Presentation on theme: "Rituals Chapter 4. Part I Introduction Ritual can be defined as patterned, recurring sequence of events When these acts involve religious symbols,"— Presentation transcript:
Introduction Ritual can be defined as patterned, recurring sequence of events When these acts involve religious symbols, prayers, reading or saying sacred words, etc. it is a religious ritual
The Basics Religious rituals are a lot like plays. They have: Actors (shamans or priests) Words (prayers, spells, sacred text) Sets (altar, church, mosque) Props (incense, masks, robes) They also have music and dancing
The Basics So what makes a play not a religious ritual?
The Basics So what makes a play not a religious ritual? It is to entertain The audience actively participates
The Basics Religious practices most commonly have ritual and myth These are tied to worldview Audience participates and rituals help stabilize society and unify the group
The Basics What are some familiar religious rituals?
Types of Rituals Prescriptive rituals: required to be performed ex. Commandment to keep Sabbath holy Situational rituals: spontaneous, can be during times of crisis Sept. 11th
Types of Rituals Periodic/Calendrical rituals: performed on a regular basis ex. Sunday church, Passover, Ramadan Occasional rituals: performed when the need arises Marriage ceremonies, funerals
Classification of Rituals Anthony Wallace created categories of types of rituals Pg. 79 Include rituals that try to: Control nature Heal the sick Maintain peace in a community Rites of passage (stages in life cycle)
Technological Rituals Attempt to control or influence nature Used with hunter/gatherers or people who rely on nature for survival Common among Native American groups Ex. Thanking an animal that you have hunted for its meat and skin
Technological Rituals For the Inuit (pg. 81) Seal hunts are part of their survival Success depends on Mother of the Sea Seals have souls and rituals pay respect to seals they hunt Creation myths, world views influence rituals
Protective Rituals Are used before dangerous activities May be done before each activity or when an unexpected event occurs Ex. The Vikings ‘blooded the keel’ of a new ship (human sacrifice) Today we break a bottle of champagne on a new ship
Remember… Rituals can belong to more than one category Just try to have one good example for each category
Social Rites of Intensification These maintain normal functioning of society Teach good/evil; moral/immoral; how to act/how not to act Ex. Sabbath, Easter, Rosh Hashanah Ex. Jewish practice of reciting kaddish at someone’s funeral Reaffirms their faith
Offerings and Sacrifices Many rituals try to communicate with deities People give gifts, bribes, money, etc. in the hopes the gods will return the favor The difference is that in a sacrifice blood is shed and in an offering gifts are exchanged
Offerings and Sacrifices Human sacrifices have been common through history Aztecs fed human blood to the Sun so the world would not end Those sacrificed believed they would become gods Would cut open the chest and remove victim’s still-beating heart http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk2E 1CoGe98
Assignment But did they really rip a still-beating heart out of the victim? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQKJRnPpIx w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQKJRnPpIx w Top Ten Human Sacrifices
Healing Rituals Cultures have different explanations for what makes people sick Ethnobotany is using medical plants to help cure people We have made many common drugs out of medicinal plant knowledge
Healing Plants In fact, much of our knowledge of medicinal plants also comes from watching apes use them Example: Virnonia amydalina (bitter pith) to prevent malaria They swallow Aspilia plant to get rid of parasites
Healing Rituals Therapy rituals focus on curing those who are sick Anti-therapy rituals are those that try to bring illness, accident, or death to others Ex. Fore of New Guinea take a something associated with an enemy, recites a spell and buries it. They believe this will cause person to develop kuru
Video Taboo: Creature Cures http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1oo9uh_na tional-geographic-taboo-s02e05-creature- cures_techWhat types of healing rituals are in the videos? What elements from lecture are demonstrated? Do these rituals ‘work’? Explain your answer
Assignment Review study guide for quiz on Monday HW 2 (The Adaptive Value of Ritual) is online and due next class
Salvation and Revitalization Salvation rituals involve a person changing in some way, usually being possessed or having altered state of consciousness Revitalization rituals aim to return to the traditional way of doing things
Rites of Passage These are rituals that mark a certain life stage or the transition of status Ex are birth, naming rites, puberty, marriage, death In some societies naming rites are delayed because of high infant mortality Other examples: circumcision, bat mitzvahs, quinceaneras,
Rites of Passage These can also be coming-of-age rituals, especially to mark puberty Also called initiations Girls are usually separated from the group Initiations are usually more complex for boys than for girls Rituals involve separation, modifying body, wearing different clothes, getting a different name, etc.
Rites of Passage Initiations have important phases: Liminality : ambiguous phase during the change Usually there is communitas, or the bonding of everyone going through the same phase Rites are very difficult and show that the person can be an adult (pain, separation) In the US, military initiation is a rite of passage. Describe why
Initiation with Pain Taboo: Initiation Taboo: Initiation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2GmB5sNZ eQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2GmB5sNZ eQ Questions: What is the purpose of the initiation ceremony? What aspects from lecture are demonstrated?
Altering the Body Can be temporary or permanent Often during rites of passage Includes tattooing, piercing, and scarification
Permanent Altering Tattooing, branding, stretching, circumcision Tattoo is Tahitian for “to mark or strike” What are social implications in the US about tattoos? They can mark social identity
Horimono tattoo:Some African tribes use Scarification Pay homage to ancestorsstretching to show wealth as initiation
Video If time, Taboo: “Marks of Identity” Questions: How do the neck rings and tattoos mark these groups’ cultural identities? How are these considered rituals?
Genital Cutting Circumcision is very common and also accepted in Western cultures What is the reason for doing it? Male circumcision is a common rite of passage Though much older and no anesthesia or scalpels Initiations should show pain tolerance
Genital Cutting There is one practice that is almost universally condemned Female circumcision or clitoridectomy in which the clitoris and/or labia are removed Vaginal opening can be sewn almost shut Keeps a woman “pure” until her husband has sex with her Female domination, health issue, human rites issue
Pilgrimages Sacred places occur in creation myths and these become places worshipers visit Muslims Mecca Jews and Christians Jerusalem Hindus River Ganges May also be sites of miracles
Religious Obligations Actions performed by a group or individual Saying grace, kissing a mezuzah (on doorway), lighting a candle We know of behaviors that are appropriate for religious rites, but how do we know what is inappropriate?
Tabu or Taboo Tabu (or taboo) means things that are restricted, forbidden, or off limits In marriage, incest is usually a tabu In a Polynesian chiefdom, the chief is sacred because he was given power by the gods. Everything he touches is sacred, so he is carried everywhere Jewish tradition of keeping kosher Prohibits pork Rules for slaughter and preparation
Discussion 1. What are rituals performed in your own culture (at school, work, at sporting events, religious ceremonies, etc.)? 2. Discuss a rite of passage you have had or have attended. Identify the phases. 3. How do we identify adulthood in the US? Is there a specific rite of passage for this? Is there a formal marker of adulthood?