Take notes on key rituals/celebrations
Advent, Christmas, Epiphany
Remember the significance of ritual,
for practitioners of religion…
Often, serves as the external expression, of
inner belief, following Durkheim
Remember, also that not all ritualists always
know why they perform rituals. For many, there
is no logical explanation, except that it
produces a feeling, it feels right, or it helps
create a sense of order
Other significance of Rituals-Review
1. Helps to create bond between participants;
reinforces common identity
2. Boosts morale
3. Creates sense of order
4. Creates a link with ancestors, with history
(practicing a ritual that has been established
for hundreds, or thousands of years)
5. Creates mystical experience
6. Marks “rites of passage”, symbolizing
transitions in life (childhood to adulthood;
single to married; woman to mother, etc)
Provides opportunity to express deep, fragile
emotions, that are not normally expressed due
to rigid social norms
Significance of these Christian rituals- Sunday
Day of rest and worship
Signifies the day of week Jesus is resurrected
External expression of inner belief i.e. Jesus
conquers death. In doing so he absolves most of
Reinforces the Nicene Creed
Creates a sense of ancestral connection, too.
Sunday has been a day of rest for centuries
Less formally– provides opportunity to
express emotions of family unity. Many
Sunday traditions have developed
Sunday formal family dinners.
Church gatherings = community meetings.
Day to sing, eat, “wear Sunday best”, bond,
pray, rest, remember.
4 weeks before Christmas
Ritual reading of Old Testament and Jewish Prophets
To remind Christians that the arrival of Jesus was an Old
Testament prophecy. Reinforces belief that he was meant to
be the Messiah.
Reinforces the importance of including the Old Testament
as part of Christian scripture.
Creates a collective, emotional anticipation for the
celebration of the Messiah’s birth day.
Boosts morale, strengthens memory, creates bond within
families and amongst community members.
Marks the birth of Jesus
December 25th: Catholics
First week of Jan: Orthodox
Very recent addition to Christian ritual
As we have seen, builds on other pre-Christian
Persian, Birth of Mithra (Dec 25th)
Winter solstice, Dec 21st.
Germanic worship of God Oden. Fear of dark, night, winter
Also time of slaughter. Cattle killed so they don’t have to
be fed during winter.
Also, time when most beer and wine is finally fermented.
So, significance of Christmas:
Historical reminder that Messiah was born
Also, provides opportunity to express emotions of joy, love,
generosity, if only once a year! Abundance of fall =
generosity of God the father for delivering the Messiah
Oldest, most solemn Christian holy day. Also
coincides with Vernal Equinox
Preceded by a series of other holy days all which
reinforce memory of historical events leading to
death and resurrection of Jesus
40 days prior—Ash Wednesday. Reminder of
humanly sin. Ash on forehead.
For the remaining days, Lent: abstain from food or
ritual to signify the need to repent.
Final week of Lent= Holy Week.
Starts with Palm Sunday: Commemorates Jesus’ return to
Maundy Thursday: Commemorates anniversary of the Last
Supper. Communal meal is recreated.
Good Friday: solemn event. Commemorates arrest,
execution, burial of Jesus.
Sunday = Easter
Joyous occasion. Memory of the Resurrection of Jesus
New Clothing, Family meals = A New Age has begun
New members initiated through Baptism
Greek name for Jewish Shavuot
=50 days post-Passover= Giving of Law to
Moses at Mt. Sinai
Also, the day Holy Spirit descended upon
disciples, gave them powers to spread new
Signifies: Birth of the new religion, the
deliverance of the new covenant
Baptism and Communion/Eucharist, as we have
Catholics: Birth of Saints
“Nativity” of John the Baptist
Nativity of Mary