When we are talking about ceremonies, the term rituals often comes up as well. Many of us think a ritual and a ceremony mainly describe the same, but they don’t. There is a small but subtle difference between both of them. In the following blog post we will explain to you the meanings of each term. After that you may also understand why we talk about a cacao ceremony and not a ritual.
First of all let’s clarify the term “ritual”
Broadly spoken, a ritual is an action which will be repeated over and over in a consistent way. Unlike habits we all have integrated in our daily lives, rituals are meant to have a positive impact for you and your inner peace of mind. They bring inner peace, support and stability. In order we can center ourselves and gain strength for our everyday life.
For closer understanding here’s a little example:
If you get up every morning and put on your bathrobe first, brush your teeth and then do your hair, it’s more a habit than a ritual. On the other hand, if you go sit down on the terrace with a cup of raw cacao after getting up in the morning, spend 20 minutes enjoying nature and breathe in morning air while listening to the wind and birds around you, it is a ritual. By performing rituals like this, you become more focused and rational to manage your everydays life.
However, a ceremony is a festive act. It follows a set order or a rite* which usually has a symbolic nature, such as a wedding or a welcoming ceremony at state receptions. It is usually performed with a certain intention to request a specific result. In many cases it is also built on one or more rituals. But even if it is repeated now and then, a ceremony will never become a ritual. Even though one and the same person repeats it.
A ceremony always stays a ceremony
While a ceremony always stays a ceremony, an everyday ritual on the other hand can transform into a ceremony. You just need to attach a larger ceremonial value to the action and celebrate your ritual as a feast. For example: If we shape our morning ritual more festive by making preparations, drumming on a pow wow in the beginning. And if we also do it for a special reason on a specific day – such as the first morning after new moon to thank nature for it’s beauty – our morning ritual becomes a ceremony.
In conclusion to all of that, you can say that rituals and ceremonies have an important healing function for each one of us but also for society. That is why it is so important to integrate them in our lives.
*A rite essentially describes a settled order of performing mostly ceremonial or religious actions. They fall into three major categories: rites of passage, communal rites and rites of personal devotion.