Anna’s Ritual Blog

Just another weblog

LAST BLOG!! June 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 12:24 am

Hola! Well this is my last blog! I’ve been very slack in writing these each week but quite enjoyed doing them. It makes you go out and look for rituals instead of just going to tutorials and lectures. Good idea Mary, you should try and do them for the next Anth 213 class!

I found this course really interesting! A whole paper on ritual! This has got to be the most specific paper I have done so far! It’s also nice to do some anth compared with my international relations papers, which can get a little ‘heady’ at times! HEHE!

Oh, before I go, check out I thought this was interesting. It’s about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!…I know that sounds like something you would study in Psyc but, if you think about it, OCD means that individuals perform their own little rituals, which have meanings/purposes for themselves!

So farewell everyone, its been nice having our little class group, good luck for your exams and next trimester if your continuing to study 🙂


The Ritual of Handshaking! June 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 11:02 am

I think handshaking is an interesting ritual. All over the world, cultures have a way of greeting others but, handshaking seems to have become the main way. I thought to myself…why do we shake hands?? I do it, but I had no idea why or how it began! So I turned to the oracle that is Wikipedia to find out! 😀

Handshaking is seen to be orginally a Western idea, and it is said that it dates back as far as 2nd Century BC. The handshake is thought to have started as a gesture of peace, showing that the hand was not holding a weapon. Now however, the handshake is used for a number of reasons: upon meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement. In sports or other competitive activities a handshake is also used as a sign of good sportsmanship. It is a way of conveying trust, balance, and equality.

The actual handshake has also evolved!…Secret societies and fraternities and sororities often use secret handshakes to identify themselves as initiated brothers or sisters to outside members. Some involved with scouting use their left hand. This was instituted by Lord Baden-Powell while he was in West Africa. Two warring chiefs confronted each other, wanting peace. He dropped both his weapon and his shield. Not only was his right hand empty of a weapon he could attack with, but his left was empty of a shield of which to defend against the weapons of others with. I found this quite a nice symbolic idea! Not only does it show the other party that you are not going to attack them but, it also shows that you don’t see them as a threat.

However, my favourite handshake has got to be the “Soul Brother Handshake” which started in the US. This is the kinda “gansta” (haha!) handshake you see people doing. It has variations now including an exchange of facing palm slaps, as in “Gimme Five,” or fist bumping, “ham and cheese slides”, tops-to-bottoms, “the face slap”, or knuckles-to-knuckles. I found this amazing handshake on YouTube a while ago, so funny to watch! Pretty amazing too! I have tried to recreate some of it with friends…tried but failed! HAHA! I will leave it to them! Here it is though (watch it!): 

Oh and here’s the Wiki page if you want to read more about handshakes!

Ok, peace! 😀


Egyptians and their Mummies!

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 2:35 am

One culture I have always found fasinating is the Egyptians, I think most people do though!

I find the idea mummyfing bodies rather interesting. The reason bodies were mummified is because the Egyptians believed that one day the world would end and when it did, they would continue to an afterlife. In order to move on to this afterlife, they would need their earthy bodies. If however, their body rotted then they would not be able to make the journey. The long elaborate process included removing all organs (but keeping them in jars with the body) and then embalming the body. I think this is an interesting ritual. In no other culture that I know of, do they do this. Most cultures don’t put as much importance on the body itself.

Another interesting point is the burial of Pharaohs. Not only were their bodies and organs kept, but with them many other things. Precious artifacts, their pets (to keep the dead Pharaoh company!) and…their servants! In later times, models of the  servants were made to be buried with the Pharaoh but, the first kings had their servants killed so that he could ‘take them with them’ to the afterlife! This I found rather shocking! Knowing how many servants a Pharaoh would have…all of them having to be killed! Scary! Luckily this doesn’t happen any more!

In modern times mummifing and this elaborate for of burial doesn’t happen. This is largely because most Egyptians are now Christians and Muslims. They no longer believe that they need their ‘earthly’ body for an afterlife.

Anyways, that’s me for now! Last couple of posts to come!!


‘The Vegetarian Anthropologist’ by David E. Sutton June 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 1:14 pm

I was going over my old course book for Anth102 and came along the reading ‘The Vegetarian Anthropologist’ by David E. Sutton. I found this article reading interesting as it is an different perspective on doing anthropology fieldwork. Doing anthropology, we learn that it is best to try and keep your own beliefs and viewpoints aside when researching another culture. However, it is interesting if the culture you are studying doesn’t do the same for you.

When David Sutton decided to do fieldwork on the Greek Island of Kalymnos, he wasn’t sure how the Kalymnians would react to his dietary preferences. This was especially because in the US he was still not fully accepted as a vegetarian male. The Kalymnians didn’t critise David for being a vegetarian but, he was not seen to be a real man. In the Cretan mountain village described by Herzfeld, meat is the focus of the meal and for anyone who claims to be a real man. Nevertheless, vegetarianism also had positive religious connotations for the Kalymnians. I found this fasinating,  how meat plays such a role in a culture. Another place we can see the importance of meat is in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ when Toula tells her aunty that Ian is a vegetarian and doesn’t eat meat. The aunty’s reaction and the way her family said it all! Even though I knew that food plays an important part in ritual, I didn’t really think about the actually types of food and the meanings behind them. This article was especially interesting for me as most of my close family members are vegetarians!


Frederik & Mary of Denmark’s Wedding June 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 1:50 pm

Hello everyone! Hope you didn’t find the test too bad and managed to write lots of goodies! haha!

On the topic of royal weddings, I was looking up weddings on YouTube and found a clip of Frederik and Mary of Denmark’s wedding ( I remember hearing about this wedding a while ago but, only actually saw a clip of it now. (there are also some other clips from the wedding on YouTube). I found this rather interesting to watch!  Especially if you compare it with both Camilla and Charles’ wedding and, Diana and Charles’ wedding.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark met Mary Donaldson, his future wife, in Australia during the 2000 summer Olympics. Mary was raised in Tasmania, Australia and attended the University of Tasmania, studying marketing. Mary later moved to Sydney. The reason that I found this wedding interesting (and media all over the world actually!), was because Mary didn’t have any royal blood and worked a normal job. To start with there was much talk about how she shouldn’t be able to marry the prince as she wasn’t actually Danish, but eventually the country grew to accept her. Queen Margrethe gave the couple consent to marry.

The wedding ceremony itself was much more casual than either of the weddings we studied for our test. The structure was also more casual. It was interesting to see the way the Queen acted when she entered the church. Instead of displaying symbolic violence, much like Queen Elizabeth II did in Camilla and Charles’ wedding, Queen Margrethe was smiling and seemed to be content with the proceedings. This I found was the same for all of the family members and the couple themselves. I also noticed how the crowds reacted. There was more cheering and less formality surrounding the occasion. On the scale of some royal, even celebrity weddings, the wedding of Frederik and Mary was quite low-key.

Check out the clip! Worth a little look see! 🙂


‘The Future of Ritual’ June 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 6:52 am

Last week I read ‘The Future of Ritua’ by Richard Schechner. (which is in our course reader)

Schechner first starts the chapter by discussing how these days ritual means too much therefore, it means so little. I agree with this in a sense. Ritual is a very large and broad idea, so finding a exact definition is almost impossible! Though, this makes ritual interesting to study!

As outlined in the reading rituals have been considered:

1) Part of the evolutionary development of animals;

2) Structures with formal qualities and definable relationships;

3) Symbolic systems of meaning;

4) As performative actions or processes;

5) As experiences.

This, I found, was quite a good break-down of ritual. Then when I read on I came across something I found rather interesting!…

When thinking about ritual I normally think of things to do with worship or general rituals that we have read about in Anth101/102. However, reading this article I found it fasinating how Schechner mentioned the  ritual of animals. I have never thought about this! Or anything to do with the behaviours of animals come to think of it. Schechner talks about how in animals, ritual behaviour is usually set in “fixed action patterns” and usually for a purpose. These patterns are normally highlighted with highly visible body parts. A great example of this is the male peacock. He uses his bright feathers to attract females for mating purposes. Interesting! So simple, yet I never thought of this as a ritual!

Ok, that’s it for now – KEEP IT REAL!! 😀


Famous Funerals June 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — annaraven @ 11:27 am

Today I was reflecting on last Tuesday’s lecture, where we saw the complicated funeral of Dutch singer, Andre Haze. When hearing about Haze’s concert and the launch of his ashes into space, I thought it was a little crazy to tell you the truth! However, I decided that I might be feeling this way because I hadn’t heard of Andre Haze before or his music. For those who were fans or for those living in Holland, his death would have definately felt more personal. Just like as kiwi’s we are more likely to have felt something when Sir Ed died, compared with overseas.

I started to think of other ‘famous deaths’ and thought of other musicians such as Elvis and Kurt Cobain. Elvis’ death was morned my thousands of fans across the world and to this day people still call him ‘the king of rock and roll’ and more strangly say ‘Elvis isn’t dead’ ! When Elvis died the then US President, Jimmy Carter even said “Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled”. This shows how Elvis’ death was more than just a family affair.

The death of Kurt Cobain was also a tragic loss for many fans. There was a public vigil  held for Cobain at Seattle Centre, where approximately 7,000 fans came to mourn. Also, after his death a non-profit organisation, ‘ the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee’, paid to have a sign outside his hometown reading “Welcome to Aberdeen – Come As You Are” in his honor.

While the actually funerals of these two musicians where much less extravagant, their deaths still became a public affair.

Another more recent example, is that of Heath Ledger. Even though his family in Australia urged the media they desired privacy, the media nevertheless got involved. At the time I remember news of Heath Ledger’s death all over the news and the front page of the papers, shadowing most other international events and problems for a few days! As well as a private ceremony, there was also a larger memorial service with several hundred guests which received much press attention.

I’m sure you can think of many other examples, please feel free to comment some more! 😀