Monday, 20 December 2010

Christianity And Christian Life-Cycle Rituals

      Christianity is a universal religion with more followers than any of the other world religions. Christianity is a monotheistic religion (the belief in just one God) that grew out of Judaism. The Old Testament of the Christian Bible is the same as the Jewish Torah, but Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the messiah prophesized in the Old Testament. The story of Jesus' life makes up the New Testament. Over the centuries, cultural differences and variations in the way people worship have led to the formation of thousands of different branches, denominations, and sects within Christianity. The principal divisions in Christianity are the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Orthodox Churches.
    Despite these divisions, Christians share some common beliefs: Jesus Christ is the savior, Sunday is the official day of worship, and the Bible is the holy book of Christianity. Almost all Christian churches celebrate life-cycle events with the designated rituals— baptisms, confirmation, marriage, and funeral services. The rituals and pageantryvary from the simple or few in some Protestant churches, to the symbolic pageantry in most Catholic churches and some Anglican churches, to the grand opulence in the Orthodox churches. Besides these differences in religious sects, the geographic location and the traditions and customs of local people cause rituals to vary from one country to another.
    Although these differences exist, the foods associated with Christian rituals are fairly universal. Red wine or grape juice and breads and wheat grain products have a religious significance in most Christian church ceremonies.

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