This lunch hour I attended my first feast – for a former school teacher who passed away 1 year ago (yesterday). I thought the event was very interesting and fun.
The feast started with approximately 1 hour of prayer and ceremonies – via the elder. All the men sat down by the food (in the middle of the room) and we did 2 things:
(a) Smudged: It was the passing around of the sweetgrass and we motion the smoke over ourselves to ‘cleanse ourselves’.
(b) Peace Pipe: They passed the peace pipe to all the men and we took some puffs of it – then smudged with the smoke – and passed it to the next person. This happened 4 times as it circled the room.
We then had the feast – made a plate for the person that passed away 1 year ago – and we served by a few people until all the food was gone (needless to say we all took some home of which we are required not to waste).
What I truly enjoyed about the whole thing was the ‘remembrance’ aspect of the ceremony – sort of like communion in a way. I found that aspect of it very cool and included all members of the community in the feast. I think this is just another great example of how First Nations ceremonies can be incorporated into the symbolism of the Christian faith – ‘do this in remembrance of me’. You really felt a great passion of that feeling in the ceremony. I wonder why we don’t do this in ‘remembrance’ of those who walked and talked with us? Maybe some of the communion we share needs to recognize this aspect of community.
Food for thought.