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The Rites of Passage as a Social Obligation for Sustainable Cultural Development: A Case Study of the Importance of the Rites across Cultures


 

Throughout a person’s life, there are stages of transitions that one passes through notably, birth, puberty (coming of age), marriage, and death. Significantly, each of these stages comes with various extensive rites and rituals that are performed and celebrated to usher the individual to his or her new status on the life ladder. Outdooring, naming, baptism are rites associated with birth whiles puberty and adolescent rite of varying nature (depending on the ethnic group), national service are ceremonies for people who come of age followed by marriage ceremonies including the payment of dowries, begging for hands, weddings ranging from indigenous (traditional), Christian marriage, Muslim marriage, etc., and  death rites that encompasses the preparation of corpse, laying in state, pre-burial rites, burial rites and post-burial (funeral) rites. These rites are upheld by society to accentuate the importance attached to the individual roles assigned to the stages that the person is ushered into and thereabout. The ceremonies and celebrations come with respect and dignity even in post-burial rites. An individual who does not go through the rites and rituals are captured in the lenses of disdain and disapproval by the society yet many are those who do not see the need for the rite of passage even though societies across the world associate the rites with personal and social developments. In view of the importance that societies attach to the rites of passage, observations were made on some selected ethnic groups across cultures. The descriptive approach has been used to sample and describe the types of rites of passage performed in the selected cultures. This is to bring the importance of the rights to the fore to enable up and coming generations of various societies to recognize the need to uphold the rites as an obligation,  safeguard the rites and rituals for their continuity and sustenance of the culture they have inherited from their ancestors to keep their culture alive.


Keywords

Rite of passage, rites, rituals, ancestors, culture, beliefs, transition, initiates, tradition
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  • The Rites of Passage as a Social Obligation for Sustainable Cultural Development: A Case Study of the Importance of the Rites across Cultures

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Abstract


Throughout a person’s life, there are stages of transitions that one passes through notably, birth, puberty (coming of age), marriage, and death. Significantly, each of these stages comes with various extensive rites and rituals that are performed and celebrated to usher the individual to his or her new status on the life ladder. Outdooring, naming, baptism are rites associated with birth whiles puberty and adolescent rite of varying nature (depending on the ethnic group), national service are ceremonies for people who come of age followed by marriage ceremonies including the payment of dowries, begging for hands, weddings ranging from indigenous (traditional), Christian marriage, Muslim marriage, etc., and  death rites that encompasses the preparation of corpse, laying in state, pre-burial rites, burial rites and post-burial (funeral) rites. These rites are upheld by society to accentuate the importance attached to the individual roles assigned to the stages that the person is ushered into and thereabout. The ceremonies and celebrations come with respect and dignity even in post-burial rites. An individual who does not go through the rites and rituals are captured in the lenses of disdain and disapproval by the society yet many are those who do not see the need for the rite of passage even though societies across the world associate the rites with personal and social developments. In view of the importance that societies attach to the rites of passage, observations were made on some selected ethnic groups across cultures. The descriptive approach has been used to sample and describe the types of rites of passage performed in the selected cultures. This is to bring the importance of the rights to the fore to enable up and coming generations of various societies to recognize the need to uphold the rites as an obligation,  safeguard the rites and rituals for their continuity and sustenance of the culture they have inherited from their ancestors to keep their culture alive.


Keywords


Rite of passage, rites, rituals, ancestors, culture, beliefs, transition, initiates, tradition