Rituals and Ceremonies Help Define a Culture

Topics: Sri Lanka, Ritual, Sociology Pages: 2 (680 words) Published: October 20, 2010
"Rituals and ceremonies help define a culture. Without them, societies or groups of people have a diminished sense of who they are." The rituals and ceremonies that one finds in many societies today are largely relics of the past. They were born at a time when humans were still struggling to understand the awesome powers of nature, and thus, feared them. At first, they were no more than simple pagan rites that were performed to appease the sun god or the rain god. Later on, these rituals and ceremonies became more elaborate with influences of more formal religions. Furthermore, the most primitive rituals often tended to be very parochial. However, as interaction between different societies grew, the exchange of ideas, beliefs and customs, led to the establishment of rituals and ceremonies that reflected the more cosmolitan nature of these societies. Thus then, is it true to say that rituals and cultures held define a culture and without them societies and groups have a diminished sense of who they are ? My personal belief is, yes, rituals and cultures play a vital role in forming a cultural identity and without them, societies can no longer maintain this identity. There are three main reasons for this. First, in modern times when people are interacting less and less with each other physically, these rituals and ceremonies bring groups of people together, and help them take a break, albeit a momentary one, from the routine monotonous life styles. Secondly, for children growing up in a particular society, these rites and celebrations help them to establish a sense of belonging to a group. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these rituals and ceremonies act as a strong glue and help stop the disintegration of a society during the times of crisis. Let us now scrutinise of these issues in greater detail. Our ancestors used to be born, live, and die in the same village. Rarely, if ever, were they to ever venture outside its domain. Today, the situation is much...
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