Rite, ritual, and ceremony are words that seem to have similar meaning, and thus are often used as synonyms for each other. Technically, a ceremony involves a number of people, and consists, among other things (e.g. a feast, dance, music,) of one or more rituals. In a spiritual contexts, more complex rituals are often referred to as rites.

For example, a wedding ceremony would include some informal gathering, then the actual handfasting rite, and then feasting. Once, the consumption of the marriage was part of the overall ceremony

The handfasting rite itself could include a ritual to call in the spirits, one to give peace to the four directions, another ritual to consecrate the circle with fire and water etc. etc.

Rites performed by Christian