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Rituals: Marriage and Funeral Rites on Focus

An ethnographic discussion of certain rituals observable in some societies, small-scale or complex. Marriage and funeral rites are some of the commonly observed rituals in any society.

language english
wordcount 8927 (cca 25 pages)
contextual quality N/A
language level N/A
price free
sources 2
Table of contents

Introduction 1
Marriage in a Small-Scale Society 2
Marriage in a Complex Society 7
Funeral Rites in a Small-Scale Society10
Funeral Rites in a Complex Society13
Conclusion 15
References 21

Preview of the essay: Rituals: Marriage and Funeral Rites on Focus

The term ritual refers to an event or performance, often associated with the sacred, which is distinguished from ordinary day-to-day life by the use of special language, music, or dance. Rituals organized around critical junctures, which is occasion when society may be disrupted, like birth, death and marriage and where outcomes are unclear. They constitute events which help people over dangerous periods of their lives (Schchner,1993:230). Ritual is also a form of communication. It is a powerful means of communicating emotion and involves the use of formulaic or stylized speech and repetition, but a repetition very different from that ordinary habitual action. Language has the capacity for communicating an infinite range of ideas, but ritual does not. What ritual, in its stylized form, communicates is important central themes of the culture (Bloch, 1989) Durkheim noted, long ago, that, in effect, ritual is society symbolically represented, formalized and reenacted (Durkheim, 1915). An examination of rituals in a society illustrates the integrated nature of culture and demonstrates why a tapestry is an apt metaphor for culture. Therefore such an examination is an appropriate way to begin our journey. Ritual ...

... course of the marriage potlatch. The high rank of the wife demands that there be large payments for her. At the same time, such payment enhances the rank of the giver, the groom. The importance of making a return of what one has received is reflected in the repurchase payment made by bride’s side. Seating of guests at the potlatch and the order in which they receive gifts reveal their ranking with respect to one another. The political power and legitimacy of sponsoring chiefs is also demonstrated in the potlatch. The claim to rightfully own a title or name is made by a chief at a potlatch when he recites the line of ancestors through whom the title was passed on unt9il it reached him. Lastly, the marriage ceremony is symbolically conceptualized as a form of warfare, in which warriors demonstrate their bravery in capturing the bride and the return purchase is conveyed by a symbolic war canoe.
Essay is in categories


Humanistic Studies


Humanistic Studies
Benjamin I.

The discussion is extensive and the organization is well-planned.

Kudos for this good write-up!

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