1, 2. Ceremony, rite, ritual refer to set observances and acts traditional in religious services or on public occasions. Ceremony applies to more or less formal dignified acts on religious or public occasions: a marriage ceremony; an inaugural ceremony. A rite is an established, prescribed, or customary form of religious or other solemn practice: the rite of baptism. Ritual refers to the form of conducting worship or to a code of ceremonies in general: Masonic rituals.