Röda skor på kistan

Samspelet mellan mikroriter, trostolkning och livstydning


  • Jan-Olof Aggedal


This article is the author's trial lecture for appointment as Reader in practical theology, held on 3 November 2016. The article is based on the author's own research and practical work with funerals for more than thirty years, but also on secondary research. The article shows the interplay between micro rituals, interpretations of faith, and interpretations of life. The article briefly discusses how micro rituals are established and investigates lines of influence between culture and religion. Furthermore, the article says something about how practical-theological research can contribute to the Church's self-reflection. When people participate in a macro ritual, e.g. a funeral service, and within the framework of this ritual create and conduct their own micro rituals, there is a correlation between the interpretations of the macro and micro rituals that can lead to certain life interpretations among those who participate. The article discusses how people use the funeral ritual to interpret their lives. The official ritual, the macro ritual, is used to perform micro rituals, i.e. private or personal rituals. Such micro rituals may, for example, be used in the framework of the funeral service by placing candles in the candle holder, decorating and putting items beside and on the coffin, as well as closing and locking the coffin. These micro rituals often have the dual function of personalizing the dead as well as helping friends and relatives in their mourning process.