Taboos and Rituals

Topics: Ritual, Culture, Religion Pages: 4 (1615 words) Published: November 4, 2011
In the article "Baseball Magic" by George Gmelch, the author uses the sport of baseball as a means of portraying different aspects of culture. The three aspects of baseball that are discussed are rituals, taboos, and fetishes. All three of these baseball traditions or superstitions can be directly related to specific aspects of culture. There are religious, social, and political ties to all three. In examining the rituals, taboos, and fetishes of baseball, cultural ties can be made and one can begin to understand the complex nature of society as it relates to the individuals that comprise it.

In "Baseball Magic", Gmelch realizes that certain players have rituals that they perform in order to succeed on the field. Weather it's eating a certain food before games, leaving the house at the same time for every game, or listening to the same music before every game, players have adapted their daily routines to what works for them on the baseball diamond. They also associate their pre-game behaviors with how they perform on the field. If a player eats the same food before two different games, and performs well, the food is then associated with the great performances.

A ritual is defined as the same group of people doing the same thing at a prescribed time and day. Just as baseball players have their rituals before games, different cultures have their own rituals. Every religion has rituals it performs. Worship service, religious holidays, and ceremonies are all different religious rituals that help to define the group of people who perform them. Social rituals exist as well. People go to happy hour on the same day, and same time every week. People have daily routines that they do, to get them through the day. Morning coffee has become a ritual for some people. People go to the same coffee shop at the same time every day, and often times order the same thing.

While I feel as though rituals are nothing more than a way for people to stay focused,...
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