“Rituals are found in every human community and area primary means of social communication and cohesion. ”(pg. 96, Livingston) Rituals help to make a smooth transition through the human life cycles. It gives a structure to the chaos of these events. Rituals also help explain changing of the seasons or a commemoration of a historical event. “ A religious ritual can be defined as an agreed on and formalized pattern of ceremonial movements and verbal expressions carried out in a sacred context.
Rituals clearly help the psychological aspect to the human mind. Humans at one point might have been nervous of puberty and not been able to understand it. Many religions have special ceremonies to help embrace the rite of passage. In some tribal cultures, the girls of the group are alienated and sent off into the woods and isolated for a few days. They are then reincorporated back into the tribe as a woman. In the Jewish tradition the ritual of initiation is celebrated as the Bar Mitzvah.
This legitimizes the transformation from a boy into a responsible member of the community. These initiation rites are among most of the important religious rituals. In accompanying initiation rites is the vocational initiation rituals. In many societies there are rituals of initiation into special religious vocations. In Chinese Buddhism, a monk shaves the head of a boy, which enters him into Shanghai. Most of the vocational initiation rites are dealt within the tribal communities.
These rituals help to make smooth transitional from one stage of life to another. Rituals also help to deal with marriage and death. There is always such an emphasis on your wedding day. As a child, you are taught that someday you will be married. As you grow up you might become more nervous and anxious when you think about your wedding day there are little rituals that may help ease the tension. There are also rites and customs in dealing with death as well. We dress the deceased in nice clothes, we place flowers with them and have a ceremony for them.
This has to die into corporation of afterlife. Why else would we make such a fuss on the deceased? These rituals help us to deal with life crisis. In primal societies, they deal with illness as a form of the supernatural. They have special members of the community such as, medicine men, shamans and exorcist perform rites to help the possessed in dealing with the supernatural. The shaman helps by going into altered states of consciousness and seeing what the problem is and then help to overcome it.
Healing rituals are found in most tribal societies. They deal with people that are hurt by performing ceremonies to cure the pain. These non-periodical ceremonies are linked to the seasonal rituals. “ Seasonal ritual is always directed to securing the well being of both the community and the individual. ” There are rituals celebrating the end of the year and the beginning of the year. There are special ceremonies that rid of all evil in the past year to have a clear start on the new.