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Religious Ritual

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Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine


Church attendance; Prayer; Religious ceremony; Religious practice; Religious service; Service attendance


A religious ritual is any repetitive and patterned behavior that is prescribed by or tied to a religious institution, belief, or custom, often with the intention of communicating with a deity or supernatural power. Rituals may be performed individually or collectively during predetermined times (e.g., praying at specific times of day), elicited by events (e.g., mourning rituals performed after a death), or performed sporadically (e.g., praying at various times throughout the day).


Rituals are an important aspect of religion because they allow believers to express and reaffirm their belief systems. One of the primary purposes of rituals is communication. Rituals communicate or are intended to communicate to self, others, or deities. They convey information regarding the commitments, beliefs, and values of the individuals performing the ritual and link...

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Correspondence to Login S. George .

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George, L.S., Park, C.L. (2013). Religious Ritual. In: Gellman, M.D., Turner, J.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Springer, New York, NY.

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