Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mwalimu J. Shujaa
Rituals are set forms or prescribed procedures for carrying out religious actions or ceremonies. African rituals constitute collective statements of continuity and unity that function to express communal definition through group participation. People assimilate the religious ideas and practices that are held or observed by their families. Through communities and families, rituals are passed down from one generation to the next across centuries. Rituals are vital. When the life and safety of a community are threatened, rituals can psychologically and emotionally strengthen the community's members by creating a sense of order. The African propensity to seek and maintain order, balance, and reciprocity is grounded in Maat, the guiding principle of African ethical existence articulated best in ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) culture and society. African people have carried their culture and its rituals wherever they have journeyed through time and space. Rituals have survived and sustained spiritual order even under the extreme ...