• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Identify and analyse the different roles that food and food rituals play in the religions.

Extracts from this document...


Identify and analyse the different roles that food and food rituals play in the religions. At the dawn of time form man's early beginnings in prehistoric times, one central activity is the procurement of food. In those days, man existence was totally dependant on his food supply especially during the long winter months. As man progressed, less and less time was required to procure food but nevertheless food in its myriad forms remains a central part of man's daily life. With progress more time and thought was brought to bear on the many mysteries of the universe and man's surroundings. One of the most ancient of man's practices is divinity. Edward Tylor described religion as "the belief in Supernatural Beings". Richley Crapo further elaborated religion as "the belief in supernatural power, symbolic expression of feelings, and rituals performed in order to influence the nonhuman realm. Unexplained and mysterious occurrences were attributed to the divine and religion became another central part of man's life. The function of food and eating was, and still is, not restricted to the biological aspects. Food is the center of a complex value system and an elaborate ideology centers about it. Religious beliefs, rituals, prestige systems, etiquette, social organization, and group unity are related to food. ...read more.


Allowable meats must be slaughtered in a specific manner to prevent undue suffering and then treated with cold water and coarse salt to draw out the blood. Fish with fins and scales are kosher, but shellfish, shark, sea mammals, frog, turtle and octopus are prohibited. Birds raised for meat is kosher if prepared under the supervision of a rabbi. Wild birds are prohibited. Animal by-products, such as eggs, are permitted if they come from a kosher species. Dairy products are kosher, but they must be kept separate from meat to maintain a biblical prohibition that a "kid cannot be cooked in its mother's milk." Eggs may be eaten with either milk or meat. In her book, "The Foods of Israel Today," author Joan Nathan explains that in the ancient land of Israel, all Jews used olive oil as the main cooking oil. But as they moved into countries in Northern and Eastern Europe, olive oil was hard to come by, so they had to rely on butter and beef and poultry fats because lard (pork fat) was prohibited. Jewish feast days include Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Passover, and Shavout whose dates vary because Judaism uses a lunar calendar. Specific foods are associated with the feasts. Complete fast days with no food or water from sunset to sunset include Yom Kippur and Tisha b'Av. ...read more.


Some believe that unless they personally slaughter an animal, they may eat its meat. Some of these practices are required by the God and described in scriptures such as the Christian Bible, the Muslim Quran and Hindu Code of Manu. Some are decreed by religious or political leaders. Yet others arise through adaptation or co-option of existing food practices for religious purposes. Religious food practices are dynamic and are subject to continuous change and adaptation. Changes may occur as result of religious reform or revisionism, acculturation, individual, family or community adaptations. In conclusion, it can be seen that FOOD in all its myriad forms is present in all major religions. It is represented as Food itself for sustenance; as symbols that convey issues and morals; as representations of sacrifice and piety. Throughout all religions, Food -- essential to the life of the body -- takes on symbolic meanings for the life of the soul. References Leopold, Joan Culture in Comparative and Evolutionary Perspective: E. B. Tylor and the Making of Primitive Culture. (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1980) Crapo, Richley H. Anthropology of Religion: The Unity and Diversity of Religions (2003) Fieldhouse P. Food and Nutrition: Customs and Culture. (1986) Booth, D.A. Psychology of Nutrition. Taylor & Francis, London. (1994) Bryant, C.A. The Cultural Feast: An Introduction to Food and Society. Courtney, A. Markesbery, B.A. & DeWalt, K.M. Soler, J. The semiotics of food in the Bible. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Anthropology essays

  1. This Research paper will present an overview of traditional Chinese marriage system and customs ...

    Since marriages were arranged based on considerations of those, a matchmaker was necessary for the parents to learn more about prospective sons- or daughters-in-law. According to The Rites of Zhou (??), official and private matchmakers existed before the Qin Dynasty.

  2. “In WhatWays Did Food and Drink Symbolise Power and Authority In Ancient and Early ...

    important than social identity in classical era.4 During the middle ages religion and faith represented by the Christian Church dominated virtually every aspect of life in much of Western Europe. The pre-eminence of religious doctrine translated into ecclesiastical power and authority that heavily influenced political ideology, culture and society.

  1. Durkheim on religion. In his text Elementary Forms of Religious Life Durkheim begins his ...

    [DP14]You've stated it, but you have to argue why this is the case. [DP15]Are not dreams of incredible importance in many traditions? [DP16]Do you mean naturalism? - naturism as a term is typically associated with nudism - not what I think you are getting at.

  2. Are menstrual taboos simply a form of womens subordination?

    its functions and origins, there have been advances in trying to understand the considerations needed to understand menstruation in a cultural context. These considerations include the possibility of intracultural diversity in its meanings, the varying contexts of menstrual symbolism, and the interface between biological and cultural systems in the making of human society.

  1. Free essay

    Dark Tourism: manipulating tourists interpretation

    point and a controversial conclusion to the 'experience''. In an interview with the Auschwitz' State museum, the Jew interviewer Cole, D. (1992) discovered that other artefacts and structures have been imported from various peripheral sections of the camp and set out in such a way as to create a 'chronologically

  2. Free essay

    Discuss some of the key ways that anthropologists have proposed people think through animals ...

    On a related note, Douglas refers to the idea of food being used to display relations between the castes in India, where there is a strong association between cooking and pollution (1966). Douglas illustrated this in Purity and Danger, explaining that 'the cooking process is seen as the beginning of

  1. Form and Function: Primate locomotion

    This is indicative of more musculature in the shoulders and biceps, as thick bones are required to support them.

  2. Effects on economy due to a food outlet

    and purchase hamburgers if they can utilize their own meat to prepare their own burgers at home. The population would not benefit from the expansion of Canuck Burger Corporation economically as well. If per say the Canuck Burgers Corporation did do well in the market, the profit made would not

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work