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Articles on Rituals

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A man takes a picture of a statue representing the 5,300-year-old mummy named Ötzi, discovered in the Italian Alps 30 years ago. Andrea Solero/AFP via Getty Images

What Ötzi the prehistoric iceman can teach us about the use of tattoos in ceremonial healing or religious rites

When the 5,300-year-old mummy of Ötzi the Iceman was found 30 years ago, researchers found 61 tattoos on it. A scholar explains how tattoos have been a sacred part of many cultures across the world.
Several celebrities have been seen wearing coats designed by Brenda Equihua, with an image of Mary displayed at the back. Screen grab from Shelley FKA DRAM - Exposure (Official Music Video)

Warrior, servant, mother, unifier – the Virgin Mary has played many roles through the centuries

Mary has acquired popularity among celebrities of late. A religion scholar writes about how for nearly 2,000 years, the mother of Jesus has been viewed as an exemplar by different Christian groups.
Many of the tombs in Japan are elaborately decorated. Nearby visitors can buy flowers, buckets. brooms and other gardening tools to tidy up the graves. John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images

Lack of burial space is changing age-old funeral practices, and in Japan ‘tree burials’ are gaining in popularity

In a Japanese tree burial, cremated remains are placed in the ground and a tree is planted over the ashes to mark the gravesite. Environmental responsibility is part of Buddhism.
Hindu devotees attend evening prayers on the banks of the Ganges River during the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar, India. Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

India prepares for Kumbh Mela, world’s largest religious gathering, amid COVID-19 fears

Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage that started earlier this month in India, has survived wars and famine since its origin. But the biggest threat has been the spread of illness – back then as now.
People visiting a Christ sculpture at the Santa Maria Magdalena Church during the Holy Week in Granada, Spain. Álex Cámara/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Why parts of Good Friday worship have been controversial

Prayers and symbols have the power to bind people together, writes a religion scholar, and so it is important to understand the history and context of Good Friday prayers.
Jill Biden holds the Bible as Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021. Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP

From Biden’s giant Bible to Christian flags waved by rioters, ‘religion’ means different things to different people and different eras

From the oath-taking on the Bible during the presidential swearing-in ceremony to the ‘awe’ and ‘restraint’ of the early Christian world, the meaning of ‘religion’ has gone through a long journey.
An important ceremony: the U.S. Capitol during President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Why do presidential inaugurations matter?

Formal ceremonies and rituals can trigger psychological signals that command people’s attention and strengthen the perceived importance of those moments.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in Oct. 12 for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leah Millis/Pool via AP

The history of oath ceremonies and why they matter when taking office

Taking oath is an important tradition before assuming charge of a public office. It entails a commitment to the future. What is the history of oath-taking?
Graduates during a drive-through graduation for Faith Lutheran High School at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, May 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

How to help high school seniors cope with milestones missed due to coronavirus

High school seniors will miss important anticipated events due to the coronavirus pandemic, but offering resources, alternatives and the confidence that they’re going to be fine is what matters.

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