What Are Examples of Religious Rituals?

Communion, baby-naming and circumcision are religious rituals derived from Catholicism and Judaism. Each ritual has its own unique significance within the religious tradition that generated it and allows participants to reinforce a relationship with divinity and ancestry.

Holy Communion in the Catholic Church evokes the Last Supper through the ingestion of bread and wine. Catholics believe that consecrated bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Communion ceremonies often involve the recitation of prayers and scripture. Performances of liturgical music may also take place, especially in the Anglican and Episcopalian traditions.

Baby-naming and circumcision are Jewish rituals derived from the Old Testament. A baby receives a name in Hebrew; Jews believe Hebrew to be a holy language and the spiritual essence of all creation. The ceremony, called a Simchat Bat in Hebrew, often occurs in a synagogue but occasionally takes place at the parents’ home and may entail a reading from Torah.

Jews also believe that circumcision connects each male Jewish child to God’s covenant with Abraham and with all of Abraham’s descendants. Ritual circumcision represents each male child’s obedience to God’s authority and his faithfulness to God’s plan for the Jews. The ceremony is known as the brit milah in Hebrew and typically takes place when the boy is eight days old.