Introduction to special issue: Exploring ritual fields today

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issueScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the related restrictive measures, many of our (daily) rituals have changed. At the same time, new rituals have emerged. The usual habit of greeting each other with a handshake or a kiss has been replaced by a gesture of bowing, a nod of the head, or a hand on the heart. Weddings have been canceled or postponed to after the crisis, and funerals take place with a limited number of participants. Rituals, although appearing to be traditional and fixed, are very much contextual and subject to change. Indeed, rituals are not performed in a vacuum, nor are they independent of time and place. Rituals are deeply influenced by the cultural, social, economic, and political contexts in which they appear. Trends in culture also lead to ritual changes. Thus, the study of rituals is a dynamic field, and it is exactly this idea that is reflected in this Special Issue of Religions that is focused on “Exploring Ritual Fields Today.”
Through the contributions to this Special Issue, we want to project an image of what a ritual is today and of the contemporary ritual studies. In this introduction, we present the main theme of this Special Issue, review the separate contributions, and provide an overview of ritual studies as an academic field. We chose to approach this issue from a Dutch perspective, for that is the context in which we, as the editors and nearly all the authors, are based.
Original languageEnglish
Article number210
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Issue number210
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Rituals


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