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Articles on Rituals

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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.
All families need to establish a new normal. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

4 good practices for anyone caring for quarantined kids

A family therapist and childhood development expert encourages parents and others raising kids to focus on the 4 R's: routines, rules, relationships and rituals.
People wear a protective mask as they attend a Hindu ritual, known as Melasti, in Bali, Indonesia, on March 22. Agoes Rudianto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Why people need rituals, especially in times of uncertainty

As the coronavirus spreads and life comes to a standstill, people are coming up with a host of rituals to maintain a sense of order and human connection.
Ojibwe women conduct a year-long ritual for their girls when they start menstruation. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

How a Native American coming-of-age ritual is making a comeback

Historically, indigenous people celebrated a girl's transition to womanhood with a year-long ritual. Many such ritual practices were made 'illegal' by the US and Canadian governments.
Knocking on wood may be a holdover from the pagan days of Europe, when tree spirits were believed to bring luck. saiful bahri 46/Shutterstock.com

Why we knock on wood for luck

The curious history of a ritual meant to ward off bad luck.
The Jewish ritual of bar mitzvah. which marks a 13-year-old young man’s assumption of religious and legal obligations under Jewish law. Israel_photo_gallery

What is a bar mitzvah?

The Jewish coming-of-age ritual of bar mitzvah evolved to its current form during the time of Enlightenment, when Jewish families feared losing their traditions.
A still from the 1946 classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ National Telefilm Associates

What makes Christmas movies so popular

Holiday movies offer us a glimpse into how the world is could be, often in sharp contrast to our lives as they are. In that way, the annual act of viewing them is like a religious ritual.
Voodoo believers walk during the annual Voodoo festival Fete Gede at Cite Soleil Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

What is Haitian Voodoo?

Voodoo is often seen as a practice involving magic. In Haiti, Voodoo is a religion born out of the struggle of slaves. And today, it is used as a form of healing and protection.
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.

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