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The Need for Rituals

Author(s): Marek Styczyński
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Czasu Kultury
Keywords: negative perception of rituals vs. the Christian rite in the Church; important role of rituals found in religion and art; achieving harmony with nature through rituals;

Summary/Abstract: In Poland rituals are usually perceived in a negative way. Many people who criticise rituals as something which stem from pagan beliefs are not aware that the services they attend in church are also ritualistic. Elements of these services, such as “the mystic transformation of wine into the divine blood and bread into the divine body” as well as blessing chalk or throwing flowers during processions seem to prove this point. Marek Styczyński highlights the important role of rituals in people’s lives. People have a need for experiencing religion and art and a nostalgia for the magic which we have lost from our daily routines is ever-present in human hearts. According to the author, the flexible world of art seems to be better equipped to fulfil this inherent desire than religion which is confined by institutional frameworks. Rituals themselves express the harmonic relationship between people and the complex, continuously changing world. The basic role of rituals is to protect us against negative forces, to purify us of destructive influences and to help us maintain unity with the world. The human life cycle is closely related to the cycles of the Earth. Various holidays, e.g. the celebrations on St. John’s Night, correspond with the seasons and express our close relationship with nature. Among the prevailing rational and scientific ways of perceiving the world such a relationship becomes extremely valuable and it is possible to argue that cultivating rituals helps us preserve our mental stability.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 02-03
  • Page Range: 26-32
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: Polish