Ritos de iniciacion en el mundo

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Initiation Rites around the world

A Social perspective on an old tradition

By Angélika del Carmen Ocampo Solís

Several generations before us and many more that will precede us, have andpractice different types of initiation rituals, some exclusively designed for girls or boys, and some others that include both. Some that are very brutal (like the blood initiation ritual in Papua NewGuinea) and some that have more of a symbolic meaning, for example the coming of age ritual for girls in the apache community in New Mexico.

That’s why we first need to clarify what’s an initiationritual: according to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society “Rites of passage are highly scripted dramatic performances initiated on the occasion of a change in the life of anindividual that affects relationships within a group or between groups. These are as much directed to changing perceptions as changing behavior.”

In any way that it might be celebrated, aninitiation ritual represents two things mainly; the leaving behind one stage of life and the beginning of a new one; but those are not the only aspects that a rite of passage involves. Most of the time, thereal meaning and the most important aspect during the celebration of these types of rites are an unspoken element: acceptance.

We might think that, since we live in an “evolved” society, we are farfrom those remote cultures and their savage ways of behavior, but we couldn’t be more wrong. Every society, as “evolved” as it might be, has its very own rites of passage that can be inspired fromdifferent sources and can have many different meanings and objectives.

After reading all of the information above we can begin to arrive to the point I mentioned earlier, the acceptance that theserites provoke among the person that does it and those who he or she lives with is a hidden factor but it’s also one of the main goals to achieve. Acceptance is a very defining factor during the...
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