phrase for these, "the rites of passage," has become a part of the language of anthropology and sociology.
A rite of passage is a ceremony or ritual of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It involves a significant change of status in society. In cultural anthropology the term is the Anglicisation of rite de passage, a French term innovated by the ethnographer Arnold van Gennep in his work Les rites de passage, "The Rites of Passage". The term is now fully adopted into anthropology as well as into the literature and popular cultures of many modern languages.
Rite of passage, ceremonial event, existing in all historically known societies, that marks the passage from one social or religious status to another. This article describes these rites among various societies throughout the world, giving greatest attention to the most common types of rites; explains their purposes from the viewpoints of the people observing the rites; and discusses their social, cultural, and psychological significance as seen by scholars seeking to gain an understanding of human behaviour.
A rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a person's social or sexual status. Rites of passage are often ceremonies surrounding events such as childbirth, puberty, coming of age, marriages, or death. The term was popularized by German ethnographer Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957) in the early part of the twentieth century. Rites of passage are diverse, celebrated in a wide variety of ways throughout the world. There continue to be many diverse examples of rites of passages in contemporary society.
The phrase “rite of passage” was coined by the anthropologist Arnold van Gennep (1873–1957) in his 1909 book of that title (Fr. “Les rites du passage”). The phrase has become widely known and used to describe those rituals which mark significant life transitions of individuals in a community. Victor Turner (1920–1983) continued the focus on the study of the psychology of rituals and elaborated on the ways in which these rites of passage function to move people from one social status to another (Turner 1969/1995, 1974).
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