ceremony, expression of shared feelings and attitudes through more or less formally ordered actions of an essentially symbolic nature performed on appropriate occasions. A ceremony involves stereotyped bodily movements, often in relation to objects possessing symbolic meaning. For example, people bow or genuflect, tip hats, present arms, slaughter cattle, salute flags, and perform a myriad of other actions. Ceremonies express, perpetuate, and transmit elements of the value and sentiment system and aim at preserving such values and sentiments from doubt and opposition; moreover, they intensify the solidarity of the participants. Ceremonies are found in all societies.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Ritual: Selected full-text books and articles

Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions By Catherine Bell Oxford University Press, 1997
Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice By Catherine Bell Oxford University Press, 1992
Tibetan Ritual By José Ignacio Cabezón Oxford University Press, 2010
Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World By Paul Mirecki; Marvin Meyer Brill, 2002
Bringing Ritual to Mind: Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms By Robert N. McCauley; E. Thomas Lawson Cambridge University Press, 2002
Recasting Ritual: Performance, Media, Identity By Felicia Hughes-Freeland; Mary M. Crain Routledge, 1998
Ancient Magic and Ritual Power By Marvin Meyer; Paul Mirecki Brill, 2001
Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World By Frédérique Apffel-Marglin Oxford University Press, 2011
Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America By James Randall Noblitt; Pamela Sue Perskin Praeger, 2000 (Revised edition)
Christian Symbol and Ritual: An Introduction By Bernard Cooke; Gary Macy Oxford University Press, 2005
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