Single Mythic Belief System and Customary Practices In an essay of 5-6 pages, answer one of the following questions.
No new research is required (it is allowed, but unnecessary): this exam provides you with the
opportunity to synthesize the themes of the course.
Consider the following quote:
"If the holidays that once seduced us as children are less compelling as we get older, or if religion provides less reassurance as life gets
increasingly complicated, and if we no longer live in a society in which a single mythic belief system permeates all aspects of our lives, we nevertheless
still, need artistic and expressive outlets for our creativity and our beliefs and values; we still need what myth and religion and festivals and holidays
provide." (Santino, p. 32)
Santino is speaking of calendar customs, but he could just as easily be writing about rites of passage. Using examples drawn from your work, the readings and
class discussions, explain how the practice of marking life through performance motivates both the emergence of new customs and the reinvigoration of established ones.
Single Mythic Belief System and Customary Practices
One of the key concepts throughout this course is that all rites are, in some ways, rites of intensification, whether that be the group observing key moments in its movement through seasonal cycles of time or the group recognizing one or more of its members transitioning through its social strata. Using examples drawn from your work, the readings and class discussions, consider the role of the group’s sense of cohesion in customary practices.
As much as we may rationalize the reasons behind customs, two factors – aesthetics and playfulness – appear to be both critical to the celebration of customs and difficult to articulate. Using examples drawn from your work, the readings and class discussions, try to locate how for lack of a better word, "joy" fits into custom.