Praising as bodily practice: the neocharismatic culture of celebration


  • Tuija Hovi Åbo Akademi University


Body, Human, Ritual -- Christianity, Pentecostalism, Psychology, Experience (Religion) -- Christianity, Glossolalia, Spirituality, Singing, Dance, Finland, Fundamentalism, Praise, Music, Holy Spirit


Rhythmic body movements and dancing, as well as singing, have been used as a means and inspiration for both individual and communal spiritual experience throughout the history of religions. This article takes a tentative look at the contemporary neocharismatic culture of celebration as a means of aiming at religious experience through collective bodily practice; namely praising, which is generally understood to take the form of singing but is, in fact, expressed also in bodily movements such as dancing. In the neocharismatic context, a celebration means a certain type of a meeting with a special focus on contemplative worship and prayer, accompanied with lively music of praise. First, the historical background of the neo­charismatic branch is outlined shortly. Secondly, the tradition of praise itself within this context is described – what are the insider definitions and what kinds of forms praise in the culture of celebration actually includes, especially in Finland. The description is basically based on internet material and the author's previous field experiences in the Word of Life congregational meetings and other charismatic Christian events. In conclusion, acts of praise as a source of religious experience are discussed.



How to Cite

Hovi, T. (2011). Praising as bodily practice: the neocharismatic culture of celebration. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 23, 129–140.