Articles on Rituals

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The Blackfeet always faced their tipis towards the rising sun, including on winter solstice. Beinecke Library via Wikimedia Commons

What winter solstice rituals tell us about indigenous people

For indigenous peoples, winter solstice has been a time to honor their ancient sun deity. Their rituals reveal a deep understanding of the natural world.
In 2014, in, a small town in northern Israel, Christian worshippers gathered next to a statue of the Virgin Mary, that they said ‘weeps’ oil. AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

What is behind belief in weeping Virgin Mary statues

Throughout Catholic history, miracles have been attributed to Virgin Mary's power. She is understood to cry not only over the sins of the world, but over the pain she experienced in her earthly life.
The Mormon church is still grappling with a racial past. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Mormons confront a history of Church racism

Forty years ago, the Mormon church reversed restrictions on its members of African-American descent. Today, the church wants to celebrate the value of its diversity.
Six memorial candles are lit during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Sharkey Theater on board Naval Station Pearl Harbor. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl

Why remembering matters for healing

Remembrance days and memorials provide people the opportunity to share stories with a community. An expert explains how that can make a difference.
The Virgin Mary may not be able to pull Brazil out of a deep recession, but her church-sponsored house calls do wonders to ease economic malaise among participating Catholic families. Pilar Olivares/Reuters

This old Catholic ritual is giving Brazil’s economy a small boost, one Virgin Mary statuette at a time

For a century, Brazil's Catholic Church has sent holy statues out to parishioners' homes. A new study finds that these visits create a local subeconomy, benefitting families and the church.

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