From the Greek word λειτουργια, which can be transliterated as "leitourgia," meaning "the work of the people," a liturgy comprises a prescribed religious ceremony, according to the traditions of a particular religion; it may refer to, or include, an elaborate formal ritual (such as the Catholic Mass), a daily activity such as the Muslim Salats, or attendance to Quaker Meeting. (Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, p.582-3)
Methods of dress, preparation of food, application of cosmetics or other hygenic practices are all considered liturgic activities of various religions.
In Christian circles, the term liturgy implies those Churches with an emphasis on a set traditional liturgy (e.g. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc.), where the words to be used, etc., are frequently set down formally; as opposed to those with a freer-form style of worship, composed of any hymns considered suitable (including original compositions by that church, if considered appropriate), a sermon, and any other words being largely ad libbed, certaintly not specified in any formal order.
- Bowker, John, ed. (1997) Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192139657.