This course examines the basic religious rites and ceremonies in major religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Shinto, Ancient Greek and Egyptian faiths within the perspective of the comparative study of religion. Discover the essential difference between the prayer and meditation, investigate the various forms of offerings and sacrifice, and explore the meaning of sacred gestures, formulas and diagrams. We will compare the rites of initiation and purification, wedding ceremonies and funeral observances, and look at the role of water and fire, wine and music in rituals. Find out why some confessions forbid the images of their gods or prophets while others have developed elaborated iconography. Finally, you will learn about the functional features of the places of worship from the megalithic structures like Stonehenge and Celtic sacred groves to the richly decorated cathedrals of Vatican and Hindu temples.