A ritual "is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence."〔http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ritual〕 Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.
Rituals are a feature of all known human societies. They include not only the worship rites and sacraments of organized religions and cults, but also rites of passage, atonement and purification rites, oaths of allegiance, dedication ceremonies, coronations and presidential inaugurations, marriages and funerals, school "rush" traditions and graduations, club meetings, sporting events, Halloween parties, veterans parades, Christmas shopping and more. Many activities that are ostensibly performed for concrete purposes, such as jury trials, execution of criminals, and scientific symposia, are loaded with purely symbolic actions prescribed by regulations or tradition, and thus partly ritualistic in nature. Even common actions like hand-shaking and saying hello may be termed rituals.
The field of ritual studies has seen a number of conflicting definitions of the term. One given by Kyriakidis is that a ritual is an outsider's or "etic" category for a set activity (or set of actions) that, to the outsider, seems irrational, non-contiguous, or illogical. The term can be used also by the insider or "emic" performer as an acknowledgement that this activity can be seen as such by the uninitiated onlooker.
In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it is a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder.
The English word "ritual" derives from the Latin ''ritualis,'' "that which pertains to rite ''(ritus'')". In Roman juridical and religious usage, ''ritus'' was the proven way ''(mos)'' of doing something,〔Festus, entry on ''ritus'', p. 364 (edition of Lindsay).〕 or "correct performance, custom".〔Barbara Boudewijnse, "British Roots of the Concept of Ritual," in ''Religion in the Making: The Emergence of the Sciences of Religion'' (Brill, 1998), p. 278.〕 The original concept of ''ritus'' may be related to the Sanskrit ''ṛtá'' ("visible order)" in Vedic religion, "the lawful and regular order of the normal, and therefore proper, natural and true structure of cosmic, worldly, human and ritual events".〔Boudewijnse, "British Roots of the Concept of Ritual," p. 278.〕 The word "ritual" is first recorded in English in 1570, and came into use in the 1600s to mean "the prescribed order of performing religious services" or more particularly a book of these prescriptions.〔Boudewijnse, "British Roots of the Concept of Ritual," p. 278, citing the ''Oxford English Dictionary''.〕
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』
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