Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays? Why are there retirement homes for aged cows in India? What culture holds ceremonies to welcome the first salmon? More than five billion people worldwide claim a religious identity that shapes the way they think about themselves, how they act, and what they eat. Food, Feasts, and Faith: An Encyclopedia of Food Culture in World Religions explores how the food we eat every day often serves purposes other than to keep us healthy and stay alive: we eat to express our faith and to adhere to ethnic or cultural traditions that are part of who we are.
This book provides readers with an understanding of the rich world of food and faith. It contains more than 200 alphabetically arranged entries that describe the beliefs and customs of well-established major world religions and sects as well as those of smaller faith communities and new religious movements. The entries cover topics such as religious food rules, religious festivals and symbolic foods, and vegetarianism and veganism, as well as general themes such as rites of passage, social justice, hospitality, and compassion.
Each entry on religion explains what the religious dietary laws and guidelines are and how these were interpreted and put into practice historically and in modern settings. The coverage also includes important festivals and feast days as well as significant religious figures and organizations. Additionally, some 160 sidebars provide examples and more detailed information as well as fun facts.
- Provides up-to-date factual information, introduces concepts of food as being more than just nutrients, and enables an understanding of diverse religious traditions and the importance of food in people's lives
- Includes coverage of less well-known rituals and religions that are often skipped in world religion texts
- Presents material in a way that is accessible to readers without previous exposure to, or command of, sociological or anthropological language and concepts