event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion
(Redirected from Ceremonies)

A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.


  • The two forms basic to American Indian literature are the ceremony and the myth. The ceremony is the ritual enactment of a specialized perception of a cosmic relationship, while the myth is a prose record of that relationship. [...] The formal structure of a ceremony is as holistic as the universe it purports to reflect and respond to, for the ceremony contains other forms such as incantation, song (dance), and prayer, and it is itself the central mode of literary expression from which all allied songs and stories derive. The Lakota view all the ceremonies as related to one another in various explicit and implicit ways, as though each were one face of a multifaceted prism. [...] The purpose of a ceremony is to integrate: to fuse the individual with his or her fellows, the community of people with that of the other kingdoms, and this larger communal group with the worlds beyond this one. A raising or expansion of individual consciousness naturally accompanies this process. The person sheds the isolated, individual personality and is restored to conscious harmony with the universe. In addition to this general purpose, each ceremony has its own specific purpose. This purpose usually varies from tribe to tribe and may be culture-specific.
  • What else can you offer the earth, which has everything? What else can you give but something of yourself? A homemade ceremony, a ceremony that makes a home.
  • Ceremony focuses attention so that attention becomes intention. If you stand together and profess a thing before your community, it holds you accountable. Ceremonies transcend the boundaries of the individual and resonate beyond the human realm. These acts of reverence are powerfully pragmatic. These are ceremonies that magnify life.
  • What infinite heart's ease
    Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy?
    And what have kings that privates have not too,
    Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
  • What art thou, thou idol ceremony?
    What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
    Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
  • O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
    What is thy soul of adoration?
    Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,
    Creating awe and fear in other men?
  • When love begins to sicken and decay,
    It useth an enforced ceremony,
    There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.
  • To feed were best at home;
    From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
    Meeting were bare without it.
  • Ceremony was but devised at first
    To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
    Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shown;
    But where there is true friendship, there needs none.
  • I discover that hardly a week passes that some one does not start a new cult, or revive an old one; if I had a hundred life-times I could not know all the creeds and ceremonies, the services and rituals, the litanies and liturgies, the hymns, anthems and offertories of Bootstrap-lifting.
    • Upton Sinclair, The Profits of Religion : An Essay in Economic Interpretation (1918), Introductory, "Bootstrap-lifting".

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