A rite is a ceremony or event that leads to a new phase of life, like high school graduation or a bat mitzvah.

Rites are rituals. Religions in particular have many rites, which include celebrations and sacraments such as baptism or confession. But people also use this word for any kind of event that signifies moving through a stage of life. For a football player, getting your first touchdown is a "rite of passage." Even a job interview could be considered a rite — it's a traditional ritual, something everyone has to go through before landing a first job.

Definitions of rite
  1. noun
    any customary observance or practice
    synonyms: ritual
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    betrothal, espousal
    the act of becoming betrothed or engaged
    marriage, marriage ceremony, wedding
    the act of marrying; the nuptial ceremony
    rite of passage
    a ritual performed in some cultures at times when an individual changes status (as from adolescence to adulthood)
    bridal, espousal
    archaic terms for a wedding or wedding feast
    civil marriage
    a marriage performed by a government official rather than by a clergyman
    love match
    a marriage for love's sake; not an arranged marriage
    the act of marrying again
    type of:
    custom, usage, usance
    accepted or habitual practice
  2. noun
    an established ceremony prescribed by a religion
    “the rite of baptism”
    synonyms: religious rite
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    vigil, watch
    the rite of staying awake for devotional purposes (especially on the eve of a religious festival)
    last rites
    rites performed in connection with a death or burial
    secret rite in the cults of ancient Greek or Roman deities involving singing and dancing and drinking and sexual activity
    the act of circumcising performed on males eight days after birth as a Jewish and Muslim religious rite
    a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship
    a religious rite or service prescribed by ecclesiastical authorities
    viewing, wake
    a vigil held over a corpse the night before burial
    a vigil before certain feasts (as e.g. Easter)
    Berit, Berith, Bris, Briss, Brith
    the Jewish rite of circumcision performed on a male child on the eighth day of his life
    Christian liturgy
    the Christian worship services
    Divine Office
    canonical prayers recited daily by priests (e.g. the breviary of the Roman Catholic Church)
    Little Office
    a Roman Catholic office honoring the Virgin Mary; similar to but shorter than the Divine Office
    Office of the Dead
    an office read or sung before a burial mass in the Roman Catholic Church
    type of:
    religious ceremony, religious ritual
    a ceremony having religious meaning
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