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A ceremony ( /ˈsɛrɪməni/, /ˈsɛrəˌmni/) is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin, via the Latin caerimonia.


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Ceremonial occasions

A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human life, marking the significance of, for example:

  • birth
  • initiation (college orientation week)
  • puberty
  • social adulthood (Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah)
  • graduation
  • awarding
  • retirement
  • death (Day of the Dead)
  • burial (funeral)
  • spiritual (baptism, communion)
  • Celebration of events

    Other, society-wide ceremonies may mark annual or seasonal or recurrent events such as:

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  • vernal equinox, winter solstice and other annual astronomical positions
  • weekly Sabbath day
  • inauguration of an elected office-holder
  • occasions in a liturgical year or "feasts" in a calendar of saints
  • Opening and closing of a sports event, such as the Olympic Games
  • Other ceremonies underscore the importance of non-regular special occasions, such as:

  • coronation of a monarch
  • victory in battle
  • In some Asian cultures, ceremonies also play an important social role, for example the tea ceremony.


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    Ceremonies may have a physical display or theatrical component: dance, a procession, the laying on of hands. A declaratory verbal pronouncement may explain or cap the occasion, for instance:

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  • I now pronounce you husband and wife.
  • I swear to serve and defend the nation ...
  • I declare open the games of ...
  • I/We dedicate this ... ... to ...
  • Both physical and verbal components of a ceremony may become part of a liturgy.

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    Ceremony Wikipedia

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