JillDubisch debunks the idea that the rituals conducted in Americanpilgrimages are not a religious exercise but a rite of passage. Itcharacteristically involves candidates having to experience the threestages of separation, liminality, and reincorporation (Dubisch,2012). In my culture, circumcision is an important rite of passage. It marks the graduation of all male adolescents to adulthood. Everyboy above fifteen years of age looks forward to being circumcisedbecause it comes with an elevated sense of courage, recognition, andrespect. Before education became entrenched in my society, it wascommon for young adults to get married immediately after aninitiation ceremony upon recovering from the circumcision wound.Circumcision also presents an opportunity for young male adults toget wise counsel from elders with particular attention to vital lifeskills. Circumcision as a rite of passage in my culture is concordantwith Dubisch’s stages to rites of passage. This essay aligns thestages to the rites of passage, as postulated by Dubisch, with thedetailed aspects of the circumcision rituals in my community todemonstrate that it is a rite of passage.
Anthropologistscontend that rites of passage follow a single universal structure forall cultures across the world. They follow a three-stage cycle thatbegins with separation and ends with reintroduction (Dubisch,2012).Themiddle stage is Liminality. It is worth to note that evencircumcision in my culture follows the same three-stage cycle for ayoung adult to be deemed sufficiently qualified to be admitted intothe community’s adults club. An analysis of each stage in line withcircumcision as a rite of passage in my native cultures supportsDubisch’s observation that the features transcend culturalbarriers.
Participantsin a rite of passage are first separated from their conventionalsettings in order to psychologically prepare them for it. Theseparation serves as a way to enable candidates to bond and commit tothe rite of passage. They wear different clothes, eat together, andperform specific and prescribed activities together. In my culture,the candidates for circumcision are assembled together and instructedto start staying together in a separate room from the rest of thefamily. The separation is accompanied by some ritual chants that aimto instill courage and a sense of responsibility in the adolescent.An elderly member of the society, mostly a relative or aprofessional, begins to take care of candidates until it isdetermined that they are ready for circumcision. The culture hasevolved to include professionals due to the increased need foracademic mentorship for young adults.
TheLiminality stage is a neutral stage. As Dubisch contends, theliminality stage is an emotional one because the candidates stillgrapple with the reality of having to let go off previous ways(Dubisch, 2012). It is the period between the actual circumcision andthe reintroduction stage. After being circumcised, the candidate doesnot become a graduate immediately. Liminality is a distinctive stagebecause the candidates have the opportunity to experience both thepre and post-circumcision stage (Dubisch, 2012). After undergoing thecircumcision procedure, candidates are assigned a specific medicalpractitioner, a counselor, and a young adult of the previous age-set.The doctor treats the wound. The counselor imparts the virtues oflife to the candidates by giving them books of wisdom such as thebible or the Koran. They also advise the candidates about variousissues of sexuality, courtship, and marriage. It is at this stagethat many young men in my culture learn about conflict resolution.They are taught that amicable resolution of conflicts is a sign ofmaturity and temperance. The young adult of the previous age-setserves as an example. Before a young male is selected to play therole of a young adult during the Liminality stage, they must be ofmodest character and have good grades in school. Candidates areallowed to exhibit varied traits because it is the transition stage.For example, a candidate will be tolerated to behave quite childishlybecause they are still acclimatizing to their new status.
Thereintroduction period involves a confirmation that the candidate’sstatus in the society has changed. Upon taking part in an elaborateinitiation ceremony organized by parents and other elderly members ofthe society, the candidate officially become an adult. The ceremonyis carried out in public with candidates being crowned or recognizedin many ways. In my culture, the young graduates receive presentssuch as books, cars, and other accolades as a sign that the communityrecognizes their new status. The promulgation to adulthood allowsyoung graduates to begin being involved in adult activities such asenrolling in the police force, the military and taking part incommunity activities.
Everyrite of passage has three stages that are universal. The candidatesgoing through a rite of passage have to pass through three stages ofseparation, liminality, and reintroduction in order for their newstatus to be accepted and acknowledged in the society. Among the manyrites of passage that males undergo in my culture, circumcision isone of the most important. Circumcision prepares young males foradulthood by exposing them to educational mentorship, morality, andreligion. The virtue of responsible citizenship is imparted at thisstage with the society setting high expectations for young adults.Dubisch’s postulations about the stages that constitute a rite ofpassage are, therefore, in tandem with the circumcision as a rite ofpassage in my culture. It is thus agreeable that the stages to a riteof passage are universal and congruent to multiple culturalorientations the world over.
Dubisch,J. (2012). Run for the Wall: The American Pilgrimage (1st ed.). NewJersey: Pearson Corporation, Inc. Retrieved fromhttps://toleratedindividuality.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/conformity-and-conflict.pdf