It is a stately dance, whose aim is to slow down the unseemly business of mastication.
early 15c., from Old French masticacion and directly from Latin masticationem (nominative masticatio), noun of action from masticare "to chew" (source of Old French maschier, French mâcher), probably from a Greek source related to mastikhan "to gnash the teeth," from PIE *mendh- "to chew" (see mandible).
masticate mas·ti·cate (mās'tĭ-kāt')
v. mas·ti·cat·ed, mas·ti·cat·ing, mas·ti·cates
To chew food.