ceremony (n.)

late 14c., cerymonye, "a religious observance, a solemn rite," from Old French ceremonie and directly from Medieval Latin ceremonia, from Latin caerimonia "holiness, sacredness; awe; reverent rite, sacred ceremony," an obscure word, possibly of Etruscan origin, or a reference to the ancient rites performed by the Etruscan pontiffs at Caere, near Rome.

Introduced in English by Wyclif. Also from late 14c. as "a conventional usage of politeness, formality." Disparaging sense of "mere formality" is by 1550s.

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Definitions of ceremony from WordNet

ceremony (n.)
a formal event performed on a special occasion;
a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor
Synonyms: ceremonial / ceremonial occasion / observance
ceremony (n.)
any activity that is performed in an especially solemn elaborate or formal way;
he makes a ceremony of addressing his golf ball
he disposed of it without ceremony
the ceremony of smelling the cork and tasting the wine
ceremony (n.)
the proper or conventional behavior on some solemn occasion;
an inaugural ceremony