Why Do Rituals Grow as a Year Dwindles? - WSJ: "But why all the ritual? For anthropologists, rituals are defined by certain qualities: They are repetitive, prescribed, compelling to our attention, reproduced in time and space, costly in resources and effort, and filled with actions that have no practical purpose. They often occur when people feel threatened—by drought, illness, engagement with an enemy—and at life transitions like birth, initiation, marriage and death. In our own culture, secular rituals also include graduation, retirement, championships and New Year’s Eve.
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