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ritual vs religious rituals

ritual: a patterned, recurring sequence of behaviours
religious ritual: a ritual that involves the manipulation of religious symbols
- such as prayers, offerings, sacrifices, and reading scared literature
rituals can be both private and public
- public rituals reinforce group acceptance and facilitate group belonging


religious ritual

2 elements of religious practice
- ritual


types of rituals

prescriptive rituals: a ritual that a deity or religious authority requires to be performed
- ex. marriage, last supper, baptism
situational rituals (AKA crisis rituals): a ritual that arises as needed, frequently in times of crisis
- ex. healing, fasting, moments of silence
periodic (AKA calendrical rituals): rituals that are performed on a regular basis as part of a religious calendar
- Christmas, Easter, lent
occasional rituals: a ritual that is performed when an occasion arises


classification of rituals

1) technological rituals: attempts to influence or control nature
- the hunting and gathering rites of intensification functions to influence the tribes quest for food
- protective rituals: rituals designed to protect the safety of people in dangerous activities
- divination rituals: rituals that seek information about the unknown
2) therapy rituals: rituals that deal with healing, illness, accident, or death
- ethnobotany: medical plants
- anti therapy rituals: rituals that cause illness, accident, or death
3) ideological rituals: serve to maintain status quo
- the social rite of intensification is a type of ideological ritual that are usually prescribed and periodic
- regular church attendance, prayer, pilgrimage
4) salvation rituals: these focus on the religious experience of an individual
- confession, possession
5) revitalization rituals: these focus on the elimination of alien customs and a return to native/traditional way of life
- associated with revitalization movements, a movement that aims to bring about change in a society


rites of passage

a ritual that involves the transition from one status to another. this ritual serves to legitimize the new status and to imprint it on the community's collective memory
- often public
- religious or secular
- ex: baptism, marriage, and graduation
status: a social position that is defined in terms of appropriate behaviour, rights, and obligations, and its relationship to other statuses
- husband, wife, child, adult, teacher, student, graduate


rites of passage: phases

phase 1: separation - removal from former status
- engagement
phase 2: transition - the process of moving from one status to another
- liminal state
- from the time you are engaged to the end of the wedding day
phase 3: incorporation - the individual is reintroduced to the community in his/her new status
- changing last name


rites of passage: coming of age

- childhood to adulthood usually marked by her first period
- some rituals include female genital mutilation
- Apache video:
- myth= creation myth
- separation= preparation in the tent with only close others
- transition= running to the basket, dancing all night, showing no emotion, pollen=fertility
- incorporation= receiving new name, reintroduced with new name
- don't have physical marker of puberty
- rituals can involve male circumcision, physical/mental exertion, or other body alterations like tattooing or scarification (crocodile scar)


female genital mutilation

serious implications:
- infection
- painful menstruation
- pain during intercourse
- childbirth complications
- infertility
- trauma
- death



a journey to a sacred place or a sequence of sacred spaces at when rituals are performed