I just returned from a full-sized family gathering and celebration surrounding the wedding of my sister. It was a good time, but tiring. Not only is it draining to participate in the ceremony, travel and be entertaining all weekend, but you have to navigate all the pitfalls that only family can bring.
I love the fam, but we are a large unit when you start adding it all up and very boisterous. I can only imagine the horror of outsiders at being exposed to the clan. I can also imagine that the groom’s family probably had the exact same thoughts about their own kin.
Watching (and being a part of) the interactions really brought this article home, as it were. Remains of tortoises and cattle unearthed at a site in the Galilee region of Israel show signs of a group feast at a burial site.
scientists have found the earliest clear evidence of organized feasting, from a burial site dated about 12,000 years ago. These remains represent the first archaeological verification that human feasting began before the advent of agriculture
Early man is starting to forge the bonds of society among his family and peers. By necessity, those early folks were learning to interact together and benefit from each other. They are learning to deal with resource maximization, including domestication and cultivation. They are also confronted with the lack of mobility that such a society must deal with.
I stood in the shadow of a party tent, gulping down a gin and tonic and watching two newly acquainted families do a strange social dance. The situation dictated that we figure out how to get along. That we learn the ways of each familial grouping and come together for the greater good (at least for one night, anyway…no guarantees after that!)
Though worlds apart, the event evokes images of the feast of 12,000 years ago. Early hominids forged the basic elements of very complex social systems while gathered over recently slaughtered cattle and a roaring fire. Social systems that would eventually spawn brick-fired pizza ovens, doo-wop bands and drunken karaoke on a Saturday night in the very far future.