Life-Cycle Ritual

Writing Assignment 2 Parameters and Standards Summary: Most religions have “rites of passage” or “life-cycle rituals” associated with the various stages in the human life. These rituals are most commonly associated with birth, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, and death (or some variation of these). For this essay, explore one life-cycle ritual as expressed in two (2) different religions studied in the second half of this course: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, or a specific New Religious Movement discussed in Chapter 13. There is more information about all of this below, so be sure to pay attention to all of the details in this document. Quick View Checklist (all of this is discussed in greater depth in the Parameters section that follows): □ Select 1 (and only 1) specific religious life-cycle ritual. □ Select 2 (and only 2) different religions from the second half of the course for the analysis of your life-cycle ritual: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, or a specific New Religious Movement discussed in Chapter 13. □ The life-cycle ritual is discussed in terms of activities, events, observances, and beliefs for each religion. □ The structure is that of a standard college essay. □ Research sources are academic, scholarly, or primary sources (scriptures or doctrines of the religion). □ Include an MLA formatted bibliography of at least 3 sources. □ Quotes are limited to religious scriptures or doctrines only and can be no more than 10% of the paper content. □ Submission is at least 600 words (bibliographies are not a part of the word count). □ Contains appropriate sentence and paragraph formats, proper grammar, and correct spelling and punctuation. □ Demonstrates original writing skills. □ Upload completed essay in the Writing Assignment 2 dropbox by the due date posted in the Time Schedule. Parameters: Here are the complete parameters of this research assignment: LIFE-CYCLE RITUALS – You will discuss one life-cycle ritual. The most prominent examples to choose from include birth rituals, coming-of-age rituals, weddings, and funerals. The choice is yours; just make sure it is a life-cycle ritual and not another type of religious ritual. Remember, life-cycle rituals are associated with the transitional periods in a person’s life. RELIGIONS – The life-cycle ritual chosen will be discussed in the context of two (and only two) different religions studied in the second half of the course: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism or a specific New Religious Movement discussed in Chapter 13. For example, you could present the birth rituals of Islam and Sikhism, or perhaps the coming-of-age rituals of Judaism and Baha’i. The point here is that your selected life-cycle ritual is discussed in the context of two of the religions from the second half of the course. The choice of these religions is yours, but make sure the religions you choose actually participate in that life-cycle ritual. Allow your research to guide you to your choice of religions for this analysis. CONTENT – For this analysis, you should describe the various activities, events, observances, and beliefs associated with the life-cycle ritual for each of your two chosen religions. For example, are there specific activities, props, and/or dietary aspects associated with the event? Does the person receive anything as a part of the ritual? Is there anything done to the physical body as a sign of the ritual? To what extent does the religious community participate? Have the events secularized in modern times? Are the celebrations publicly observed or isolated in the religious communities? Are there variations of activities, events, observances, and beliefs based on geographical or divisional/denominational differences? You will find in your research that there are a variety of different practices associated with life-cycle rituals that will be geographically or divisionally specific. In other words, what Zoroastrians do in India is different from what they do in Iran; or the practices of Sunni Muslims differ from that of Shi’a Muslims. In these situations, you should isolate your conversation to one specific group (identifying in your essay the group and/or location you are focusing on for each religion). Not everything above applies in all situations; these are just some ideas of what to consider as you prepare to write this essay. Deductions of up to 30 points will be made for errors related to the LifeCycle Rituals, Religions, and Content categories (outlined above). STRUCTURE – This paper should be done in a traditional essay format that includes: an introductory paragraph that discusses the religious concept of life-cycle rituals and what you intend to explore (the life-cycle ritual you have chosen and the religions you intend to explore); two or three paragraphs presenting what is outlined in the “Content” category above; a conclusion paragraph summarizing the content and/or noting the primary similarities and difference between the religions explored; and then a bibliography of sources consulted (see below). RESEARCH – You are expected to do academic research for this assignment. This is not an opinion paper, it is a research paper. To that end, consult and cite multiple sources (at least 3, but you really should have more) to illustrate depth of research. These academic or scholarly sources should be peer-reviewed journal articles or books (library resources), primary sources (sacred literature and official religious documents), or authorized publications of recognized religious organizations. The research sources consulted should be provided in a Bibliography conforming to the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. For more information about the MLA format visit: For useful research information, see: There will be deductions of up to 10 points for errors in this category. QUOTING – Quotes are limited to only the sacred literature or official doctrines of a specific religion and should constitute no more than 10% of the paper content. In other words, you are not permitted to quote from your research articles. You need to develop the ability to take the information that you would quote and express it in your own words as this is how to demonstrate understanding. The quoted material from religious scriptures or documents is only to support your conversation and should be used sparingly. Any quotes will need to have internal documentation done according to Modern Language Association (MLA) standards: Deductions will be assessed based upon the severity of the errors, with the points coming out of the “subject and content” section above. WORD COUNT – Your submission is required to be a minimum of 600 words, but no more than 1200 words (Bibliographies do not count as a part of the word count). Submissions larger than 1200 words or fewer than 600 words will receive no points. A college paper needs to demonstrate the skill of being thorough, yet concise. ACADEMIC WRITING – Your submission is expected to conform to academic writing standards (i.e., demonstrate the use of proper sentence and paragraph formats, proper grammar, and correct spelling and punctuation). Up to 15 points can be deducted for writing errors based upon their frequency and severity. Please note that the allowed file types are MS Word, WordPerfect, Postscript, Acrobat PDF, HTML, RTF, and plain text. No other file types are accepted.

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