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A ritual is a sequence of activities involving
gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and body ...
s, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the
tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...

tradition
s of a
community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense of place (geography), plac ...

community
, including a
religious community A convent is a community of either priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have th ...
. 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 Worship is an act of usually directed towards a . For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a God. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated . Such a ...

worship
rites and
sacrament A sacrament is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
s of organized religions and
cult In modern English, a cult is a social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Regardless, soci ...

cult
s, but also
rites of passage A rite of passage is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''com ...

rites of passage
, atonement and purification rites,
oaths of allegiance An oath of allegiance is an oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It sha ...
, dedication ceremonies,
coronation A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasure of South Korea. It is basically following the stand ...

coronation
s and presidential
inauguration In government and politics, inauguration is the process of Oath of office, swearing a person into Public administration, office and thus making that person the incumbent. Such an inauguration commonly occurs through a formal ceremony or special ev ...

inauguration
s, marriages, funerals and more. Even common actions like
hand-shaking
hand-shaking
and saying "
hello ''Hello'' is a salutation A salutation is a greeting used in a Letter (message), letter or other written or non-written communication. Salutations can be formal or informal. The most common form of salutation in an English letter is wikt:dea ...

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 In anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowi ...
" 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 In anthropology, folkloristics, and the social sciences, social and behavioral sciences, emic () and etic () refer to two kinds of field research done and viewpoints obtained: ''emic'', from within the social group (from the perspective of the ...
" performer as an acknowledgement that this activity can be seen as such by the uninitiated onlooker. In
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

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 Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi r ...
but obsessive-compulsive ritualistic behaviors are generally isolated activities.


Etymology

The English word ''ritual'' derives from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
''ritualis,'' "that which pertains to
rite A rite is an established, ceremonial A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence. Rituals may be pre ...
''(
ritus
ritus
'')". In Roman
juridical {{Short pages monitor