From Entertainment Weekly:
EW: Are you religious?
Jodie Foster: No. I’m an atheist. But I absolutely love religions and the rituals.
Perhaps everyone enjoys rituals. (Even scientists.) It’s a curious enjoyment because rituals are arbitrary and without useful result. No other species has rituals. One sign of the pleasure we derive from rituals is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD takes many forms; one is excessive dependence on rituals, such as a need to do certain things, such as counting, tapping, or aligning, so often that it seriously interferes with being productive. The BBC program Am I Normal? did an excellent episode on OCD (no longer available). If you think of OCD (some forms) as addiction to rituals, the capacity of rituals to provide pleasure — or at least reduce anxiety — is clear.
Why do we enjoy rituals? I’ve already written about Christmas. Rituals and ceremonies, like Christmas and other gift-giving holidays, are a growth medium for fine craftsmanship. They encourage desire for fancy things – Christmas cards, special food, music, art, the special tools used in Japanese tea ceremonies. (Maybe the word fancy was invented to describe just these things, it fits so well.) They help support the highly-skilled artists and artisans who are advancing the state of their art. You can read my whole theory of human evolution here.