The main difference between Rite and Ritual is that the Rite is a established, ceremonial, usually religious, act and Ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value
A rite is an established, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:
rites of passage, generally changing an individual’s social status, such as marriage, adoption, baptism, coming of age, graduation, or inauguration;
communal rites, whether of worship, where a community comes together to worship, such as Jewish synagogue or Mass, or of another character, such as fertility rites and certain non-religious festivals;
rites of personal devotion, where an individual worships, including prayer and pilgrimages such as the Muslim Hajj, pledges of allegiance, or promises to wed someone.
A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized but not defined by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.Rituals are a feature of all known human societies. They include not only the worship rites and sacraments of organized religions and cults, but also rites of passage, atonement and purification rites, oaths of allegiance, dedication ceremonies, coming of age ceremony or rites, coronations and presidential inaugurations, marriages and funerals, school “rush” traditions and graduations, club meetings, sporting events, Halloween parties, veterans parades, Christmas shopping and more. Many activities that are ostensibly performed for concrete purposes, such as jury trials, execution of criminals, and scientific symposia, are loaded with purely symbolic actions prescribed by regulations or tradition, and thus partly ritualistic in nature. Even common actions like hand-shaking and saying “hello” may be termed rituals.
The field of ritual studies has seen a number of conflicting definitions of the term. One given by Kyriakidis is that a ritual is an outsider’s or “etic” category for a set activity (or set of actions) that, to the outsider, seems irrational, non-contiguous, or illogical. The term can be used also by the insider or “emic” performer as an acknowledgement that this activity can be seen as such by the uninitiated onlooker.
In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it can be a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder but obsessive-compulsive ritualistic behaviors are generally isolated activities.
A religious custom.
A prescribed behavior.
Related to a rite or repeated set of actions.
“They performed the ritual lighting of the candles.”
rite; a repeated set of actions
“They carried out the ritual carefully.”