feast

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feast

feast, commemorative banquet symbolizing communal unity. Generally associated with primitive rituals and later with religious practices, feasts may also commemorate such events as births, marriages, harvests, and deaths. The principal Christian feasts of the Western Church are Easter, Pentecost, Epiphany, and Christmas. The greater number of feasts (excluding Sunday, the weekly feast) fall on the same day of the month each year (e.g., Christmas) and constitute the temporal cycle. Some of the more important liturgical observances are movable (e.g., Easter) and are part of the sanctoral system. Among the Jews the chief feasts are Rosh ha-Shanah, the Feast of Tabernacles, Purim, Passover, Hanukkah, and Shavuot. In the Muslim world the Islamic feasts vary according to country and locale, although there are several feast days of universal importance. The most widely celebrated are the little and great feasts following the fast of Ramadan and the feast commemorating the birth of Muhammad. In Buddhist countries festive celebrations are usually associated with the birthday of Buddha, his attainment of Nirvana, or enlightenment, and his death. In India there are many national and regional Hindu feasts. One of the most important is the feast of Holi. See also vigil and fasting.
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Maidyarem (Maidhyairya; Mid-Year or Winter Feast)

December-January, May, June; 16th-20th days of Dae, the 10th Zoroastrian month
Maidyarem is the fifth of the six great seasonal feasts, known as gahambars, of the Zoroastrian religion. It was traditionally celebrated at a point in the agricultural year when, due to extreme cold, all work came to a halt. The name comes from the word airya, which means "rest."
The six gahambars were typically joyous festivals that included such activities as special rituals and prayers, and the sharing of food. Although they lasted five days, the fifth day was the only one spent in actual celebration; the other four were for preparation and anticipation of the day's feasting, when families or neighborhoods would get together. These seasonal feasts were designed to give those who worked from dawn to dusk on farms a respite from their labors. Today, with so many Zoroastrians living in urban areas, the importance of the gahambars has diminished.
The Zoroastrian calendar has 12 months of 30 days each, plus five extra days at the end of the year. Because of discrepancies in the calendars used by widely separated Zoroastrian communities around the world, there are now three different calendars in use, and Maidyarem can fall either in December-January, May, or June according to the Gregorian calendar.
There are only about 100,000 followers of Zoroastrianism today, and most of them live in northwestern India or Iran. Smaller communities exist in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Canada, the U.S., England, and Australia.
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 69
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.

Feast

See also Epicureanism.
Barmecide feast
a sham banquet, with empty plates, given to a beggar by wealthy Bagdad nobleman. [Arab. Lit.: Arabian Nights, “The Barmecide’s Feast”]
Belshazzar’s Feast
lavish banquet, with vessels stolen from Jerusalem temple. [O.T.: Daniel, 5]
Camacho’s wedding
lavish feast prepared in vain, as Camacho’s fiancée runs off with her love just before the ceremony. [Span. Lit.: Cervantes Don Quixote]
Hanukkah
(Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication) Jewish festival lasting eight days; abundance of food is characteristic. [Judaism: NCE, 1190]
Lucullan feast
a lavish banquet; after Lucullus, roman general and gourmet. [Rom. Hist.: Espy, 236]
Prospero’s banquet
shown to the hungry castaways, then disappears. [Br. Drama: Shakespeare The Tempest]
Thanksgiving
national holiday with luxurious dinner as chief ritual. [Am. Pop. Culture: Misc.]
Thyestean banquet
at which Atreus served his brother Thyestes’ sons to him as main course. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 1081]
Trimalchio’s Feast
lavishly huge banquet given by wealthy vulgarian. [Rom. Lit.: Satyricon]
Zeus
disguised as Amphitryon, gives a banquet at the latter’s house. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 32]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
And they feasted royally and clinked each other's cups until the sun had ceased to print the pattern of the leaves upon the forest carpet.
"The tulip!" cried Van Baerle, "is to-day the feast of tulips?"
"Now busk ye, my merry men all," quoth he, "and bring forth the best we have, both of meat and wine, for his worship the Sheriff hath feasted me in Nottingham Guild Hall today, and I would not have him go back empty."
Then several yeomen came forward and spread cloths upon the green grass, and placed a royal feast; while others still broached barrels of sack and Malmsey and good stout ale, and set them in jars upon the cloth, with drinking horns about them.
"Think ye that your beggarly feast was worth three pounds, let alone three hundred?"
I do love thee for the sweet feast thou hast given me this day in merry Nottingham Town; but there be those here who love thee not so much.
Then, before he let him go, he said, "Now, fare thee well, good Sheriff, and when next thou thinkest to despoil some poor prodigal, remember thy feast in Sherwood Forest.
Yet I determined to go, and that was on the day before Zinita won leave to celebrate the feast of women.
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the oldest Marian solemnities and one of the principal feasts of the liturgical devotion to the Blessed Mother.
Eid'l Adha is one of the greatest feasts of Islam and Republic Act No.
Judging by the food itemized by the shepherds, the feast in the 'First Shepherds' Play' appears very similar to medieval Christmas feasts.
The study is the most comprehensive to date and examined the bones of 131 pigs - the main source of meat for the feasts - from four Late Neolithic complexes.