AskDefine | Define rites

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Plural of rite.

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act or process art. Rites fall into three major categories:


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.

See also

rites in Czech: Ritus
rites in Danish: Ritus
rites in German: Ritus
rites in Spanish: Rito
rites in Esperanto: Rito
rites in French: Rite
rites in Indonesian: Ritus
rites in Italian: Rito
rites in Dutch: Rite (religie)
rites in Polish: Obrządek
rites in Portuguese: Rito
rites in Russian: Обряд
rites in Sicilian: Riti (attrezzu)
rites in Finnish: Riitti
rites in Swedish: Rit
rites in Ukrainian: Обряд
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