Creating the sacred from the profane: Collective effervescence and everyday activities

Shira Gabriel, Esha Naidu, Elaine Paravati, C. D. Morrison, Kristin Gainey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The current research examines the hypothesis that collective effervescence–the sense of connection and meaning that comes from collective events–is not just useful for understanding rare, unusual, and intense collective events, but also as a framework for understanding how seemingly insignificant and/or common collective gatherings (i.e. ‘everyday events’) may give meaning, a sense of connection, and joy to life. We found evidence for our hypothesis across nine different studies utilizing eleven datasets and over 2500 participants. The first three studies found that collective effervescence is best understood as a combination of feeling connected to others and a sensation of sacredness. The next four studies found that collective effervescence is found in common, everyday kinds of events and that it is related to various aspects of enjoying group activities. The last two studies found that collective effervescent experiences are common; three quarters of people experience collective effervescence at least once a week and a third experience them every day. Moreover, commonly experiencing collective effervescence predicts wellbeing above and beyond the effects of other kinds of social connection. Results are discussed in terms of the human need for social connection and the importance of groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-154
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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