The Roles of Rituals in Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

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Every Culture has a set of rituals that they partake in, that are often constructed over a long period of time. Simple Actions, and special moments contain so much meaning and make everlasting memories. All rituals despite the locations they originate from, or the location they are carried out in contain the same components, they are repetitive, symbolic, remind a certain group of people about their values and beliefs, and these rituals commemorate a significant moment. For example christians commemorate the birth of christ by attending mass, and many other cultures celebrate this moment in many different ways that have in depth symbolic meaning. In the book “Guests of the Sheik” by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea rituals play a major role. Fernea’s husband Bob is an anthropologist studying the occupants of a small village named El Nahra and their culture. Fernea has documented her experiences, and adventures, and her perspective of the many rituals that the townspeople participate in such as, Ramadan, Muharram, weddings, and pilgrimages. In Muslim culture pilgrimages are immensely important and can even lead to an elevated status. Such as the pilgrimage to Mecca. Fernea is able to participate in a pilgrimage to Karbala with a couple of the towns women she had befriended. The Pilgrimage to Karbala is a symbolic, and cultural ritual in the aspect that it is reenacted every year, and is full of symbolic meaning, commemorates an important occasion and reminds a culture about their

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