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Frank A. Salamone, Editor

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From rites of passage that signify an individual's new status or change in life to the ritual consumption of specific foods on certain days, religious rites, rituals, and festivals have shaped and have been shaped by society throughout history and around the world. The Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals, the new volume in the acclaimed Religion and Society series, explores this complex and fascinating topic.

Combining the expertise of outstanding international experts including scholars from all of the world's major religions with perspectives from the cutting edge of major disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history, cultural studies and philosophy, the Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals examines how religious beliefs are expressed through ritualized behavior and the relationship that exists between secular rituals and religious rituals. This absorbing A-Z Encyclopedia looks not only at religious rituals such as prayer and the celebration of Passover, but also at rituals and festivals take on a religious aspect, such as Star Trek conventions and sports events.

The Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals presents rituals in human history and across cultures in these general categories:

  • Key concepts and ideas that apply across all or most forms of ritual such as asceticism, communitas, magic, and taboo

  • Types of rituals such as agricultural rituals, identity rituals, rituals of rebellion, and naming rituals, compared and contrasted across diverse cultures and religion

  • Specific types of religion and their diversity and similarities across cultures and religions and includes articles on agricultural rituals, identity rituals, rituals of rebellion, and naming ritual

  • Overviews of the major rituals of major world religions, cultural regions, and specific cultures

  • Specific rituals such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Star Trek conventions

A captivating look at rites, rituals, and festivals—from the Western tradition of wearing a white wedding gown to the profound spiritual achievement of ritual possession to a practitioner of certain Afro-Caribbean religions—the Encyclopedia of Religious, Rites, and Festivals, is an essential and thoroughly engrossing resource.



  • 130 signed A-Z entries

  • 60 sidebars featuring primary source materials

  • Useful cross-references and suggestions for further reading

  • 60 black and white photos and illustrations

  • Comprehensive analytic index



Frank A. Salamone is Professor of Anthropology at Iona College, where he served as chair from 1984-1992 and acting chair from 1998-1999. He has received many research and study grants, including those from Werner-Gren, NEH, American Philosophical Society and others. He has published Gods and Gods in Africa (1975), The Yanomami and their Interpreters (1998), The Italians of Rochester, NY (2000), Popular Culture of the Fifties (2001), and a number of other books. He has written over two hundred articles.




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Introduction | A-Z Entries List | Contributors | Sample Entries | Reviews
Religion & Society Encyclopedias | Order Information | Order Online | Standing Orders
Contact Us
| Routledge Library Reference Home