Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals: A Religion and Society Encyclopedia / Edition 1

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Many rituals and festivals take place in public, meaning that such expressions of faith are societal as well as individual forms of human behaviour. The similarity in the general patterns of rituals and festivals across cultures and religions is striking. For example, most cultures and religions mark major life-course transitions such as birth, marriage, and death with public ritual expressions, and numerous festivals are tied to food-producing activities such as planting and harvesting. Where religions and societies vary is in the meanings associated with ritual behaviour and the specific forms those behaviours take.

The Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals and Festivals explores this complex topic through articles covering the following general categories of information:

  • general concepts and ideas such as communitas, inversion, purity and pollution, and pilgrimages
  • major forms of ritual and festival such as rites of passage, devotional rites, sacrifice, calendrical rites, carnival, and fasting
  • religious rites and festivals of major religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Catholicism and Judaism
  • rites and festivals in cultural regions such as China, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific islands
  • life-cycle rites, including those associated with birth, coming of age, marriage and death
  • specific rites and festivals, such as Divali, Easter, Ramadan, snake handling and Yom Kippur.

The Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals contains 130 entries contributed and signed by scholars from international universities and institutes, with expertise in such fields as Asian and Pacific studies, archaeology, communication studies, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, international studies, philosophy, psychological anthropology, religious studies, social anthropology, sociology and theology.

An unprecedented resource, this new encyclopedia provides in-depth coverage of a vast array of worldwide practices with entries that draw on the latest research available, offering fresh insights while maintaining a connection with established scholarship. The cross-cultural coverage will help foster interfaith understanding as well as present and explain unfamiliar behaviours and rituals.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Haircutting, identity, satanic, marriage, death these are just a few of the rituals crossing religious boundaries explained in this wonderful new addition to Routledge's "Religion and Society" series. Its topic is vast, and no one work, certainly not one volume, could comprehensively cover it all. But the selections here are broad and provide an excellent introduction to viewing our world through rites and rituals. The entries are accessible and wide-ranging e.g., online rites, Jainism, humor and rituals, pilgrimage, and divination, to name a few and are written by scholars in disciplines such as anthropology and cultural geography, as well as religious studies. Cross references and a reading list give entries additional utility, so readers can find new contexts. Even a simple review of the index is educational. Bottom Line Students of history, anthropology, and literature will find this accessible work an excellent resource for broadening their research. Students of religion will find it a superb starting place for their studies. Everyone else will find here much to remind us of the beauty of our differences and the striking harmonies of all our lives. For all public and academic libraries. [For more on the other titles in the series, go to www.routledge-ny. com/religionandsociety. Ed.] Manya Chylinski, Boston Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-As stated in the introduction, this is not intended to be a comprehensive description of all religions or all social rituals. Articles describing types of practices common to many cultures treat such topics as death rituals, hunting rituals, puberty rites, and sport and ritual. Specific occasions that involve ceremonies include Divali, Easter, Ramadan, and Yom Kippur. Some practices like cannibalism, haircutting rituals, and snake handling are described in separate articles. While Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam receive the most attention, religious traditions such as Buddhism, Shinto, Jainism, and Wicca also find places here. Iban, Aztec, and other less generally known cultures are revealed through some of their ceremonies. Native North American belief systems and some of their cultural activities also receive attention. Origins and histories often form part of the articles. Each major entry concludes with a significant list of titles for further reading. Sidebars focus primarily on accounts of personal observation of specific ceremonies or quotes from important religious texts. Occasional black-and-white photographs depict significant sites or people practicing their beliefs. Most captions offer clear descriptions of the scenes and include the year of their occurrence. An alphabetical list of entries precedes the text while the index allows access to specific topics within the longer entries. This work is not a detailed, alphabetical list of specific rites, ceremonies, or beliefs but, rather, a more sociologically relevant discussion of such practices.-Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415941808
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Series: Religion and Society Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank A. Salamone is a Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Iona College, New Rochelle, New York. He has conducted fieldwork in a number of settings, including Nigeria, the United States, Venezuela, and East Africa. Salamone has authored over 100 articles and authored, edited, or co-edited more than 15 books.

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Table of Contents

Contents Include: Agricultural Rituals. Altered States of Consciousness. Ancestor Worship - Africa. Animal Rituals. Asceticism. Australian Aboriginal. Birth Rituals. Blood Rituals. Body and Ritual. Buddhism. Calendrical Rituals. Cannibalism. Catholicism. Chinese New Year. Christmas. Day of the Dead. Death Rituals. Divination Rituals. Diwali. Easter. Fire Walking. Food and Rituals. Gender Rituals. Glossalalia. Greco-Roman. Healing and Rituals. Hinduism. Hopi. Humor and Rituals. Hunting Rituals. Iban. Islam. Jainism. Javanese. Judaism. Magic. Mardi Gras. Marriage Rituals. Matsu. Mbuti. Melanesian. Micronesian. Millennialism. Music. Naming Rituals. Nature Worship. Navan Ceremony. New Year's Celebrations. Newala Ritual. Nuer. Oaths and Ordeals. Orthodoxy. Paganism and Personal Rituals. Pilgrimage. Political Rituals. Polynesian. Possession/Trance. Prayer. Protestantism. Puberty Rites. Purity and Pollution. Ramadan. Rastafarianism. Revitalization Rituals. Rites of Communitas. Rites of Passage. Ritual and Symbol. Ritual as Communication. Ritual as Performance. Ritual of Performance. Ritual Specialists. Rituals of Purity. Sacred Places. Sacrifice. Santeria. Satanic Rituals. Scatological Rituals. Secular Rituals. Shakers. Shamanism. Shintoism. Sikhism. Snake Handling

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