A ceremony is an activity, infused with ritual significance, performed on a certain occasion. For example, the Japanesetea ceremony was frequently held as a ritual of hospitality at the arrival of a guest.
Traditionally, a ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a personal human career, marking the significance of (for example):
Often ceremonies have a physical display or theatrical component: dance, a procession, the laying on of hands. But even greater importance usually attaches to a declaratory verbal pronouncement which may explain or cap the occasion, for instance:
I now pronounce you man and wife.
Happy New Year!
I swear to serve and defend the nation ...
Both physical and verbal components of a ceremony may become part of a liturgy.
During the 45-minute ceremony the New Guard replaces the Old Guard and a detachment is left at Buckingham Palace with the remaining New Guard marching on to St James's Palace.
Dating back to Medieval London, this spectacular annual ceremony marking the beginning of the new parliamentary year takes places in October or November and features peers and bishops in traditional robes and a royal procession involving the State Coach (visible to the public).
Write to: The Ceremony of the Keys, Waterloo Block, HM Tower of London, London, England, EC3N 4AB, stating the names of the attendees and enclosing a self-addressed envelope, together with the requisite British Postage Stamps, or a minimum of two International Reply Coupons (American Postage Stamps are not valid in the UK).
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