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The word ritual relates to 'rite[?]', as in . rite of passage.

A ritual can comprise a prescribed form of performing worship in a particular religion or religious denomination. Rituals can express a part of a larger social doctrine, or of a personal one.

Although ritual is often used in context with worship performed in a church, the actual relationship between any religion's doctrine and its ritual(s) can vary considerably from religion to religion. Ritual is often closely connected to reverence, thus a ritual is in many cases an act of expressing reverence of a deity.

Rituals have formed a part of human culture for tens of thousands of years. The earliest known evidence of burial rituals dates from around 20,000 years ago. Previous skeletons could not be considered 'buried' deliberately, and as such lack ritual.

In psychology, the term ritual sometimes refers to a specific action or series of actions that a person performs in a given context which otherwise has no apparent reason or purpose. The term is used especially to refer to compulsive behaviors of people afflicted with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

See also: religion, ceremony, habit, Rite of Spring

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