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Religious Food Taboos Essay

1003 words - 4 pages

For this essay, I read articles pertaining to religious food taboos, food in feasts and fasts, and an interview promoting religious pluralism. One article from eNotes.com discusses why certain foods may be taboo, such as unfavorable geographic conditions and societal differences, among others. I feel this will help me explain why some foods are sacred while others are forbidden. Another article on the same site discusses food in religious celebration and observation; feasting and fasting. eNotes advertises itself as a resource used daily buy researchers, teachers, and students; while it has a lot of good information I realize the need to dig even deeper. I read an interview on Dowser, a news site reporting on social innovation, with Eboo Patel by Rebecca Robinson in which Patel discusses promoting religious plurality in America. Patel, who grew up Muslim in the United States, is familiar with faith based tension. In 1998, he founded the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) to promote religious pluralism. In 2009, he was one of 25 advisers selected for President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships as well as being named one of America’s best leaders by U.S. News & World Report. Dowser’s motto is “Who is solving what and how?”(Dowser)
In the first article “Taboos” I learned how and why some foods are viewed as forbidden in a religious aspect. The article further explains that many of the reasons behind such taboos boils down to people’s emotional relationships with some animals, and how some foods are viewed as unfit for consumption because they are unknown known to a culture, and how some foods, while not generally allowed, are consumed by those who migrate to other areas. For example, the Muslim religion forbids alcohol, yet some have started partaking since moving to the Western world; and that women are more likely than men to continue to refrain from alcohol. Pork products are still avoided however, and factory workers will avoid eating from the cafeteria to safeguard themselves from meat which may be contaminated with pork or pork products. I will be able to further discuss some foods that are taboo, with a reason why in each of the four religions chosen for my final paper (eNotes).
The second article, Feasts, Festivals, and Fasts, discusses how foods are used in certain religious celebrations, or holy days, just as they are (in America) on Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Superbowl parties and other secular celebrations (in America). It also discusses the difference between fasting and dieting, or food disorders as well as the reasoning behind feasting. According to According to Michael Dietler, feasts as meals different from every day domestic meals, fasts need ritual context to distinguish them from diets or eating disorders, and food in festivals are part of a ritualized exchange. Feasts celebrate times of bounty, such as animal slaughter and the end of a good harvest. Fasts on the other hand may be part of...

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