A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act or process art. Rites fall into three major categories:
* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation.
* rites of worship, where a community comes together to worship, such as Jewish synagogue or Mass
* rites of personal devotion, where an individual worships, including prayer and pilgrimages such as the Muslim Hajj.


Within Christianity, "rite" often refers to what is also called a sacrament or to the ceremonies associated with the sacraments. In Roman Catholicism, for example, the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is one of the three that are administered to someone who is dying or is seriously ill. Because in the years before the Second Vatican Council the Anointing of the Sick was reserved for those in immediate danger of death, it was traditionally known as the "last rites". Others sacraments that could be celebrated with the Anointing of the Sick included Penance and Eucharist (administered as Viaticum in the case of a dying person).

The term also refers to a body of liturgical tradition usually emanating from a specific center. Examples include the Roman Rite, the Byzantine Rite, and the Sarum Rite. Such rites may include various sub-rites. For example, the Byzantine Rite has Greek, Russian, and other ethnically-based variants. For a full list of Christian liturgical rites, see Christian liturgy.


In North America, Freemasons have the option of joining the Scottish Rite and/or the York Rite, two appendant bodies that offer additional degrees to those who have taken the basic three.

ee also

*Rites: a Confucian philosophical concept
*Ambrosian Rite
*Chaldean rite
*Process Art

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  • rite — [ rit ] n. m. • 1535; rit « usage, coutume » v. 1395; lat. ritus REM. La graphie rit est encore utilisée en liturgie. 1 ♦ Ensemble des cérémonies du culte en usage dans une communauté religieuse; organisation traditionnelle de ces cérémonies. ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Rite — Rite, n. [L. ritus; cf. Skr. r[=i]ti a stream, a running, way, manner, ri to flow: cf. F. rit, rite. CF. {Rivulet}.] The act of performing divine or solemn service, as established by law, precept, or custom; a formal act of religion or other… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rite — early 14c., from L. ritus religious observance or ceremony, custom, usage, perhaps from PIE root *re(i) to count, number (Cf. Gk. arithmos number, O.E. rim number; see READ (Cf. read)). Rite of passage (1909) is translated from Fr. rite de… …   Etymology dictionary

  • rite — ► NOUN 1) a religious or other solemn ceremony or act. 2) a body of customary observances characteristic of a Church or a part of it. ● rite of passage Cf. ↑rite of passage ORIGIN Latin ritus (religious) usage …   English terms dictionary

  • rite — [rīt] n. [ME < L ritus < IE * rēi , var. of base * ar , to join, fit > ART1, READ1, RATE1, ARITHMETIC] 1. a ceremonial or formal, solemn act, observance, or procedure in accordance with prescribed rule or custom, as in religious use …   English World dictionary

  • rite — [raıt] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Latin; Origin: ritus] 1.) a ceremony that is always performed in the same way, usually for religious purposes →↑ritual ▪ funeral rites ▪ ancient fertility rites ▪ These traditional rites are performed only by the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • rite — [ raıt ] noun count a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one: funeral rites perform a rite: The traditional rites of homage to the emperor were performed. => LAST RITES …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • rite — rȉte ž mn [i]i[/i] zb. <N rȉta rij.> DEFINICIJA loša ili vrlo trošna odjeća [nositi/obući rite]; dronjci, otrčine, štrace …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Rite — (lat.), 1) nach feierlichem Religionsgebrauch; 2) förmlich, gehörig, gebührend; 3) der angenommenen Ordnung zu Folge, in herkömmlicher Weise …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Rite — (lat.), in gebührender, förmlicher Weise …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Rite — (lat.), förmlich, in herkömmlicher Weise …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon