Adolescence is generally considered a period of transition. All cultures, in a variety of ways, regulate and control the difficulties arising from a period of transition consisting in a shift of status - such as in adolescence. They endeavour in containing the anxiety of novice individuals and of initiated adults. In the present modern, complex and mixed society, the risk of adolescents to go astray and become marginalised seems to grow. The Author, inspired by the French ethnographer Arnold van Gennep (1873-1957), presents the rites of passage, their defi nition and functions. According to van Gennep, the ceremony of passage consists in three phases: separation, margin and aggregation. When separation is at stake, rites of passage have a primary goal: facilitate union and aggregation, and hold back exclusion. Rites of passage have three basic functions: sociological, psychological and religious. They express intra-psychic and collective processes, e.g. rites of initiation into adolescence. Rites of passage are current in the world. They highlight how women and men enter the meaningful world. Hence nowadays, one should continue to analyse them.
Keywords: Adolescence, passage, difficulties, rites, separation, margin, aggregation, sexuality.