Rites of passages are the ceremonies and rituals marking important stages in one’s life/status such as: - birth - death - coming of age - puberty - adolescence - marriage - old age
Rites are associated with: • life cycles • religion • social change * They are developed to mark a person’s progress from one role, phase of life or social status to another.
Humans create rituals to mark changes and important events • Rites of passage are culturally specific and relevant
Three Stages: • A culturally recognized event changes you from what you were to something new. 2. You remove yourself from society temporarily. 3. You are re-admitted to society as a new person.
Ritualistic Symbols • Rites of passage are often accompanied by important symbols • jewelry • body ornamentation (piercing, tattooing, scarification) • symbolic death and rebirth (removing an individual from society for a period of time and reintroducing them) • tests of strength and courage (combat, childbirth, first hunt)
Purpose: • Relieve stress • Help to understand change • Stabilize communities by celebrating change • Help people understand consequences • Pass on traditions and moral values that a society believes are vital for stability and continuation
Satere-Mawe Tribe: Amazon This Amazon tribe performs an initiation ritual where young men place their hands into mittens filled with hundreds of bullet ants. The bite is approximately 20 times more painful than being stung by a wasp. The tribal men will gather the ants and submerge them into a solution that temporarily knocks them out. The ants are then woven into the mittens. Upon waking up, the men will place their hands into the mittens and dance for 10 minutes. The ant’s sting prevents the body from protecting itself from pain. The body begins to convulse, and the pain can last up to 24 hours. The crazy thing is, many men will repeat this ritual many times to prove their manhood.
Both a harvest ritual and a rite of passage amongst the tribes of the small pacific island of Vanuatu, land diving is now a tourist phenomenon. The men who live on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu, climb a rickety 98-foot-tall (30-meter) tower, tie vines to their ankles and dive to the ground, falling at speeds around 45 mph (72 kph). When a dive goes correctly, the person gets close enough to touch his shoulders or his head to the earth. However, unlike bungee jumping, these vines aren’t elastic and a miscalculation in vine length could lead to broken legs, cracked skulls, or even death. Boys once they have been circumcised at about age 7 or 8 begin participating, though they usually are permitted to jump from a shorter tower. As a boy makes his first dive, his mother holds an item representing his childhood. When he jumps, she throws the item away. Divers also refrain from sex the day before they jump — legend says it will cause the jump to go badly.