How ancient rituals help us adapt in times of transition
The key point is that such rites of passage often involve a moment of abnormal behaviour. Latin speeches and Harry Potter-style capes are just one example of this
London — This week I made a pilgrimage to the east coast of Scotland to participate in that classic ritual of modern middle-class life: a university graduation.
Since the setting was St Andrews — a six-centuries-old seat of learning — there was plenty of historical pomp. The vice-chancellor sat at a dais decorated with a coat of arms and addressed the assembly in Latin, while tapping the graduates on their heads with an ancient piece of cloth (supposedly from the Scottish Reformation leader John Knox’s breeches) as they knelt on a velvet cushion.