Ceremony and ritual go back for as long as we have evidence of people. Whilst the specifics may change over time, their importance to us as social beings, and even as individuals, remains. At their grandest, they are intended to put us in touch with greater forces , whether through connection with each other or a divine or spiritual power. They can also mark change and celebration, as well as soothing and bringing comfort.
We often associate ceremony and ritual with tradition. Knowing words, actions and symbols have been used by those who have gone before or having a shared understanding of their meaning brings a gravity and power to the occasion. Equally, creating our own symbols and meaning brings its own rewards.
Ceremony and ritual are ways of making the ordinary special and the special extraordinary. Whilst special occasions in life, whether marking a transition or a milestone, may warrant a more formal approach, most of us are involved more informal examples in our daily lives. Singing happy birthday to a friend. Wrapping and giving a special gift. Making a heartfelt apology. What ceremony and ritual do is highlight and add meaning to an event, however modest.
So ceremonies deserve a special place in our hearts and in our communities. They are an important reminder of our connection to each other and of our humanity.