This weekend, Aug. 25th is the largest of the Feasts in the North End of Boston The Feast of St. Anthony. This Feast unfortunatly has become somewhat of a carnival type atmosphere, not like the old days when it was like a neiborhood home comming celebration. But none the less a good time if you like a croud. Chow Jim
Big Ugly Mich
We have fish fries and all sorts of similar fund raisers hosted by Christian churches, with the occasional Jewish offering, and they’re the best reason not to dirty up more dishes I ever heard, almost universally. While we have Islamic and Hindu houses of worship in big cities in the Midwest, I’ve never heard of them having a dinner of that stripe.
Native Americans may, but I’ve never heard of them, except at bingo casinos, which I’m not too fond of personally.
Another one that come to mind is the Feast of St. Joeseph. It is celibrated in Glouster Ma. on March 19th, a great take. Many of the Italian/Portugeese familys still do it in a big way with the open house concept and most have shrines erected in the homes paying homage to St. Joeseph. This is a true Feast with enough food and drink for everyone. Chow Jim
Jim, that’s the spirit of what I meant and I’m glad to hear the idea that "back in the day" everyone was invited to feast with the Italian families! I wish it were still that way (not to mention that they make delicious food). I also avoid the recent "feasts" which are in NYC. Just a big mess of people trying to eat sausage & peppers.
Here in Boston we have many religious feasts during the summer months. Wish I could name them all but the largest is the Feast of St. Anthony and comming up very soon also. These feasts are held in the Norht End section of Boston, an area that once was predominatly Italian, but is slowly looseing it’s charater. The whole neiborhood at one time had an open door policy in their homes with large tables of food and drink for all to enjoy. Now it’s mostly all kinds of food booths, sausage and peppers, shell fish, fried dough, pizza and the like. I try to avoid the feast of St. Anthony but do enjoy the smaller ones like the Feast of St. Lucia held on a monday. Chow Jim
Several years ago I was in Santa Fe during the time of the feast day at Santa Clara Pueblo. My SF friend is a good friend of the Naranjo family of Santa Clara and we were invited to watch the dancing and participate in the family’s meal. The home was the ancesteral one, very old and located near the plaza and kiva, most of the family lives in more modern homes nearby or in Santa Fe but this was "gramma’s house". We ate a stew out of gourd bowls but I don’t remember anything else we had, I was too overwhelmed by whole experience of seeing the ancient dances, the drums and chants and sharing feast with this family.
Aw man Dayle, you just reminded me about Calabacitas. I do believe that’s manna from heaven! NYNM if you get the chance to try it, do so. Squash, both zucchini and summer, corn, cheese, chilies….yum!
And you are welcome NYNM. I never mind answering questions.
don’t miss the state fair in sept. all of the nm pueblos will be represented and people stand in line for up to an hour to get a taste of their food.
Thank you for letting me know about your background. I think its important for all of us to understand the original peoples that lived in our continent. Also, that food has such an important role in affirming our identity.
It is a corn dance they do. They will also have one in the fall. This feast was for their patron saint as well. Given to them by Spanish missionaries, they are set so they fall together with a traditional ceremony. Santo Domingo is their distinction of origin to set them apart from the other Pueblo American Indians.
To answer the other question, yes all American Indians hold feast days to celebrate important events or to honor those who came before us. The Kiowa (of which I am one) are a plains American Indian tribe that has close ties to the Pueblo and we do intertribal feast days with them. Without the Catholic overtones they are similar. The Kiowa have a few large ones. The dances are not alike though. We have the Gourd dance, the Sun Dance and yes, the Ghost Dance is played out year after year.
We tend to have more traditional foods since we travelled. Bison, acorn, venison, Wojape (a berry pudding) corn in all kinds of ways and of course fry bread, both sweet and Indian Tacos along with plain with turtle stew or venison stew.
I’m not sure how to title this, but I had a fascinating experience this past week.
We went to the annual Feast Day at Santo Domingo Pueblo (just south of Santa Fe). It is a combination crafts fair, carnival and religious feast with native dancing (Corn Dance, I think). Anyway, after the dancing there was a large tent on the plaza with religious statues. In front of the statues was a huge display of foods, apparently religious offerings. Altough there was a special table of foods set up before the statue, the rest of the food was placed on the group.
At that point, the "audience" (Anglo and Native) was invited to the feast. We were given styrofoam trays and were able to help ourselves. The array of foods was incredible: chile stews, corn dogs, tamales, fruit salads, horno breads, even cream pies, lasanga, sandwiches…..Sodas, water and juices were also given to us. All of this at no charge!!
I had heard that in the past, visitors were often invited into the homes of the Native Americans to join them in a meal, but there were some "bad experiences" with some people just walking into homes unannounced and taking food. So perhaps this is a new way of "sharing" without invading the privacy of the homes.
The dancing itself is very moving, very spiritual, very primitive. Maybe 500 dancers in native costumes, painted bodies, ceremonial headdresses, chanting. This is not a "show" or "entertainment", it is just the tribal feast tradition. There is an unbelievable ceremony on Christmas Eve Mass at Taos Pueblo where such dancing is done after sunset around huge bonfires, often in the snow. It is a combination of a Catholic Mass in the church followed by native dancing in the plaza. No food, but definitely "food for the soul."
I don’t know if such things exist in other parts of US….
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