The Ritual Year
The working group on The Ritual Year was established at the conference in Marseille on April 29, 2004. Initiated by Dr Emily Lyle (e.lyle(AT)ed.ac.uk) the inaugural meeting was held on 11 July 2004, in the department of Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Any member of SIEF who would like to join the working group should contact Dr. Lyle. The working group on "The Ritual Year" will be able to serve as a most valuable forum for discussion
The SIEF working group on "The Ritual Year" will be able to serve as a most valuable forum for discussion. We would expect our initial meeting to begin to map out the possibilities for the immediate future and to decide on the venue for the first extended gathering. There is a considerable choice among materials and approaches and the focus might well change from time to time and from conference to conference. We would plan to be flexible and in particular to make sure that we hear presentations from scholars representing a wide range of countries and approaches. Some possible aspects are: civic ritual and processions, community identity, masking and drama, carnival and reversal, reciprocity and exchange, computerised aids to calendrical research, sports, dance and music, contemporary popular use of religious images, cosmological roots, interfaces between the secular and the religious and between different religions, festival foods, and symbolism linked to the economic bases of society, especially as concerns agriculture.
The field of study that often relates to this one rather closely in teaching students is that of life cycle customs, and the perceived connections between the year cycle and the life cycle seem likely to strengthen so that it may seem more and more appropriate to consider parallels between them. As in other ethnological areas of enquiry, members will take account of continuity, change and meaning, but the thing that is unique to this working group is the framework of the year.