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Articles on Ritual

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Moms and dads have better physical and mental health when they dine with their children – despite all the work of a family meal. Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Family meals are good for the grown-ups, too, not just the kids

All that planning, shopping, prepping, serving and cleaning can pay off with better physical and mental health for all members of the family.
Prisoners are forced to play music as they lead a fellow prisoner to his execution at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Votava/Imagno via Getty Images

How the Nazis used music to celebrate and facilitate murder

Music is supposed to transcend the mundane and horrific. Yet it has also served as an accompaniment to torture and punishment.
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.
Saint Patrick. Thad Zajdowicz

10 things to know about the real St. Patrick

There are many myths associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But Patrick’s own writings and early biographies reveal the person behind the legend.
Libby’s continues to fiercely compete with pumpkin pie peddlers Borden’s, Snowdrift and Mrs. Smith’s for a place on the Thanksgiving table. Jean Beaufort

How advertising shaped Thanksgiving as we know it

At one point, turkey was jockeying with duck and chicken for king of the Thanksgiving table.
In the movie ‘Goat,’ a fraternity puts pledges through gruesome and dangerous rituals. Killer Films

The wrongs of passage in fraternity hazing

With the fall term underway and an ongoing case over the death of a Penn State pledge in February, colleges are trying once again to figure out why hazing happens and what should be done to stop it.
Making death masks of notorious criminals was common in the 19th century, such as this cast of murderer William Burke at the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomy Museum. David Cheskin/PA

What we can learn from death rites of the past will help us treat the dead and grieving better today

Saints’ relics, locks of hair, the laying of flowers: keeping the dead close took many forms in the past. We could learn from them today.

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