Rituals, as they pertain to cross cultural psychology Essay Sample
Everyone has rituals that they include in their lives, whether this be for religious reasons, cultural ones or for personal satisfaction and peace of mind. They can vary from the most elaborate wedding rite as in the Greek Orthodox church to the simple habit of always putting on a left sock before the right or some other habit by a footballer who believes that in some inexplicable way this will bring him success as discussed by David James in his 2006 Observer article.
How does this relate to cross cultural psychology? There is more than one answer depending upon how include or excluded someone is by a ritual. For instance in the case of the elaborate wedding – one partner may come from a different culture or religious background and will have to have the various parts of the ritual explained to them if it is to have any relevance and real validity, especially if it is carried out in a language with which they are unfamiliar.
At the same time taking part in something that belongs to the culture of their beloved may actually make them feel more included in their new partner’s family and life style as in Zwick Joel’s 2002 film ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ where we see the groom and his parents gradually come to embrace Greek habits and even enjoy them, while at the same time remaining the people they are. The story progresses from total confusion and embarrassment to wholehearted participation, but on their own terms.
Smaller individual rituals sometimes only affect that one person, but on other occasions can cause those of a different culture to misunderstand, e.g. a Sikh who insists on wearing a turban when a crash helmet is the required standard may be considered a fanatic or just awkward, rather than just someone trying to comply with the rules of his religion. On the other hand a famous footballer who is seen to make the sign of the cross before taking a penalty would perhaps be admired, even by those who hold no religious beliefs – his status somehow overcoming any misunderstanding.
Mankind fears what it does not understand, which is why there can be negative reactions when we see rituals, especially those from other faiths, enacted. We cannot however always be included, so this cannot be entirely overcome even with education.
James,D., October 2006, If you though trainspotters were weird…try footballers, The Observer, retrieved 21st August 2008 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2006/oct/22/sport.comment
Zwick J., director, Sept 2002 My big, fat Greek wedding, IFC/GoldCircle retrieved 21st August 2008 from http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0259446/