People do like ritual, but I think that this goes deeper than our love of spectacle and colour. Ritual fulfils a human need. Monarchists, republicans, fascists and Communist tyrants have all understood its value. The Romanovs had their elaborate court protocol, and the rites of the Russian Orthodox Church. Stalin had his May Day parades, Hitler his Nuremberg rallies and we have the Changing of the Guard.
Most of this palaver is pretty daft, when you think about it, but it all adds dignity to an occasion or an institution. There is nothing like a ritual for making its participants think beyond their own appetites, and for making them feel that they belong to something greater, older and more important than themselves.
Tom Utley here