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date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The transition from childhood to adolescence is marked by various kinds of rituals. Personal rituals are determined by the individual to indicate his or her new age stage. Adolescent initiation ceremonies are planned events that include one or more rituals. They range from private, family-based ceremonies with one initiate, to large communal ones that involve all or most people of the community and initiate several to many boys or girls. The presence or absence of initiation ceremonies is not random; they are distributed by type of society and by which gender gets ceremonial recognition. Ceremonies that transform children into adolescents are absent in modern industrial societies, and attempts to introduce them have not been very successful. This chapter explores these issues.

Keywords: initiation, social adolescence, life-stages, circumcision, ritual, cultural complexity

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