from French rallier, from re- ‘again’ + allier ‘to ally.’ (in the sense ‘bring together again’)
- 1a : to muster for a common purpose
- b : to recall to order
- 2a : to arouse for action
- b : to rouse from depression or weakness
Pep rallies are a gathering of people, typically students of middle school, high school, and college age, before a sports event. The purpose of such a gathering is to encourage school spirit and to support members of the team for which the rally is being thrown. The pep rallies are often very loud and have a lot of excitation to keep all the students excited for the upcoming game and to cheer on the team. Cheerleaders will often lead in boisterous chants and dance moves intended to get the student body involved and supporting the school's team.
Otherwise, a rally can be an action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers. Historian Eric Hobsbawm says, "Next to sex, the activity combining bodily experience and intense emotion to the highest degree is the participation in a mass demonstration at a time of great public exaltation. Unlike sex, which is essentially individual, it is by its nature collective...and it can be prolonged for hours....It implies some physical action--marching, chanting slogans, singing — through which the merger of the individual in the mass, which is the essence of the collective experience, finds expression."