|1.||a large and sumptuous meal, usually given as an entertainment for several people|
|2.||a periodic religious celebration|
|3.||something extremely pleasing or sumptuous: a feast for the eyes|
|4.||movable feast a festival or other event of variable date|
|—vb (foll by on)|
|a. to eat a feast|
|6.||(tr) to give a feast to|
|7.||to take great delight (in): to feast on beautiful paintings|
|8.||(tr) to regale or delight: to feast one's mind or one's eyes|
|[C13: from Old French feste, from Latin festa, neuter plural (later assumed to be feminine singular) of festus joyful; related to Latin fānum temple, fēriae festivals]|
as a mark of hospitality (Gen. 19:3; 2 Sam. 3:20; 2 Kings 6:23); on occasions of domestic joy (Luke 15:23; Gen. 21:8); on birthdays (Gen. 40:20; Job 1:4; Matt. 14:6); and on the occasion of a marriage (Judg. 14:10; Gen. 29:22). Feasting was a part of the observances connected with the offering up of sacrifices (Deut. 12:6, 7; 1 Sam. 9:19; 16:3, 5), and with the annual festivals (Deut. 16:11). "It was one of the designs of the greater solemnities, which required the attendance of the people at the sacred tent, that the oneness of the nation might be maintained and cemented together, by statedly congregating in one place, and with one soul taking part in the same religious services. But that oneness was primarily and chiefly a religious and not merely a political one; the people were not merely to meet as among themselves, but with Jehovah, and to present themselves before him as one body; the meeting was in its own nature a binding of themselves in fellowship with Jehovah; so that it was not politics and commerce that had here to do, but the soul of the Mosaic dispensation, the foundation of the religious and political existence of Israel, the covenant with Jehovah. To keep the people's consciousness alive to this, to revive, strengthen, and perpetuate it, nothing could be so well adapated as these annual feasts." (See FESTIVALS.)
day or period of time set aside to commemorate, ritually celebrate or reenact, or anticipate events or seasons-agricultural, religious, or sociocultural-that give meaning and cohesiveness to an individual and to the religious, political, or socioeconomic community. Because such days or periods generally originated in religious celebrations or ritual commemorations that usually included sacred community meals, they are called feasts or festivals.
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