Civil religion is an institutionalized set of beliefs about a nation's past, present, and future and a corresponding set of rituals. Both the beliefs and the rituals take on a sacred quality and elicit feelings of patriotism.
Civil religion forges ties between religion and a nation's needs and political interests. A nation's values such as individual freedom and equal opportunity and rituals such as parades, fireworks, singing the national anthem, and 21-gun salutes often assume a sacred quality.
Even in the face of internal divisions based on race, ethnicity, region, or gender, national beliefs and rituals can inspire awe, respect, and reverence for the country. These sentiments are most evident during times of crisis and war and on national holidays that celebrate important events or people, in the presence of national monuments or symbols.