Arnold Van Gennep stated that 'Passagerituals have three steps: separation from society; inculcation-transformation; and return tosociety in the new status.' (1995, Grolier Encyclopedia)All passage rituals serve certain universal functions.
'They serve to dramatize theencounter of new responsibilities, opportunities, dangers.
The time when this transition occurs isdifferent in everyone, since everyone is an individual and no two people are alike.
Certain children reach this stage through a tragic, painful event which affects them tosuch extent that they are completely changed.
Such rites maintain adult male togetherness and strengthen cultural continuity.
Theyresolve boys conflicts about sexual identity and establish clear attitudes toward fathersand mothers.
Rites for males are usually more elaborate and dramatic andgenerally involve the community more than do those for females.
Among the African Gusii, for example, girls are at about age nine, boys at twelve years old; Thonga boysmay be sixteen.
In some places in North America, the ritual is individual where as in Africa and Oceania the ritual can becollective.
A plain Indian adolescent boy undertakes a vision quest; he goes out aloneinto the wilderness, endures hardship, and seeks a vision from his animal guardian spirit;if he gets one, he returns a man.