Rituals in Anthropology

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Amberlee Deauseault
Anthropology 104
TA: Adriana
People all over the world have different rituals. A ritual is a repetitive act that symbolizes events that have taken place in the past. Many times it can be religious, but it can also be a ceremony having to do with social customs. Rituals are repeated yearly or every couple years, it is not a ritual if it is only done once and never again. A pilgrimage physically takes someone from one place to another, whereas a ritual could be performed in one spot depending on what it is. The first part of a pilgrimage is separation; in the article “Run for the Wall” the riders leave their homes to embark on their trip across the country. The second part is the liminal stage where riders stop in towns along the way to participate in different events to remember the fallen veterans. The final stage is the reintegration where they return to their normal lives. “Run for the Wall” by Jill Dubisch is about a pilgrimage starting in Los Angeles and finishing in Washington, D.C. to honor the soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. However, this journey can be classified as both a ritual and a pilgrimage as it has features of both. Like any other rituals, the "Run for the Wall" has a designated start time which is followed in a traditional way. Also, it can be seen as a ritual because there is a sense of fellowship and obligation. A sense of unity is present because while they all ride on separate motorcycles they are all together the whole time. Though it seems more like a pilgrimage since the participants go through the three different stages it still has a little bit of both in this journey. This pilgrimage is very emotional time for the people involved. For many people it brings back the awful memories of a war and for others it brings back memories of a lost loved one. Within Dubisch’s article she uses motorcycles as a symbol of freedom, liberty, patriotism, and being independent. Many writers like to...
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