After more than a decade of expanding research, the anthropology of postsocialist Eastern Europe exhibits a curious lacuna: ritual analysis. The absence is not absolute (e.g. Verdery 1999), but compared to most other topics ritual has been neglected. This is especially peculiar given earlier attention to socialist ritual (Binns 1979, 1980; Humphrey 1983; Kideckel 1983; Kligman 1981; Lane 1981; Mach 1992; Roth 1990), continuing attention to ritual in parts of Europe not undergoing ‘transition’ (Badone 1990; Boissevain 1992; Dubisch 1995; Gilmore 1998) and the attention paid to ritual in other ‘postsocialist’ contexts, notably China (Yang 2000; Feuchtwang this volume). The silence on a topic foundational to the discipline tends to separate current East European research both from mainstream anthropology and from indigenous ethnography, in which ritual continues to figure prominently.