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ceremony

ceremony, expression of shared feelings and attitudes through more or less formally ordered actions of an essentially symbolic nature performed on appropriate occasions. A ceremony involves stereotyped bodily movements, often in relation to objects possessing symbolic meaning. For example, people bow or genuflect, tip hats, present arms, slaughter cattle, salute flags, and perform a myriad of other actions. Ceremonies express, perpetuate, and transmit elements of the value and sentiment system and aim at preserving such values and sentiments from doubt and opposition; moreover, they intensify the solidarity of the participants. Ceremonies are found in all societies.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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