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Ritualism by Mind Map: Ritualism

1. Kagura

1.1. Japan

1.1.1. Kagura is a form of music and dance dedicated to Shinto gods, to ask for a good harvest and abundant catches of fish and also wish away illness. In the Kojiki and other ancient books that tell us about the mythology of Japan, there are stories of one god hiding within a stone and another god dancing to coax it out, and this is said to be the origin of kagura. Long ago, The Shinto priests who took care of the shrines were the only people allowed to perform kagura. However, nowadays, many ordinary people enjoy this form of music and dance.

1.1.2. Kagura performers can be divided into two groups, such as the Maikata and the Hayashikata. The maikata dances and the Hayashikata play musical instruments. The Maikata also wear wigs called gasso and masks over their faces, and they speak between dance sequences. The Hayashikata play the odaiko (a large drum), kodaiko (a smaller drum), chochigane (a type of cymbal), and yokobue (a type of flute).

1.1.3. I feel this is a ritual as since ancient times, these dancers are devoting themselves to ask the gods for good harvest, abundant catches of fish and to wish away illnesses. Also, the formations and the movement are simple and systematic.

1.1.4. The performers will wear a Hanbok, with flowery embroideries on them, along with headgear which would have flowers on them. In their hands, they would often be holding bells, bamboo canes, sprigs of sakaki, or paper streamers.



2. Kuda Kepang

2.1. Java, Indonesia

2.2. Kuda Kepang is a traditional Javanese dance depicting a group of horsemen. Dancers "ride" horses made from woven bamboo and decorated with colorful paints and cloth. Generally, the dance portrays troops riding horses, but another type of Kuda Lumping performance also incorporates trances and magic tricks. The dancers enter into a trance like state before performing. When the "possessed" dancer is performing the dance in trance conditions, he can display unusual abilities, such as eating glass and resistance to the effects of whipping or hot coals. The performers have said that after awakening from their trance, they do not remember anything.

2.3. Kuda Kepang is a ritual reenactment of the Diponegoro's war against the Dutch colonial forces, however nowadays, Kuda Kepang is danced on special events or for entertainment. However, some have also argued that it is telling the story of the Ramayana.

2.4. The dancers ride on a ratten horse, which is designed in coloured sequins and beads. They would also wear colorful clothes and may occasionally dress as soldiers. The costume may also include small bells strung around the ankle

2.5. The people playing the music are called shaman and they will use instruments like Angklungs, Dongs and Dog-dog drums.



3. Hula

3.1. Hawaii, USA

3.2. The hula kahiko, or old-style hula, is a very distinctive form of artistic and religious expression in the Hawaiian culture that incorporates dance with mele, a combination of music, song, and chanting. Hula has traditionally been performed as a part of religious ceremonies and was a sacred ritual very different from any other Polynesian dance. It was once believed that the hula ceremony was only performed by men, but sources have confirmed that hula was performed by both men and women who were trained at halau, special studios devoted to this performing art.

3.3. The performers of the hula were under two classifications: olapa and the ho'opa'a. The olapa were the younger performers, who would carried out the dances, while the ho'opa'a played instruments such as ukuleles and guitars, and sang while kneeling or sitting.

3.4. The hula was performed to mark the occurrence of monumental events, to honor distinguished chiefs, to greet important guests, or to pay homage to the spirits. Hawaiians also used the performance of the hula to praise certain places of beauty on the islands, various plants, animals, and even war. In Hawaiian history, the hula was performed to invoke the patron spirits Laka, Kapo, Pekem, and Hi'iaka, who were associated with natural elements of the islands like forests and volcanoes.

3.5. Traditional female dancers wore the everyday pāʻū, or wrapped skirt, but were topless. Today this form of dress has been altered. As a sign of lavish display, the pāʻū might be much longer than the usual length of tapa, or barkcloth, which was just long enough to go around the waist. Dancers might also wear decorations such as necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, as well as many lei (in the form of headpieces (leipo'o), necklaces, bracelets, and anklets (kupe'e)), and other accessories.

3.6. Traditional male dancers wore the everyday malo, or loincloth. Again, they might wear bulky malo made of many yards of tapa. They also wore necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and lei.


3.8. I feel that this is a ritual as the dancers also chants, and the chants often told creation, mythology, royalty, and other significant events and people. Therefore these words have been learnt and passed down from each generation, and to the audience, hearing these chants is a mystical experience.

4. Dragon Dance

4.1. China

4.2. In ancient times, Dragon dance was often performed as a ritual to invoke rain in drought-stricken provinces. The Chinese also believe that performing the dragon dance during festivals and celebrations drives away evil spirits and ushers in good luck and blessings for the community. However, nowadays, it is being used for entertainment or for special events or ceremonies.

4.3. Long ago, The dragon prop can be made from different types of materials and is named according to the main material used in its construction. It can be made from cloth, paper or bamboo, and referred to as a bulong (布龙), zhilong (纸龙) or zhulong (竹龙) respectively. If the dragon prop can be lit up from the inside like a lantern, it is known as a longdeng (龙灯), or “dragon lantern” But nowadays, materials used in constructing the dragon prop have changed with technological advancements. The longdeng is now coated with fluorescent paint and lit up with light bulbs instead of candles for a more striking look.


4.5. Above link is the modern day dragon dance. Therefore, not only have the symbolism of dragon dance have changed over time, the way we make the dragon has also changed due to technological advancement.