A ritual is a sequence of activities involving
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
A tradition is a belief
A belief is an attitude
Attitude may refer to:
Philosophy and psychology
* Attitude (psychology)
Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...
s of a
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 ...
, including a
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 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 ...
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
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 ...
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 ...
, 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,
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 ...
s and presidential
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 ...
s, marriages, funerals and more. Even common actions like
and saying "
''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 ...
" 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 "
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 "
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.
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. ...
, 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 (OCD) is a mental
Mental may refer to:
* of or relating to the mind
* 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.
The English word ''ritual'' derives from the
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 ...
''ritualis,'' "that which pertains to
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 ...
'')". In Roman