What is a Ritual?
The dictionary offers us the following definitions:
Main Entry: 1rit·u·al
Pronunciation: 'ri-ch&-w&l, -ch&l; 'rich-w&l
Etymology: Latin ritualis, from ritus rite
1 : of or relating to rites or a ritual : CEREMONIAL
<a ritual dance>
2 : according to religious law or social custom <ritual
- rit·u·al·ly adverb
Main Entry: 2ritual
1 : the established form for a ceremony; specifically
: the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony
2 a : ritual observance; specifically : a
system of rites b : a ceremonial act or action c :
a customarily repeated often formal act or series of acts
Entry Word: ritual
2, ceremonial, ceremony, formality, liturgy, observance, service
2, ceremonial, ceremony, formality, liturgy, rite
At some point in time after you have accepted the invitation to become
a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon you will experience our sacred, secret
ceremony of initiation. We most often refer to this as the
"Ritual." Like all other Greek organizations, Sigma Phi Epsilon
has many Rituals. You probably have experienced some of these already.
Your initial induction into the Fraternity was a ritual. Many of the
inspirational activities that you have participated in are forms of
ritual. The order of business in a chapter meeting represents a form of
ritual. However, at some point you will experience the Initiation
Ceremonies in which you will be informed of all the secret work and the
specific meaning of signs, symbols, and words about which we have tried to
stimulate your intellect and reason. A successful member development
program will not only prepare you for your introduction to this as well as
guide you on your journey to incorporate the teachings or tenets of the
Fraternity into your everyday life.
Rituals or rites of passage most probably go back to the beginning of
time. Some are simple, others are elaborate. Some are short, others last
for long periods of time or require several stages or degrees.
In order to more fully understand and understand fraternity ritual and
why it is this one component that makes Greek organizations unique, a
basic understanding of its historical aspect is integral. What is provided
is certainly superficial to the volumes of information available; however,
it is certainly a start.
Use the links from this page to follow the history of rituals in
general, Greek organizations specifically, and some information about the
founding of fraternities. Where available active links to national
organization websites are provided.