The popular saying "you are what you eat" rings even more true in the case of faith. In fact, you could argue that, for the believer, "You are what you don't eat".
When celebrations for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (literally "head of the year"), begin, observant Jewish families, will gather, pray, and eat many symbolic foods, as good omens for the coming year.
Apples dipped in honey, for example, symbolise a wish for the sweetness of the year ahead. Of course, these foods will be prepared following kashrut, the system of Jewish dietary laws. Dietary rules serve a double purpose: the first is bringing people together; eating the same food makes convivial dining much easier.
Food is a powerful cultural label, and suddenly introducing ingredients, which are unholy, into our diet, can feel like a serious offence to our roots.
Christians decide, each year, to give up delicious luxuries - such as chocolate - for Lent, without necessarily seeing it as some form of religious penitence.
Like all rituals, eating has a great symbolic value. For example – Franesca, a soup in Ecuador is served a week before Easter – the twelve different beans in it, represent the Apostles.
The food we put into our bodies is not just fuel: it can allow us to express ideas about our moral stance, our culture and our worldview. Faith is just one of the many guiding principles that shapes what we choose to eat.
Year 9 have been having a close look, at some of these issues, in their RS lessons this term. 9S were lucky enough to watch a demonstration, by Mr Shepherd, our catering manager;
Preparing samosas have religious symbolism inherent at the Hindu festival of Diwali. The foods served to the whole school, to sample during lunch. An interesting experience for everyone; not least the students who had hands on experience making the samosas - perfectly attired in their food hygiene gloves!
Many thanks to Chartwells and Mr Shepherd.
M A Harding