Application of Rituals in Diverse Contexts

Subject: Religion
Pages: 5
Words: 1385
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD


Schwake (2008) defines rituals as properly organized set of actions that bear symbolic meanings. Different rituals occur within diverse societies. Indicatively, the basic principles behind rituals embed on traditional norms. Several personalities regard communities performing rituals to be archaic. Notably, this is a widely stereotyped perception within the contemporary world. Perhaps, the stereotype is eminent because most of the ritual processes depict antique features. Sobo (2001) indicates that ritual performance signifies certain “rites of passage.” Cleansing is a common undertaking. The practice is mostly eminent during ritual administration processes. During the ancient periods, rituals held great importance (Spector, 2012). However, there is an eminent decrease in their importance within the present globalized world. Presently, the act is associated with cults. Observably, few societies still hold on their native and customary doctrines (Spector, 2012). The paper examines some five different rituals performed within societies. It also analyzes certain overarching themes notable in their performance.

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Rituals for Bicultural Couples and Families

Turner (2011) reiterates the importance of marriage in transforming the lives of individuals. Different societies attach diverse convictions and beliefs to marriage rituals. The sanctity of marriage requires an important concealment. According to certain communities, cleansing processes are necessary during marriages. This is an important element of rituals. Schwake (2008) indicates the unique significance of marriage rituals involving mixed cultures. There is an observation that this important process enhances enculturation. Apart from this, the ritual undertaking is important in the process of child development. Notably, there are psychological benefits attached to this process. Sobo (2001) also argues that rituals enable children to develop appropriate mental capacities to embrace important cultural practices. There are disparities in cultures, religious convictions and race. Rituals provide a basic springboard for the fusion of diverse cultures. In essence, rituals stir up the enculturation processes. As Schwake (2008) observes, marriage rituals symbolize the historic and native links between the spouses. Additionally, they also mark the beginning of a change in life.

It is vital for the couples to understand the religious and cultural demands pertinent to rituals. Particularly, this relates to their future lives. Marriage rituals help to establish co-existence mechanisms between couples from diverse cultures (Spector, 2012). Moreover, the rituals also symbolize individual attestation to marriage fidelity. The practice of marriage rituals also portrays cultural appreciation and honor. Rituals enable the couples to bring up stable and socially acceptable families. Those who rebel against rituals are community outcasts. In some instances, they might suffer excommunication from their native societies. Lastly, marriage rituals are also important in appeasing the spirit of a dead (Spector, 2012).

Imitative and Contagious Magic in the Therapeutic Use of Rituals with Children

There are notable evolutions in the therapeutic management of peadriatric diseases. Ritual cleansing is one of the customary practices in the treatment of child health complications (Turner, 2011). Complementary and alternative disease managment strategies were common during the ancient days. Most communities performed diverse rituals to appease and heal their sick children. Presently, every culture practices its own system of healing. In most cultures, rituals are important since they cure child diseases. The elderly persons relieved child pain in diverse ways. The administration of rituals involves psychological manipulation of the sick child. The practicing societies regard the process to be effective in the process of pain management (Turner, 2011).

The observation of rituals is important in enhancing the process of behavioral change. During their development to maturity, the sick children undergo this process. This helps transform their behaviors. The society anticipates these transformations to occur with time. Evidently, the society associates some sets of acts with curative effects in the body (Imber-Black, Roberts & Whiting, 2003). Although there is no logical causal inference of the acts and the healing, the societal beliefs preempt this existence. It is vital to note that certain rituals use metaphors to represent some important information. In fact, some cultures apply specific symbols to achieve this objective.

Rituals must follow certain specific sequences. They also observe stringent guidelines. The elders and ritual leaders are responsible for the drafting of ritual doctrines. In the process, there is an eminent indulgence of the ancestral spirits and certain supernatural powers. The fundamental objective of these family rituals is to convince and manipulate the manner in which community members believe and perceive issues. Turner (2011) denotes that as the children grow and develop complexities, they incorporate most of the rituals in their actions. These tendencies are notable within diverse environments.

Sobo (2001) observes the ability of children to acquire logic in their instructions. This explains their reason for following basic instructions. This is an observable concept within developmental science and human psychology. Unlike adults who posses formal thinking, children do not have any form of scientific reasoning. As they advance in age, their cognitive competencies develop in diverse ways. They develop the capacity to recognize the significance of community believes. Consequently, they become key perpetrators of the rituals. They lack the ability to inquire the causal relationship between the ritual and the disease (ImberBlack, Roberts & Whiting, 2003). Therefore, they inadvertently accept the benefits of a ritual. The symbols used during the performance of these rituals enhance the memorization competencies of the children.

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Therapeutic Rituals with Families with Adopted Members

Certain rituals are performed during pregnancies and delivery periods. There are several reasons for the performance of these rituals. For instance, Sadri and Flammia (2011) indicate that these rituals enable the mothers to cherish their children. Distinct preparations are appropriate for this ritual process. Adoptive parents must undergo evaluations through cleansing. They arrange to appear before the ritual personnel (Sadri & Flammia, 2011). There are differences in the way parents celebrate their new born. It is crucial to involve the neighbors and other religious groups. The adopted child must participate in these ritual celebrations (Imber-Black, Roberts & Whiting, 2003). These rituals form an important part of an anniversary. Societies that disregard adoption never perform any kind of ritual. Seemingly, these rituals enable the adopted children to acquire some sense of belonging. A ritual organized to celebrate the arrival of a child marks a new beginning. It remains symbolic because the adaptive parents are relieved of their infertility.

Rituals and Serious Illnesses: Marking the Path

Some communities perform ritual to help in the clinical and spiritual management of severe illnesses. As stated by Sobo (2001), these rituals help individuals to become confident in life. In addition, they are able to adopt very healthy lifestyles and behaviors. The rituals act as markers of one stage to another. The ill patients undergo a series of rituals that involve the administration of different concoctions. Several paraphernalia and supernatural consultations prevail in the process. However, these depend on the customary beliefs and practices pertinent to the particular society (Schwake, 2008). During these processes, there is an engagement of spiritual interventions. The sick undergo psychological manipulation. They are discouraged to imagine death. In many instances, the individuals who successfully heal become triumphant. It is important for them to find a chance to connect their past with the healthy future.

Individuals develop different beliefs during illnesses. There is a need for consolation and restoration of their hopes. These rituals are appropriate both for the individuals with health complications and for their families (Sadri & Flammia, 2011). In performing the rituals, the caregivers must also undergo cleansing. This is because some communities believe in the possible transmission of the severe illness. In these processes, there is an evident linkage of spiritual and ritual procedures. The ritual processes endeavor to explain what the patient is suffering from (Turner, 2011). However, these explanations usually follow a rudimentary logic. After successful healing, communal celebrations are necessary.

Assessing Family Rituals in Alcoholic Families

Rituals help to solve diverse problems within the general society. These include alcohol abuse within families and other related problems. Sadri and Flammia (2011) indicate that certain rituals are part of the family identity. Consequently, this is transmittable from one generation to another. From these rituals, individuals learn the consequences of alcoholic behavior. This contributes to abstinence from the practice (Imber-Black, Roberts & Whiting, 2003). Children within these alcoholic families must undertake these rituals. This is to ensure that they do not emulate the alcoholic character of their parents. Rituals are important practices within most customary societies. Notably, rituals vary within different societies.


Imber-Black, E., Roberts, J., & Whiting, R. A. (2003). Rituals in families & family therapy. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.

Sadri, H. A., & Flammia, M. (2011). Intercultural communication: A new approach to international relations and global challenges. New York, NY: Continuum.

Schwake, S. A. (2008). The social implications of ritual behavior in the Maya Lowlands: A perspective from Minanha, Belize. La Jolla: University of California, San Diego.

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Sobo, E. J. (2001). Celibacy, culture, and society: The anthropology of sexual abstinence. Madison, Wis: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

Spector, R. E. (2012). Cultural diversity in health and illness. Boston: Pearson.

Turner, F. J. (2011). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, USA.