Feast for the Dead

Dead, Feast for the

Annually or semiannually
An Iroquois Indian ceremony, the Feast for the Dead—the 'Ohgiwe —is an attempt to placate the spirits of the dead. Sometimes the 'ohgiwe was used as a healing ceremony, for it was believed that an offended spirit could cause sickness or loss of sleep. Often it was held in the longhouse in the spring or fall as a communal ceremony.
The ceremony itself consists of two long dances, a ritual during which pieces of cloth are waved back and forth and distributed to all the singers and dancers, and the ceremonial carrying out of the kettle or drum. There are social dances after the feast is over, and a mock-struggle over special cakes that have been prepared for the dead.
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 816
EncyNatAmerRel-2001, p. 85
EncyRel-1987, vol. 7, p. 286
HolSymbols-2009, p. 257
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
People loved the idea of dressing in costumes, and preparing a feast for the dead turned into the practice of gathering food for the living!
At Elriq, the Great Feast for the Dead, a wooden stake was planted at the grave site to invite the dead to journey into the human world, where they would be feasted and hosted as honored guests.
At the end of the ritual, the sacrificial food and drink is buried or dumped into the sea, since it is a feast for the dead, nor for their living relatives.