Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Occasions for Banqueting

Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 185:
And the occasions for banqueting, or for the presentation of gifts to the banquet fund, were, not surprisingly, those that most directly affected the collective life of the social group. So that when a newcomer bought a house in the wijk, for example, a sum proportionate to the purchase price was given to the treasurer for entertainment laid on by the neighborhood. There were lying-in feasts, birth feasts, baptismal feasts, churching feasts, feasts when infants were swaddled and another when boys were breeched, birthday feasts and saints’ days feasts (not necessarily the same), feasts on beginning school and beginning apprenticeship, betrothal feasts, wedding feasts, feasts on setting up house, feasts for departing on long journeys and feasts for homecoming, wedding anniversary feasts and co-option (to a municipal regency or the board of a charitable institution) feasts, feasts on the inauguration of a lottery and the conclusion of its draw, feasts on the return of a grand cargo or the conclusion of a triumphant peace, on the restoration of a church, the installation of a window or organ or organ loft or pulpit and on the setting of a family gravestone in its floor, feasts on recovering from sickness, feasts at funerals and burials and the reading of a testament, even jokmaalen, feasts of inversion when master and mistress would act the part of servants and wait on their own retainers.

Pieter Brueghel, The Peasant Wedding

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