Dictionary.com's Word of the Year is...
ritual rit·u·al (rĭch'ōō-əl)
A detailed act or series of acts carried out by an individual to relieve anxiety or to forestall the development of anxiety.
the performance of ceremonial acts prescribed by tradition or by sacerdotal decree. Ritual is a specific, observable mode of behaviour exhibited by all known societies. It is thus possible to view ritual as a way of defining or describing humans.