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By creating a web of meaning, rituals help control the uncontrollable and explain the inexplicable. Aleks Krotoski explores whether we use rituals enough in the digital world?

From funerals to the Burning the Circle festival held every year on the Isle of Aran to surgeon's scrubbing up before an operation, Aleks explores the very human experience of rites of passage and ritual and why this very human experience can help make sense of ourselves online.

A modern day rite of passage could be getting your first mobile or social media account but do we have rituals to accompany these new keys to the adult world? And why should we need them?

Produced by Kate Bissell.

Available now

30 minutes

Clip

Stephenie Buchanan

Stephenie Buchanan

Stephanie Buchanan is thirty three years old and lives in Fresno, California, a place which is rife with gangs, drugs and shootings. When Stephenie's brother, Tarrence was shot and killed during a night out she took on the responsibility of arranging his funeral service. Stephenie decided to design a snapchat geo filter for his funeral and asked guests to take selfies and then overlay her custom made geo filter in remembrance of Terrence. 

Doctor Kenny Brophy

Doctor Kenny Brophy
Kenny Brophy is normally found at Glasgow University where he’s a senior lecturer in Archaeology. But every year at the end of summer, he’s at the Burning the Circle festival, on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. He doesn’t just go to soak up the atmosphere; he takes on the role of a Shay-man during Neolithic ritual reconstructions.

Tiu De Haan

Tiu De Haan

Tiu De Haan is a Celebrant who is passionately devoted to the creation of experiences that connect us to ourselves, to each other, and to our own creativity. She reminds people how to shift their perspective so they can connect with the wonder that wakes up the heart. She explains the difference between a habit and a ritual. 

Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee runs buycustomgeofilters.com, from Austin Texas. He designs custom geo filters for snapchat photos. The bulk of his clients request them for weddings but there's a growing demand of custom designed geo filters for funeral selfies. His company made Stephenies custom made geo filter. 

Viktor Lysell Smålänning

Viktor Lysell Smålänning

Viktor Lysell Smålänning is a ritual designer and has made it his mission to make rituals available and useful for organisations and individuals. His main focus is to use ritual to fundamentally manifest change; how to celebrate endings, transitions and beginnings. He designed his own rite of passage ritual to move from childhood to adulthood. 

Mr Craig McIlhenny

Mr Craig McIlhenny

Craig McIlhenny is a Consultant Urological Surgeon. based in Scotland.  At the Royal Collage of Surgeons in Edinburgh he performs the ritual of scrubbing up before surgery. Not only is important for hygiene but he explains why it helps to mentally prepare before entering the operating theatre. 


Professor Michael Norton

Professor Michael Norton
Professor Michael Norton from Harvard Business School has been researching ritual for the past ten years and believes that we adopt rituals in all aspects of our lives

Alexandra Samuel

Alexandra Samuel is a tech writer for The Wall Street Journal and she lives in Vancouver.  Alexandra has written about rites of passage online and offline.  She says at the age of thirteen you can enter the online world with a Facebook account and other social media accounts but unlike the offline coming of age ritual of a Bar Mitzvah also at the age of thirteen there is no ritual to prepare users. 

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