A ceremony is an activity, infused with ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.
Celebration of life
A ceremony may mark a rite of passage
in a human career
, marking the significance of (for example):
Sometimes, a ceremony may only be performed by a person with certain authority. For example, the opening of the United Kingdom Parliament
is presided over by the Sovereign (currently Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
). The naming and launching of a warship will be under the supervision of its captain or a higher-ranked naval officer. A wedding will be performed by a priest or a Civil Celebrant, as in Australia
. The President of the United States
is customarily sworn in by the Chief Justice of the United States
, and the British sovereign
is always crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Celebration of events
Other, society-wide ceremonies may mark annual or seasonal or recurrent events like:
Other ceremonies underscore the importance of irregular special occasions, such as:
In some Asian cultures, ceremonies also play an important role, for example the tea ceremony.
Ceremonies may have a physical display or theatrical
, a procession
, the laying on of hands. A declaratory verbal pronouncement may explain or cap the occasion, for instance:
- I now pronounce you man 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.