From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"These relics in Greek ritual and faith are very commonly explained as due to Oriental influences, as things borrowed from the dark and bloody superstitions of Asia. But this attempt to save the native Greek character for "blitheness" and humanity must not be pushed too far. It must be remembered that the cruder and wilder sacrifices and legends of Greece were strictly LOCAL; that they were attached to these ancient temples, old altars, barbarous xoana, or wooden idols, and rough fetish stones, in which Pausanias found the most ancient relics of Hellenic theology."--Myth, Ritual and Religion (1887) by Andrew Lang
"Ducange, in his “Glossarium,” introduces the Ritual of the Mass at the Feast of the Ass, familiar to most readers,—but he adds nothing to what has already been quoted in regard to the Feast of Fools itself."--Scatalogic Rites of All Nations (1891) by John Gregory Bourke
Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized, but not defined, by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.
Rituals are a feature of all known human societies. They include not only the worship rites and sacraments of organized religions and cults, but also rites of passage, atonement and purification rites, oaths of allegiance, dedication ceremonies, coronations and presidential inaugurations, marriages, funerals and more. Even common actions like hand-shaking and saying "hello" may be termed as 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 "etic" 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 "emic" performer as an acknowledgement that this activity can be seen as such by the uninitiated onlooker.
In psychology, 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 can be a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder but obsessive-compulsive ritualistic behaviors are generally isolated activities.
- Collective identity
- Myth and ritual
- Obsessive–compulsive disorder
- Processional walkway
- Sexual ritual
- Religious symbolism
- The Rite of Spring
- Last rites
- Rite of passage
- Marriage Rites, Customs and Ceremonies of The Nations of the Universe