it is a ritual
Pon farr has nothing whatsoever to do with Vulcan religious beliefs! It is biology.
Partially biology yes, but there are also psychological and religious aspects to it as well. The imbalance in Spock's bodily functions would be the biological component, but there were also episodes of psychological compulsion, some of which Spock had no memory of. Given that the paper being researched was for a Anthropology of Ritual course, then the religious aspect comes into play as well.
McCoy said T'Pau was officiating at Spock's wedding. We know that Vulan's have priestesses, and that there are one or two (or more?) Vulcan religions. So T'Pau's presents could be seen as a religious authority figure. The Koon-ut-kal-if-fee (marriage or challenge) would involve a marriage ritual of some sort, should there be no challenge. And the impression I received is that there still would have been a ceremony if there were any survivors of the battle.
Spock: "We shield it with ritual and customs, shrouded in antiquity
Here is the fourth component of Pon Farr, that of social custom. I once figured that if Pon Farr is basically every seven years, and the effects last about a week, then in a (Earth) year one third of one percent of adult males would be in Pon Farr at any one time. The modern day to day business of Vulcan life would continue uninterrupted, everyone knows what's going on, and no one speaks of it.
Taboo, shame, guilt. You disappear from work, everyone knows why. You return after a certain time period, no one says anything to you.
Pon Farr is right up there with going to the bathroom at work to change your tampon.