Feasts (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: American Indians traditionally celebrated special occasions with special meals; feasts as part of sacred ceremonies usually included specified dishes and practices, while secular feasts usually had greater flexibility
Native Americans, in common with most peoples around the world, celebrated special occasions with communal meals, generally rendered as “feasts” in English. Some feasts formed part of seasonal sacred ceremonies, others accompanied meetings of secular voluntary societies, and still others commemorated family events, such as the visit of a dignitary, a success in diplomacy or war, the naming of a child, or the completion of a house. In general, feasts that were part of a sacred ceremony were more formalized in their structure and might include fixed prayers or practices, while the more secular feasts followed less rigid guidelines of expected behavior and courtesy.
Regardless of the type of feast, there were certain common features. Unlike European and Asian feasts, American Indian feasts tended not to be elaborate affairs, and they were presented with the same implements that would be used in everyday eating. While the meals often included ingredients and dishes that might appear at any meal, feasts usually featured choice ingredients and a wider diversity of foods than other meals.
The sponsor was expected to provide food for a feast, and kin...
(The entire section is 1985 words.)
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