Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Mormon Feast Days?

I got email from a parent looking to help their child with a report for a class at school. The task at hand was identifying the major feast days of the Mormon religion, and what foods we eat or can't eat on such days. Any help? I feel like I'm missing something - perhaps I've been out of Utah too long. Here's the best I could come up with:
Mormon feast days, based on my experience:

  • Thanksgiving (usually turkey with some cranberries, mashed potatoes, gravy, and, inexplicably, candied yams with an unpleasant texture)

  • Christmas (chocolate, nuts, too much candy)

  • Easter (often ham or other meat, perhaps a Caesar salad and green jello)

  • Fast Sundays, at the end of the monthly fast (anything in sight may be eaten, often in excessive quantities, thus ensuring that anylweight lost during the fast is more than compensated by post-fast gluttony, although this is technically counter to the spirit of the teachings of the Church)
The answer is actually fairly serious. We avoid alcohol, but can pretty much eat anything, and don't add any extra "Mormon only" feast days.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pioneer day maybe?

In my experience General Conf is a feast between sessions.

Weston said...

Though not official or even regular, one might consider mission farewells and ward potluck meals feast days. Seems most every ward I've ever lived in whether German, US, Philippine or Ecuadorian has a potluck-type dinner once a year.
Another point you might want to make is that church members worldwide participate in their own local traditions and holidays, including cultural feast days.
I know many missionaries in the Berlin mission dreaded Christmas time, as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas Day II (zweiter Weihnachtstag) were all "feast days."

Bookslinger said...

Don't forget Halloween, or whatever is designated trick-or-treat night, and the day after.

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

When I was hired at my current position, I was asked if there were any uniquely Mormon holidays that I needed to have off. In retrospect I missed a great opportunity. I responded that we were Christian and observed the usual Christian holidays.

In this ward we used to have a pot luck every fast Sunday. It was a fiasco. The deacons would raid the kitchen. The smell of cooking food would drive the kids crazy. Adults who forgot to bring food would drive over to KFC to pick up something.

Anonymous said...

Here in Utah, we commonly celebrate Break the Fast (a ward potluck on fast sunday), Bend the Fast (same as above but when not enough food shows up), the annual ward Chili cookoff, and my least favorite, Zuchinni month when the newly married couples discover why you only need to plant 1 zuchinni, not 12.

ltbugaf said...

It's a tricky question because there's a difference between doctrinal recognition of a special day, and de facto celebration thereof.

Church members commonly celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, and other special days of the year. In addition, Church units and even the Church's leading councils hold events celebrating them. One example is the First Presidency's Christmas devotional.

But is there a doctrine that calls for December 25 to be set aside as different from other days? I don't know of one. Is there a Church teaching that says we should set aside a special day of Thanksgiving? If so, when? Members and wards in the US might hold a special Thanksgiving event November, but surely a Canadian ward would do it in October.

And is the Church likely to hold a Christmas event on Christmas day? Or a Thanksgiving event on Thanksgiving day? Not likely at all.

What if a ward holds a Valentine's Day dance? Surely that doesn't make it a doctrinally special day for the Church, or for the ward.

The Church's practice is to join with the rest of the community in celebrating these "feasts." But that does not make them feasts of the Church. The feasts of the Hebrews under Moses were designated be commandment. But we're not following commandments when we hold a Christmas party or a Thanksgiving program. Rather, we are joining the Church's efforts in community celebrations.

I can think, indeed, of only two days that are "feasts" (or in other words, holy days by commandment) to the Church: The Sabbath, and Fast Day.

However, I don't usually try to make this sophisticated distinction when people ask whether Mormons celebrate Christmas. I just say, "Yes."