Food and Culture Analytical Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Media

Document 1

To that end, issues being addressed are the health benefits of the rituals, the rules to be followed throughout the ceremony, and the religious significance that the ceremonies have to the communities involved. In this case, comparisons will be made on the two festivals under the three themes as aforementioned. To that end, in the case of the Vegetarian Festival, the following sources will be usedinclude“The Chinese Vegetarian Festival in Phuket: Religion. Ethnicity and Tourism on a Southern Thai Island, White Lotus, Bangkok” and “The Vegetarian Festival in a peripheral southern Thai shrine. Religious Commodifications in Asia: Marketing Gods,” both by Cohen. In analyzing the Maasai, “Medicinal Foods and Beverages among Maasai Agro-Pastoralists in Northern Tanzania,” by Roulette, Njau, and Call, as well as Campbell’s “Maasai and Inuit high-protein diets: A closer look. Center for Nutrition Studies” were used. The sources will be utilized to provide insight on the cultural importance that the festivals have with regard to the themes stated above. The festivals portray rarity in the culture of the people with attention to religious significance and rules to be followed. Description of the Festivals The Phuket Vegetarian festival is celebrated in the month of October. There could be variations on the specific date but it lasts for 9 days (Cohen, 2010). At other times, the festival could even commence in September. Correspondingly, the festival is held in Thailand and China. The celebrations have been ongoing for centuries for cleansing and merit-making purposes. The Maasai are a pastoralist community found in East Africa mainly in Kenya and Tanzania.

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Since, Maasai are a pastoralist community it believes that the more herds of cattle and goats you own the more wealth you are perceived. Additionally, since cattle and goats is all they have, they prepare all their meals with animal products. They have a variety of beliefs as to how meals should be prepared and offered. In addition, the foods they prepare compose mainly of blood, meat, milk, herbs and fats which are all from animals (Campbell, 2015). Again, these foods are prepared in festivals such as weddings and circumcision. In fact, the mysterious healing of the troupe members was linked to the godly acts, which entailed forgiveness towards the Chinese people for repenting their ways. Today, the concept of the healing properties associated with the ritualsare still held,dear. For example, people pierce themselves with knives and other sharp objects and claim to feel no pain.

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There are a lot of dangerous stunts that are pulled by the celebrators like walking on sharp knives because they believe that they would be immune to any pain. In many cases, the young people are the participants of such stunts. It is the duty of the men to slaughter the animal since they are perceived to be strong and brave (Roulette, 2018). The slaughtering takes place far away from the homestead as the women should not participate in the activity. After slaughtering the cow the men then bring home the meat which the women are supported to prepare. The women then prepare the meal for the ceremony. Mostly, the meat is boiled and served with herds and ugali (a traditional meal of maize flour cooked with water). During these days, a lot of religious activities are performed in honor of the gods.

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For instance, on the first day, the god, Hook Jow is invited to grace the festival (Cohen, 2011). In order to summon the god, sacrifices and other ceremonies are done at the Chow Sue Kong shrine located in Talad Noi. Correspondingly, on the second day, also known as the chew Ik day, people visit and worship in the shrine. Of note is, the second day is regarded as the beginning of the festival. One of the most important ceremonies that blood is used is during weddings. Blood is a mark of life; therefore, blood is drunk during the weddings to signify new life (Roulette et al. It is also taken in other ceremonies like during birth, and circumcisions. All these ceremonies signify the start of new life and blood is the best symbol.

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Rules Vegetarian Festival There are rules to be followed when taking part in the Vegetarian festival, each of which is significant. Alcohol is also restricted as well as people who are mourning. The 9th rule prohibits pregnant women from watching rituals. Lastly, females who are on their menstrual period should not partake the event. Maasai Blood is extracted from the cow using a spear, where a small piercing is made at its neck. This prevents the cow from over bleeding which can cause death (Roulette, Njau, & Call, 2018). In the evening after the completion of the ceremony, the men are left behind where the roast meat while giving stories (Roulette 2018). On the other hand, the Maasai’s also eat raw meat. Milk is another product of animals that form the bulk of the Masa’s ceremonies.

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Milking is done only by women unless where no women are available. It is also prepared by the woman in different ways which include sour milk, fresh, raw milk and also in tea which is a common beverage during ceremonies. Further, the ten rules to be followed during the festivals connote distinctiveness in the way of the Chinese and Taiwanese people. Thus, the scholars have succeeded in identifying the culture of the people. Equally, it is evident that the foods discussed above relate to the Maasai culture and customs using the stated sources. Since the Maasai’s are pastoralist it is common sense for them to relate to what they do and again to prepare foods that are readily available and in this case the animal products. Therefore, their foods show their identity.

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J. Njau, & Call, D. R. Medicinal Foods and Beverages among Maasai Agro-Pastoralists in Northern Tanzania. Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

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