Role of Athletics and Sport in Ancient Sacred Ritual

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Sports

Document 1

A lot of ancient cultures like the Greeks as well as the Indians merged religion and politics in their games and they also added the recreational element of play in their sports. This led to the development of games to the introduction of new ones. Religion can be defined as the relationship between human beings and the spiritual divine or the sacred one. Basically, this is the relationship between an individual and the spirits or the gods. Worship therefore has been named as the basic element that is always used in religion to bring man closer to their god. Nevertheless, sports ensure that there is social coexistence between individuals. Emotions as well as excitements are invoked between individuals and sports have always provide individuals with ways of earning admiration and respect.

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In bringing people together, religion has always explored the various ways that can contribute to a relationship between not only the sacred but also the elements that are profane in the society. In the ancient times, sports were known to be part of religious activities as well as festivals and this was the trend for the better part of the medieval times. This was the trend until during the central ages when sport commenced to be done in absence of spiritual leaders. This was during the classical period when there was association between worship and prehistoric games. In north America, there were games carried out by the Indians who lived there while also played role as religious rites. They were more of religion than of sports and the non-Indians were not even allowed to have a look of the games (Pierre & Voss, 2001).

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The Greeks specifically had a ritual that they could practice every four years. During this ritual, they would make animal sacrifices consisting of oxen goats and sheep and the sacrifices were made in a sanctuary in front of a temple and usually, the altar was placed at the front of the temple. The Rastafarians have this believe that thy follow their deity, jah, where they also believe that their dance, the reggae dance, should also be included their religion. For the old African culture, there was a functional unity that was created from sports and religion. Specifically, in the West Africa, wrestling contests were carried out could not have been carried out if the priests and the priestesses of the clan did not give consent.

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Consultations to the gods was carried out by the heads of both communities that would be participating in the brawling contest. Additionally, sacrifices would be offered to the gods in the shrines by the priest as well as the priestesses with the belief that the gods would bless them and they could win the challenge. There were monuments that were placed on the court to signify the presence of the gods in the courts (Tokovinine). Therefore, this is a clear identification that the venue of the games was associated with the supernatural powers. Impersonations of a god were possible and this was done to ensure that the presence of the gods was noticed. Images were used in the impersonations based on their natural characteristics as well as their roles.

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