AskDefine | Define ceremonial

Dictionary Definition

ceremonial adj : marked by pomp or ceremony or formality; "a ceremonial occasion"; "ceremonial garb" n : a formal event performed on a special occasion; "a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor" [syn: ceremony, ceremonial occasion, observance]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Of, relating to, or used in a ceremony; ritual or formal.


of, relating to, or used in a ceremony
  • Czech: obřadný
  • Hungarian: szertartásos, ünnepélyes


  1. A ceremony, or series of ceremonies, prescribed by ritual.


a ceremony, or series of ceremonies
  • Hungarian: szertartásrend

Extensive Definition

A ceremony is an activity, infused with ritual significance, performed on a special occasion.

Celebration of life

A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human career, marking the significance of (for example):

Government ceremonies

Sometimes, a ceremony may only be performed by a person with certain authority. For example, the opening of the United Kingdom Parliament is presided over by the Sovereign (currently Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). The naming and launching of a warship will be under the supervision of its captain or a higher-ranked naval officer. A wedding will be performed by a priest or a Civil Celebrant, as in Australia. The President of the United States is customarily sworn in by the Chief Justice of the United States, and the British sovereign is always crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Celebration of events

Other, society-wide ceremonies may mark annual or seasonal or recurrent events like:
Other ceremonies underscore the importance of irregular special occasions, such as:
In some Asian cultures, ceremonies also play an important role, for example the tea ceremony.


Ceremonies may have a physical display or theatrical component: dance, a procession, the laying on of hands. A declaratory verbal pronouncement may explain or cap the occasion, for instance:
  • I now pronounce you man and wife.
  • I swear to serve and defend the nation ...
  • I declare open the games of ...
  • I/We dedicate this ... ... to ...
Both physical and verbal components of a ceremony may become part of a liturgy.
ceremonial in Min Nan: Lé-sio̍k
ceremonial in Danish: Ceremoni
ceremonial in German: Zeremonie
ceremonial in Spanish: Ceremonia
ceremonial in Esperanto: Ceremonio
ceremonial in French: Cérémonie
ceremonial in Italian: Cerimoniale
ceremonial in Hebrew: טקס
ceremonial in Macedonian: Церемонија
ceremonial in Dutch: Ceremonie
ceremonial in Norwegian: Seremoni
ceremonial in Norwegian Nynorsk: Seremoni
ceremonial in Polish: Ceremonia
ceremonial in Simple English: Ceremony
ceremonial in Swedish: Ceremoni

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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