All over the world people celebrate through ceremony, with many ceremonies having cultural or religious significance. Ceremonies are filled with ritual. A ceremony allows us to acknowledge a transition or a rite of passage – a new beginning or sometimes, as a conclusion to an event in our lives.
Ceremonies are held to celebrate a new life or in honour of a life well lived, for a graduation or a retirement, for a marriage or commitment. Communities hold ceremonies to reflect on events – events of historical and social significance. For those events that cause devastation or loss – ceremonies, simply help to heal. A ceremony can help to show people they are united and that they belong. At a conference last year, I had the opportunity to listen and be inspired by Dally Messenger. In his talk he stated that,
“…in every ceremony the elements of integrated beauty, music, poetry, choreography and symbolism, purposely and skilfully integrated into the ceremony’s theme, emotionally embed, imprint and sink the totality of the event into the brain, into the memory, into the psyche and most importantly into the subconscious…”
Ceremonies can motivate us, stimulate our emotions and prompt memories. The positive effects of ceremony are universal across civilisations and are neither specific, to age or gender.
Today, I had the pleasure of attending the Opening Celebrations for the coming year at my children’s school. During the ceremony, new teachers and students are welcomed and all are invited to place a pebble into the Community Bowl. A simple act with a great and powerful meaning. Each pebble represents one unique individual, the action saying you are welcome and you are apart of our group, you are a valuable member of our community. For my daughter and all of her peers, their participation in their first school ceremony, I am sure will be one of their most treasured memories of starting school.
Elizabeth on her first day at school…one very proud little girl….one teary Mum!