My Final Blog

I’m playing catch up again!

I was skimming through the readings and I read ‘The Ritual Experience: Pain and the Transformation of Consciousness in Ordeals of Initiation’.  I thought that this was a great example of how misunderstood rituals really are and that there really is meaning in everything that we do.  The article wrote about how seemingly barbaric forms of initiation rites are more than just about the pain, that ‘suffering is really an incidental consequence’ of that while they may seen heinous to an outsider they really idea of ‘ordeal’ is important in moving onto the next phase.

I was reading through ‘The Future of Ritual’ and what struck me was how multilayered ritual really is and that there is a human need for it, all rituals and rites of passage have so much meaning within them and they can never be taken on just face value.  A great quote from that was they are ‘performances of events between fact and imagination’.  I think that sums up ritual perfectly. 

Thank you for this blog and all the effort you put into it!



Is about how death was once a public event which bought a whole community together but now “society has banished death” with no way of knowing that someone has died other than seeing a hearse drive down a motorway, it gives a pretty sad message about death, that when one person dies in society it really has no effect on the community.

The article states that we have learned to accept the fact that we are all going to die, thus, it does not have as bigger meaning within society.

The second reading about Maori Tangis shows the difference between how Pakeha and Maori perceive death and funerals.  Maori have stronger ties to their ancestors thus tangis  area about their identity.  It also touched on new Zealand as a postcolonial society and Pakehas indifference to ancient Maori traditions.

Tangis are a more public event than, in general, most European funerals, at a tangi all that it means to be Maori is put on display.

As we looked at in class, death is both a public and private matter, an individuals death and funeral is often specific to their own personality and what the people around them demand, as in the cases of Dutch singer, Andre Hazes and Edmund Hilary.  Hazes was a larger than life personality who was held in great esteem amongst the Dutch middle to lower class, thus his death was more of a celebration of everything that he held dear and what he represented, such as having his funeral in a football stadium.

But Hilary’s funeral was a more sombre occasion because of the regard that he was held by all New Zealanders, whatever class and  his knighthood.


I just looked through my last blogs and realised just how bad I have been at keeping a blog, so I am going to try and make up for it, even though this was not the point of the blog, as we were meant to make weekly posts.

The reading I did is about a typical Cypriot wedding in the 1930s, a wedding is a rite of passage that enables girls and boys grow into women and men.   In Cypriot society single men and women were considered an oddity.  While this article is an extreme example of  the symbolic meaning that a wedding holds in society, the ideas of growing up, fertility and celebration are the same across all cultures.

Vassos Argyrou wrote as a wedding as a symbolic struggle this is was illustrated in class through the clip from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with the struggle between the Greek and American family, their traditions and their status in society


I just found a nice article to contrast the one I just wrote about, on how interest in ANZAC day led to the resurrection of an ANZAC day service in small town called Gordonton near Hamilton.  It was especially nice that a young boy felt such a sense of pride at wearing his grandfathers medals.

ANZAC Assignment

For my assignment I decided to look at the youth aspect of ANZAC day.  Such as how many of the younger generation were at the dawn parade and what was their level of participation.

I found and article of how young New Zealanders and Australians are being asked to stay away from Gallipoli as they are partying too much and being disrespectful to the importance of Gallipoli

Damn! I tried to hyperlink it but was unsuccesful

Political Rituals

I read laurateresaspence’s blog on political rituals in Soviet society and was really impressed with her description of how the Communist Party uses so many aspects of society to legitmize their control.

But the article that I want to focus on is about the 1992/1996 US Elections,  it was interesting to note the use of television in winning votes.  The “Murphy Brown” incident was extremely interesting as Bush had failed to take into account a changing society, where single parenthood, working mothers and divorce was on the rise.  Also the bus tours aimed at the middle class were advantageous towards the middle class.  Even in the recent US Election Obama appealed to the middle class with tax cuts for the rich, in politics the masses do hold the power but they can be so easily manipulated by those in control.

Power and Performance

I have to admit that I have been rather busy and a bit lazy and missed writing my blogs for the last 2 weeks.

Rituals can be used as a political tool to reinfornce and create ideas.  Nazi Germany was an excellent example of this, with how under the Third Reich the celebration of Christmas was used to trigger emotions and to influence and control.  What I found interesting was using Goebbels using Christmas as a time to remember the dead, this was a devious but clever tactic that did pay off in justifying the war and triggering emotions. 

Also the 1936 Berlin Olympics was another attempt at showing the superiority of the German Aryan Culture, none more obvious than the anti-Semetic campaign with a cartoon showing “a degenerate and brutal person labelled a “Jew” staring with envy and hatred at a German-looking victor cr owned with a laurel.”  The pagentry and epicness of this event again highlighted at rather easy it is to manipulate the masses.

The Palio of Siena

From the reading and the lecture, about the Palio of Siena, I thought that the Palio was all about breaking social norms, bringing people together in an environment that was unusual yet familiar.  The danger and the spectacle of the race makes people feel that they are a part of something bigger than themselves and living a little of the ‘wild side’.


Ooops just realised that we were meant to blog about our assignments, out ideas and how how our observations were coming along.

Well since I was going to the Homegrown Concert I decided that would observe the crazy behaviour joining in myself!

It was a very interesting exercise in drunken behvaiour in the afternoon.

Readings-Week 1

From the readings this week I learnt that almost everything that we do is a form of ritual or rite of passage.  Even the very mundane, everyday things that we do have a hidden meaning, often we have these forms of rituals or rites of passage’s to gain acceptance and to  feel safe.

Even eating together is a form acceptance in the first reading it was called  “a rite of incorporation, of physical union” and “a sacrament of communion.”  If you look deeper at eating together you realise that it it all of these things, having a meal together and sharing food, eapecially food that someone has cooked is a form of acceptance and often brings people together.  Even the evening family meal brings people together, as it is often the first time they have been together all day and they can disucss their day etc.  

Rites of passage in ancient times when there was no legal framework for moving from place to place, there were several formalitites that needed to be practised in order for that person to be accepted into that territory, again this goes back to rites of passage and ritual to being about acceptance. 

In the second reading spectacle and performance in ritual was talked about, what I took away from this was these practices were in place to communicate, how they are dressed up puts across a message and is supposed to bring a certain outcome. Every form of spectacle has a meaning that brings a certain group/tribe together and makes them distinct from others but also brings them together.

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