IMG_2896Rituals.  This word may irritate some as long-past traditions more useful for society in the 12th century than for the 21st century.  Others may have eyes that glaze over at the thought of pomp-and-circumstance marches, or the Mass in Latin.  However, rituals fill our lives, maybe more subtly that we realize.  Weddings, funerals, morning routines, evenings out with friends, holidays and seasonal events, all contain some level of ritual, from how we greet each other to the hierarchy within the social group.  So, here we are at Mardi Gras, Fat-Tuesday, the beginning of 40 days of Lent.  Where shall we party?  What should we give up?  Which scriptures should be read prior to Passion Week and Easter?  All are rituals.

IMG_2877For us, the ritual includes a winter visit with Linda’s family.  This began decades ago, as we work in healthcare, which does not shut down for holidays.  Rather than trekking to the home-place for Christmas, we would schedule a winter vacation instead.  Then her father died in January 21 years ago, giving more significance to gathering this time of year.  Meanwhile, her brother’s birthday was about the same time period, offering another reason to IMG_2879congregate.

About ten years ago, we travelled to New Orleans with friends, introducing them to Zydeco and Cajun music.  As it turns out, a local dance hall hosts an annual Mardi Gras party the weekend before Fat Tuesday, and these friends discovered this once they knew about the music.  Now we can compact numerous family rituals into a winter vacation and Mardi Gras party.

IMG_2880Rituals usually contain several elements.  First, as I have alluded to, is a time and date for which the events will occur.  Again this could be daily, weekly, seasonally, or annually.  Second, the ritual involves a specific group of people.   Some may attend or disappear from time to time, adding and subtracting seats at the table.  Third, rituals involve prescribed manners, such as greeting, topics, and story-telling.  Fourth, ritual include decorative dress, from priests vestries, to Sunday-best, to costume-contest entries.  Fifth, rituals often include music and possibly movement (processionals, recessionals, parades, and dance).  Sixth, rituals include mind and mood altering spirits (aka alcohol).  Well, a Mardi Gras party has all these elements.

IMG_2893 IMG_2895


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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9 Responses to Rituals

  1. cindy knoke says:

    wonderful tradtions!

  2. cindy knoke says:

    uhhhh, sorry, traditions……

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Not differently from how I proabably have spelled it at times. At least you had the correct word (I hate when I spell the wrong word correctly and spell check does not notice).

  3. Barneysday says:

    Traditions and rituals, more a part of our lives than we realize. Thanks for the reminders. Now where are those beads????

  4. KerryCan says:

    Anyone who denies that rituals and traditions fill our lives is fooling themselves! I like family rituals, like the one you describe, the best.

  5. Lucky you. Those great photos look like a ritual of fun

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