According to some, a rite of passage is a ceremony that marks the transition from one phase of life to another and is often used to describe the sometimes difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood. There is also the idea that a rite of passage can also refer to any of life’s transitions (Births and Beginnings, Initiations, Partnerings, and Endings or Death) and certainly many faiths and religions have their own way of marking such transition.
For Christians there are Baptism and Confirmation, the former a symbolic way of joining the Church from the very start of Christianity, with the water used in baptism as a symbol of washing away sin and the start of a new life. The latter, takes place at a later stage in life, often during the teenage years and is seen as a personal commitment to the faith that the baby was baptised into.
A different approach to rites of passage can be seen in the following ancient southwestern Indian Beliefs About the Afterworld – taken from Southwestern Indian Ceremonials by Tom Bath. (pg. 16, 28, 37,51)
Rio Grande Pueblos: At birth each person receives a soul and a guardian spirit from Iarkio, the Mother of All. At the time of death both the soul and guardian leave the body but remain in the house of the deceased for four days before making the journey to Hipap, the entrance to the Underworld. The guardian spirit carries a prayer stick, necessary for the admission of the soul to Shipap. Depending on the virtue of the individual the soul is assigned to one of the four Underworlds. Those qualified to enter the innermost world become Shiwana (rainmakers) and return to the villages in the form of clouds.
Zuni: At death the corpse is bathed in yucca suds and rubbed with corn meal before burial. The spirit of the dead lingers in the village for four days during which time the door of its former home is left ajar to permit its entry. On the morning of the fifth day the spirit goes to the Council of Gods in the village of Kothluwalawa beneath the water of Listening Spring. Here the spirit becomes a rainmaker. If the deceased is a member of the Bow Priesthood, he becomes a lightning maker who brings water from the “six great waters of the world.”
Papago: Disposal of the corpse took place soon after death as the ghosts of the deceased were greatly feared. Formerly burial was made in a rock crevice and covered with stones or in a stone cairn roofed with logs. Food and possessions were placed with the body in the grave to accompany the spirit on its four day journey to the Underworld “somewhere” in the east. The afterworld was believed to be a place of much rain and plenty of food.
Hopi Pueblos: At death, the hair of the deceased is washed in yucca suds and prayer feathers are placed in the hands, feet and hair. Over the face is placed a mask of cotton which is representative of the cloud mask the spirit will wear when it returns with the cloud people to bring rain to the village. Women are wrapped in their wedding robes; men are buried in a special blanket of diamond twill weave with a plaid design.
The ghosts of the dead are feared rather than death itself. To prevent the ghosts from returning to bother the living, pahos are given to the spirits of the deceased, and the trail back to the village from the burial site is ceremonially closed with sacred meal. Those who did the actual burial are purified with juniper smoke.
And I could go on, for MotorMartin this has been a fascinating journey into the beliefs of other religions and cultures of which only a small fraction has been shared above, but then we have other rites of passage, journeys from teenager to adulthood, perhaps not as religious or indeed, quite so philosophical as that which we’ve already experienced, but then, who’s to say which is the more important?
First girlfriend, first boyfriend, first car, motorbike, drink, cigarette… there are a great many firsts, some we may look back on with fondness, some with horror, but each plays a part in defining who we are and what we end up being. All of which brings me, in a roundabout way, to the Fiat Doblò Cargo 105 Multijet II, MotorMartin’s first van. A significant event here at the Towers and perhaps, my own rite of passage.
The Fiat is quite a handsome beast when looked at objectively and shows clear signs of the thought and care taken during the design process. In MotorMartin’s opinion, a van’s never going to quite stir the soul as much as a classic or sportscar but the Doblò certainly has something about it. The extended front and rear wheel arches work well with the curves of the doors and the strong line running from the bottom of the doors and across the rear of the vehicle. Someone at Fiat has clearly been working hard with their pen, paper and geometry set as the body coloured painted mirrors, bumpers and even rear lights with a Fiat logo worked into them, show. And good on them.
To be honest though, a van is not going to be bought for its looks alone, it’s the more practical aspects that will sway the buyer. After all, the majority of vans need to earn money for their owners and will be chosen because of load capacity, economy and efficiency and if the van is also comfortable and good to drive, that is a definite bonus. With the new Fiat Doblò being a revamp of an already popular model and having an extra 35 cm length, the Maxi van, according to Fiat themselves, offers record breaking interior space and volume. The load compartment, with appropriate lighting provided by removable roof lights, is easily accessible thanks to a load threshold only 55 cm from the ground and the wide rear doors which can be opened out to 180°.
Now up here at MotorMartin Towers, each test and subsequent review is planned to try and cover the type of roles and experiences that the vehicle will operate under during ‘real life’ motoring. Therefore MotorMartin needed to complete some van type activities and see how the Doblò performs.
Loading the Fiat with the contents of a rarely visited area of The Tower’s basement was an ideal opportunity to try out the 4.2 m3 capacity and with rear sliding doors on each side and two rear facing doors at the business end of the Doblò, packing is only limited by yourself. For business use, the rear is very capacious and seemingly swallows up everything that can be thrown at it, within reason of course. One quick trip to the tip later and MotorMartin was feeling really rather pleased with a job well done. Fortunately the practicality of the Fiat is without question, including as it does, a load capacity greater than 1 tonne and an internal length of up to 2.17 m whilst also including a load space that is hard wearing has lights and provides plenty of space for all but the most arduous of jobs.
Fortunately the driving experience more than matches the workability of the cargo bay, with Fiat putting an emphasis on car like manners during the redesign of the previous model. The spec sheet wouldn’t look out of place on some of the more conventional cars in Fiat’s range, including as it does, climate control, cruise control, radio CD MP3 with BLUETOOTH®, steering wheel with audio controls as well as a central information screen that offers up all you might need to know regarding efficiency and performance. Impressive.
With max power of 105 bhp, a claimed combined mpg of 62.8 and CO2 emissions (g/km) of 125, this is not a van that’s going to hit you in the pocket and take away from your bottom line. With plenty of feedback through the steering and a surprising lack of body roll through the corners, the Fiat does a good job of behaving itself on the road as well which is a clear positive when all you want to do at the end of a hard working day is get home and relax. It sounds ridiculous but MotorMartin was extremely impressed with the Doblò’s windscreen. Such a vast expanse of glass, combined with the raised driving position, gives unrivalled views of the road ahead allowing you to see potential incidences and jams in plenty of time and drive accordingly.
The Fiat really is good fun to drive, with a working weight in the back the performance is still more than adequate, whilst the 6 speed gearbox allows you to move through the ratios relatively swiftly extracting speed enough from the 4 cylinder diesel unit up front.
Overall this is clearly not a van built with compromise in mind. It’s a thoroughly modern, well styled, decent handling, excellent driving, practical ‘real life’ motoring experience. If you’re in the market for a new van and want something that offers style, workability and that little extra something that sets this Fiat apart from the competition, then in MotorMartin’s opinion, you really can’t go wrong with the Fiat Doblò Cargo 105 Multijet II.
Where will you go?