A token, pledge, or sign by which we can experience some reality through another reality. Most often, symbol is used in connection with the liturgy. Through symbols, we can participate in the saving mysteries of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. This is preeminently true in the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The Word of God and the bread and wine are symbols that make present again the redemption won for us on Calvary by Christ. A symbol, in the religious sense, is cognitive and evocative. As such, it bids us look beyond what our senses tell us is present and available to us and elicits from us a belief in a more transcendent, mysterious reality that the senses cannot apprehend.  – The Catholic Dictionary



All other definitions of symbol, including those used by Cultural Anthropology, are derived from and evocative of this definition and its themes.

Even the most banal and seemingly non-religious tokens, pledges and signs fit this description.

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