Rites Of Passage

Contents

· Why Rites are Important?

· Various Crucial Stages

Why Rites are Important?

All the major religions and civilizations have a certain number of traditional rites associated with them. These rites signify the transitions into a new phase of life, as is elaborated in the different Ashrams of life. The rites are also symbolic of a crisis in the life of an individual, which necessitates psychological, mental and spiritual adjustments. Thus, these rites are also known as life-crisis rituals.

Various Crucial Stages

The rites are usually associated with the following phases in the life of an individual:

o Birth

o Marriage

o Conception

o Death

Each and every stage of life is celebrated, right from birth to death. The rites mark a water tight separation from the old stage of life, to a new stage. It is initiated before birth and continues even after death. The different rites related to the passage from one phase to another are also known as Sanskars. There are a total of eight Sanskars, out of which seven to eight are prominently known. Five of the Sanskars are still widely practiced by most devout Hindus.

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