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February 26

Cultural Rituals: Their Meanings and Symbolisms - Anthropology & the Human Condition

The Meanings Behind Cultural Rituals

Customs, as per Oxford Dictionaries, allude to a strict or grave function comprising a progression of activities performed by a recommended request. There are numerous customs that individuals partake in, even in current culture, and each has its own implications and imageries. A few customs are utilized in weddings, memorial services, recuperating, and even in labour. Such ceremonies may be directed out in the open (for instance, wedding customs), or in private, (for example, ceremonies associated with labour) (Rook, 1984). Somebody who is given the power and regarded by others generally leads such ceremonies.

Customs will in general be socially related and are functions that are impervious to change (Rook, 1984) and are passed down from age to age. Generally, customs go about as an emblematic model for making and keeping up social ties and conditions to the local area (Erdogu, 2009). This may be intelligent of the Ju/‘hoansi (Lee, 2012), who share the very conviction that/gangway (apparitions of as of late expired Ju/‘hoansi) cause disease or adversity to the living. The sharing of such a conviction joins the Ju/‘hoansi and fortifies social ties as the individuals are subject to each other (particularly the n/um k”ausi, the medication proprietors) to help recuperate the debilitated.

As I would like to think, it is essential that a few ceremonies produce immaterial impacts, (for example, customs to speak with the perished for recuperating purposes), while others produce more substantial impacts, (for example, wedding customs). There are numerous implications and imageries behind both substantial and theoretical ceremonies and some are talked about underneath.

Ceremonies as a Means of Communication (Intangible impacts)

We see, in certain societies, that customs are directed as a type of correspondence with the otherworldly world.

On account of Ju/‘hoansi (Lee, 2012), the mending customs are directed by the n/um k” us who have been prepared and have acquired their status as a healer. N/um k”ausi, during their mending customs, speak with the profound world (the/gangway) in the expectation of finding the motivation behind why he/she (the/gangway) is making disease or incident the living.

The Tuareg individuals of ***** Republic, West Africa (Rasmussen, 2000) likewise accept that there are higher forces that control and influence the existence of the living. Takote, which means almsgiving, ceremonies are directed in numerous soul changing experiences however is generally significant in burial services. Memorial service takote customs are utilized as a method for correspondence between the perished and their relatives. The seniors lead takote customs, and they assume conspicuous parts in numerous different ceremonies also. The ceremonial fashions associations between the present and the past and accordingly can likewise fill in as a way to reflect and remark about the past and future intergenerational conducts (Rasmussen, 2000).

Ceremonies as a Means to Symbolize Transitions (Tangible impacts)

It is exceptionally regular that customs are utilized to represent transitions.Through these ceremonies, individuals take up new obligations and new jobs that are recognized by the general public.

For example, the memorial service takote ceremonies (as referenced prior) are led for the individuals who have passed on. Despite the fact that it is utilized as a way to speak with the dead, it is likewise a way to perceive the change from living to perished. The Tuareg (Rasmussen, 2000) seniors additionally direct different transitional experiences, for example, naming ceremonies. Children are just named on the eighth day after birth and this represents their progress into the living scene. This is like Mt. Yagaw Hanunóo individuals from the Philippines (Conklin, 2011) where grandparents assume significant parts in picking the name of the infant, which can be viewed as a custom to represent the child’s change into the living scene. To the Tuareg elderly folks, who lead the greater part of the customs, Tuareg takote ceremonies offer a chance to reinforce individual sociopolitical networks and to be perceived as proto-progenitors or pre-familial in the course of their life (Rasmussen, 2000). By leading the customs, the elderly folks go through their very own progress into turning into a ‘renewed’ individual.

In South India (Nishimura, 1996), ceremonies are utilized to stamp advances between social statuses. For instance, wedding customs are utilized to recognize the progress of the lady and lucky man into their new societal position of ‘wedded’. It is likewise utilized as a way to legitimize posterity. Wedding ceremonies will permit affirmation of whose bloodline a kid has a place with. South Indian wedding ceremonies not just represent advances from the societal position of singlehood to the wedded hood, yet additionally denotes the difference in the status of the people associated with the custom. The lady of the hour and lucky man, after the wedding custom, will expect another status inside their own families. They are no longer child and sibling, or girl and sister, yet additionally spouse and child in-law, or wife and little girl in-law. Indeed, even among a couple, there would be new statuses dependent on certain sex progressions that are kept up in that culture or society.

This is like that reflected in the film “Dadi’s Family” (Camerini and Gill, 1981). Ladies in that society are hitched out of the family and frequently move to remain with the spouse’s family. As ladies avoid their families, they are viewed as girls in-law in that society or town in which their spouses live, and in this manner have a lower economic well being, as they don’t have a place from that society or town initially. At the point when these ladies return to their home town or society, they continue their higher economic well being as little girls. Thus, from these two models (Dadi’s family and South Indians), we can see that wedding customs mark advances between social statuses and they influence how the general public will act towards them.


Customs are directed by numerous and in various settings. Every ceremonial has a particular significance and imagery that is extraordinary to each culture or potentially society.

For ceremonies that are led for correspondence, individuals take part in such customs because of the convictions that their lives are controlled or potentially influenced by otherworldly creatures or higher forces. The customs fill in as a way to speak with otherworldly creatures or higher forces all together for the living to feel as though they have some authority over their own lives. In this way, giving an elusive impact that may not really be truly obvious to the unaided eye. For customs that are directed to stamp changes, the ceremonies have a more substantial impact whereby individuals in the general public recognize the progress. For instance, wedding ceremonies (as referenced prior) permit the general public to recognize the change of the lady and man of the hour from singlehood into the wedded hood and the new social statuses and obligations that accompany wedded hood.

Most, if not all, customs lie in the focal point of the center conviction frameworks of the individuals who practice them. Customs achieve a feeling of gathering personality and subsequently fortify and fabricate local areas. Whether or not or not such customs are led openly or in private, or if the ceremonies produce substantial or theoretical impacts, most ceremonies, (for example, recuperating customs) are directed to take care of the profound and mental creatures of individuals. It is in the conviction that such customs fill a need that they achieve actual impacts.


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