Are the three phases of a rite of passage equally important? Demonstrate your argument through an ethnographic example.

Essay by shadowlightUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, March 2007

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Rites of passage are something that almost all societies recognise and celebrate. Theses are times of change for an individual or group, when they pass from on state of being into another. Van Gennep split rites of passage into three distinct phases (separation, transition, and aggregation) all of which having to be completed before an individual can move on into their new role/stage.

Separation is the ending of the persons' previous stage/role, here they are removed from their usual routine and all that they have grown used to. This can involve merely changing their routine or something as extreme as having to leave their society.

The transition or liminal phase is that which most people pay the most attention to when studying rites of passage. This it the phase where the person is in neither stage, an example of this would be a wedding ceremony, as a couple enter the place separate and emerge married, the events in-between are all parts of this liminal phase where they are neither married nor unmarried.

During this stage a person may have to pass through some sort of test to prove their readiness or to learn what is to be expected of them within their new role. This phase is known as the most dangerous phase as the person is not belonging to any stage in existence and has to pass through in order to move on.

The incorporation stage is the final aspect of a rite of passage. This is when the person is reintroduced and accepted into society within their new role. Returning to the example of marriage this would be at the end of the wedding ceremony, when the couple will reemerge from the location married.

All three of these phases are of great importance, and the loss of any...