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The Ritual Year

Ritual yearThe working group on The Ritual Year was established at the 8th SIEF congress in Marseille, on 29 April 2004. Initiated by Dr Emily Lyle, the inaugural meeting was held on 11 July 2003, in the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, at the University of Edinburgh.

Any SIEF member who wishes to join the working group should contact secretary Irina Stahl on . The Ritual Year working group provides a valuable forum for discussion. Our meetings encompass a wide choice of materials and approaches, and the focus may well change from conference to conference. The format is flexible to ensure we hear presentations from scholars representing a wide range of countries and approaches.

Topics discussed include: 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.

The Ritual Year 15th Anniversary Poster

Read for reflections on the past 15 years of events for the Ritual Year Working group.






Honorary Chair
: Emily Lyle (UK), Honorary Fellow of The University of Edinburgh,
Irina Sedakova (Russia), Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
Laurent Fournier (France), Department of Anthropology, Aix-Marseille-University,
Secretary: Irina Stahl (Romania), Romanian Academy,