To manage the project life cycle and facilitate transitions, Project Management (PM) research often points to temporal models and structuring devices. However, the social and symbolic facet of transitions in projects remains understudied. Therefore, this research focuses on the ritualization of transitions in projects. Specifically, the aim is to gain insight into the practice and meaning of transition rituals in the project life cycle. To do so we draw from field research in the infrastructure sector where participant-observation was carried out during eight transition rituals in four Dutch construction projects, and 58 interviews were executed with project participants. The contribution to the PM debate on temporary organizing lies in the conceptualization of transition rituals as powerful symbolic and strategic practices in the project life cycle, and in the provision of an overview showcasing how, when and why transition rituals are practiced to facilitate transitions and embed a project in its environment. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.