A rite imposed by God
Philadelphia, United States — In the Jewish community, boys are circumcised eight days after birth. The rite of circumcision, imposed by God on Abraham and his descendants, is a means of com¬memorating and reaffirming the alliance between God and his people.
© David H. Welles/CORBIS vers 1997
Entry Into Manhoood
Kenya — Young Masai eat the carcass of a goat during a rite of passage that marks their entry into manhood. The Masai are among the African peoples who practise a tribal religion that is specific to them.
© Yann Arthus-Bertrand /CORBIS 1984
Hindu Cremation in the Ganges River
India — Hindu cremation in the Ganges River. Since wood has become scarce and expensive, not everyone can afford cremation.
© Bojan Brecelj/CORBIS 1960-1996
Entry into the State of Marriage
Most religions attempt to set boundaries on sexuality and to endow it with a sacral significance. A wedding, a solemn occasion where family ties are established, renders sexual activity legitimate, even sacred. The gods themselves are often invited to the ceremony.
© Roy McMahon/CORBIS, 2003