From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
1. Ar act or series of acts, often of a symbolical character, prescribed by law, custom, or authority, in the conduct of important matters, as in the performance of religious duties, the transaction of affairs of state, and the celebration of notable events; as, the ceremony of crowning a sovereign; the ceremonies observed in consecrating a church; marriage and baptismal ceremonies.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
2: any activity that is performed in an especially solemn elaborate or formal way; "the ceremony of smelling the cork and tasting the wine"; "he makes a ceremony of addressing his golf ball"; "he disposed of it without ceremony"
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