Meaning of rite of passage

rite' of pas'sage

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a ceremony performed to facilitate or mark a person's change of status upon any of several highly important occasions, as at the onset of puberty or upon entry into marriage or into a clan.
  2. any important act or event that serves to mark a passage from one stage of life to another.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.