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Activity 1: Rituals in Our Lives

Activity 1: Rituals in Our Lives
Activity 1: Rituals in Our Lives

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Sticky stars in a variety of colors

Preparation for Activity

  • Write on newsprint, and post: A ritual is an action that is repeated. A ritual is always done in the same way.
  • Title three sheets of newsprint "School," "Holidays," and "Home," and set them aside.

Description of Activity

Participants identify rituals in their lives and discover how secular and religious rituals differ.

Say, in your own words:

Some signs of our UU faith are our UU rituals. A ritual is an action that is repeated and always done in the same way. [Indicate the definition on newsprint.] Rituals can be in our congregation, or they can be actions we repeat at home or at school or anyplace we regularly go. Our lives are full of rituals. Some rituals have a lot of meaning, and some are just actions we repeat. Some rituals are such a part of our everyday life that we do not realize they are rituals. Let's see if we can name some rituals.

Post the newsprint sheets titled "School," "Home," and "Holidays" where children will be able to reach them. Lead the group to suggest rituals for each list. Remind children of the definition of a ritual, as needed. Use these prompts:

  • At school, is there a ritual for when a class walks in the hallway?
  • At home, what is a ritual related to leaving your house in the morning?
  • Whose family has a special ritual for your birthday?

It is fine if one child suggests a ritual that others do not know. The important thing is to agree that the action is indeed a ritual, according to the definition provided. Make sure the process is respectful and that everyone has an opportunity to participate.

Call attention to the "School" list. Ask:

  • Do you have the same classroom rituals every year, with every teacher?

Say that at school, rituals often change from year to year. There may be a new teacher, new children in the class, a different room, and a new schedule. When a group changes, sometimes the rituals change, too. This is because the group is not exactly the same. It has a new identity and so it may have new rituals.

Point out that when a group has been together for a while, everybody in the group knows the ritual. Sometimes the people in a group have created a ritual themselves, and someone who is new would not have a way of knowing it. Ask:

  • What do you do about rituals when a new person joins the group?

Give everyone three sticky stars and ask them to place stars on the newsprint sheets next to their favorite rituals. Notice that everyone likes different rituals. Say that, throughout the program, we will see that we also differ in how we like to live out the signs of our faith.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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