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Rituals Chapter 4. Part I Introduction  Ritual can be defined as patterned, recurring sequence of events  When these acts involve religious symbols,

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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:

1 Rituals Chapter 4

2 Part I

3 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

4 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

5 The Basics  So what makes a play not a religious ritual?

6 The Basics  So what makes a play not a religious ritual?  It is to entertain  The audience actively participates

7 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

8 The Basics  What are some familiar religious rituals?

9 The Basics

10 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

11 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

12 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)

13 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

14 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

15 Lakota buffalo ritual

16 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

17 Remember…  Rituals can belong to more than one category  Just try to have one good example for each category

18 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

19 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

20 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  1CoGe98

21 Assignment  But did they really rip a still-beating heart out of the victim?  w w  Top Ten Human Sacrifices

22 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

23 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

24 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

25 Video  Taboo: Creature Cures  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

26 Assignment  Review study guide for quiz on Monday  HW 2 (The Adaptive Value of Ritual) is online and due next class

27 Part II

28 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

29 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,

30 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.

31 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

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33 Initiation with Pain  Taboo: Initiation Taboo: Initiation  eQ eQ  Questions:  What is the purpose of the initiation ceremony?  What aspects from lecture are demonstrated?

34 Altering the Body  Can be temporary or permanent  Often during rites of passage  Includes tattooing, piercing, and scarification

35 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

36 Horimono tattoo:Some African tribes use Scarification Pay homage to ancestorsstretching to show wealth as initiation

37 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?

38 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

39 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

40 In-Class Assignment  ICA #3: Article on FGM

41 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

42 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?

43 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

44 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?


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