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- Created 2012-02-24
"is a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence preternatural entities or forces on behalf of the actors' goals and interests. " Rituals may be prescribed by the
s of a
, including a
. Rituals are characterized by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism and performance.
Rituals of various kinds are a feature of almost all known human societies, past or present. They include not only the various
s of organized religions and cults, but also the
rites of passage
of certain societies, atonement and
oaths of allegiance
, dedication ceremonies,
s and presidential inaugurations, marriages and funerals, school "
" traditions and graduations, club meetings, sports events,
parties, veterans parades,
shopping and more. Many activities that are ostensibly performed for concrete purposes, such as
of criminals, and scientific
, are loaded with purely symbolic actions prescribed by regulations or tradition, and thus partly ritualistic in nature. Even common actions like
may be termed rituals.
The field of ritual studies has seen a number of conflicting definitions of the term. One given by Kyriakidis is that a ritual is an outsider's or "
" category for a set activity (or set of actions) that, to the outsider, seems irrational, non-contiguous, or illogical. The term can be used also by the insider or "
" performer as an acknowledgement that this activity can be seen as such by the uninitiated onlooker.
, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it is a symptom of
from Wikipedia (last updated: 30 November), licensed under
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