What makes a celebration great? The theme? The guests? The decor? More often than not, the answer is the food! Which leads to the question, “Why is it that so many of our celebrations revolve around food?” There are many basic necessities: clothing and shelter, food and water, sanitation; even education and healthcare make that list. What makes food so sacred?
Picture, for a moment, walking downtown on a sunny, lazy Saturday morning. You’ve just loaded up on fresh produce from the farmer’s market and pass by the local bakery. You catch a whiff of pastries and are instantly hit with a flood of emotions. You reminisce about your childhood home and the fond memories of growing up. You feel safe and warm. The smell has brought you right back. Food has such a powerful link to our past. Traditional food marks annual events and has the power to bookmark chapters of your life. For us, this food nostalgia is the epitome of happiness.
Many cultures consider the sharing of a meal to be an act of unity and that consuming a meal binds guests in a powerful way. This is one of the reasons wedding feasts are so critical. It’s the first meal that two families will share together. It announces the promise of a strong and lasting bond. Consider the word “companion.” It literally means, “someone you have bread with.” Com = with; pan = bread.
It’s interesting that food lies among our basic necessities, yet it’s the only one that is universally recognized as pleasurable. We delight in food. We revel in it’s beauty and flavour. It excites us, inspires us and comforts us. So, it’s not difficult to see why almost every celebration includes meals. Guests gather to rejoice in one’s achievements, to celebrate the pleasure one draws from life experiences: anniversaries, birthdays, a new born child, etc.
So, the next time you gather with friends, family or even strangers recognize the power of food. Respect it and enjoy it, but, most importantly, remember its significance in binding you to the people around you and be glad that we don’t build shelters together at gatherings instead of cooking.