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Rite of Passage Definition©

The Whole is greater than the sum of its parts

We have found the following definition to be a productive starting point for conversations on question that consider the regeneration of a modern day rite of passage.

 Our definition for Youth & Community Development through Rites of Passage:

 The degree to which a series of activities are a rite of passage is directly proportional to a community's acceptance and participation in the activities and youth's perception and belief in the activities as fulfilling their conscious and unconscious needs for transformative experiences. That is, a modern day rite of passage is achieved when parents, guardians or surrogates and the community create and participate in experiences, which are perceived to be transformative by youth and in fact offer them increased status within the community, responsibilities to be in service to others and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence.

The celebration of a rite of passage is renewing for the entire community, which includes earth and all our relations. A child's public expression of and commitment to a community's values and beliefs reinforces expectations for behaviors for the survival of the entire community and health and wellbeing of all our relations. A child's coming of age presents an opportunity for the whole community to examine, adapt and re-commit themselves to their social and cultural heritage. In this light it takes a whole child to raise a village.


© From Blumenkrantz, D.G. The Rite Way: Guiding Youth to Adulthood and the Problem of Communitas, 1996. UMI, Ann Arbor MI.

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