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Rites of Passage - Research Paper Example

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[Your full name] February 27, 2012 Rites of Passage “To me rites of passage through life, that's a wonderful, beautiful thing.” - Lance Henriksen Rites of Passage are the ceremonies that are meant to celebrate natural transitions of human beings from one stage of life into another; birth, adolescence, puberty, adulthood, old age, and death (Gennep)…
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Rites of Passage Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages This gives him the energy and spirit to enter the next stage with valor and delight. The theme behind is that such rites help us stay connected to our natural events of life or life cycle. A person is able to go through a happy flashback of his life when he thinks in old age how cheerfully he entered each stage and coped with the hardships that come with every phase. This paper intends to compare and contrast the rites of passage in modern American and Indian cultures. Modern American society celebrates many rites of passage, like baby showers, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, and school graduations. There are very few definite events that mark a person’s shift from adolescence into adulthood. We see an absence of clearly defined rites of passage in the contemporary culture, which have prevailed in olden times in America. Indian culture also does not have very clearly defined rites of passage except some important ones like birth, marriage and funeral. However, there are some similarities that both cultures share, for example grief is symbolized with color. American society relates black with grief and Indians link white with sadness. For example, on funerals, Americans wear black and Indians wear white. There are more differences in the carrying out of the rites of passage than similarities, in the two cultures. ...
The expectant mother is dressed in a heavy dress with a lot of garlands. Elderly ladies shower blessings on her, and women share tips and tricks of mothering a child. The home deity is worshipped. The mother is given the gifts which are meant for her and not the baby. American culture celebrates adolescence ceremonies both for boys and girls, to honor their stepping into puberty. The most prominent adolescent rite of passage celebrated in America is the quincearena. Quinceanera celebrates a girl’s fifteenth birthday thus commemorating her past fifteen years into a get-together where people related to her make merry and congratulate her for her coming adulthood (Alvarez). Her journey from childhood to adulthood is recollected and she transforms from a naughty little kid into a delicate, pretty lady. The invited families are encouraged to select the customs that have special meaning to them and to add to the customs as they wish. That is what makes the celebration unique and very special. In contrast, in Indian culture, there is no such ceremony that celebrates the passing of fifteen years or steeping of a girl or boy into the sixteenth year of life. American practices have more or less become dependent on the economical and psychological aspects of life. For example, funeral practices in America depict true picture of capitalism and materialism. Corpse is displayed in the public for last viewing. This is a general acceptance of the fact that death is expected of all human beings and none of us resist to it. Corpses, nowadays, are prepared with makeup and expensive clothes before burial. Memorial services and cremations are also in practice. Hence, American funeral is an organized and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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