What does the word "ritual" mean in chapter 1 of The Giver?  

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In chapter one of The Giver, Jonas's family enjoys their dinner before participating in the evening ritual, which is the telling of feelings. In this ritual, each family member discusses their private feelings and concerns. In this context, the term ritual refers to a nightly tradition, where everyone elaborates on their feelings and emotions. In Jonas's highly-structured, austere community, rituals and ceremonies hold special significance. The nightly ritual referred to as the "telling of feelings" is required of families and is enacted to ensure that citizens do not harbor negative feelings to themselves. Each family member must publicly express their private thoughts, which is a minor obligation utilized to ensure stability throughout the community. During the telling of feelings ritual, Jonas expresses his feelings of apprehension regarding the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve, which is when he will be given his Assignment. During the ritual telling of feelings, Jonas's parents console him about the approaching Ceremony of Twelve and assure him that everything will work out.

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In Lois Lowery's "The Giver," rituals are very important.  In the first chapter we meet Jonas, who is an eleven.  He is excited about becoming a twelve in December.  As his family sits down to dinner one evening the father asks, "Who wants to be first tonight, for feelings?"  

"It was one of the rituals, the evening telling of feelings.  Sometimes Jonas and his sister, Lily, argued over turns, over who would get t go first."

In this form of usage, rituals, is used as a noun meaning traditions. The sharing of feelings is something the family does every night they have a meal together.  Just like some families today have traditions when they all get together, Jonas and his family always did certain things too.

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