Odoodem-mahw Mukooshaywin “Friends Feast”

  • Posted on: 26 December 2013
  • By: admin

Odoodem-mahw Mukooshaywin “Friends Feast”

One of the traditional events for Christmas in Sandy Lake is Odoodem-mahw Mukooshaywin or Friends Feast.

It is a gathering to welcome departed loved ones who come to visit between Christmas and New Years.

The belief is that on Christmas Day the spirits of those who passed away return to the relatives to visit and share the celebration of Christmas.

Their return happens at midnight on Christmas Day. And their visit is celebrated with a welcome gathering anytime during that day. Usually, it’s in the evening.

People prepare plates of favorite goodies made of candies, chocolate, cookies, bits of moose meat, cheese and crackers, klik and other treats. Each plate has a name of the deceased person that is being welcomed. Sometimes, these plates contain names of several people. For those who have passed away within the same year, a plate of crackers is used.

Leading this fine assortment of goodies is a glass of juice and a plate of bread. They are usually set up on the floor and not on a table. When it has been set up, everyone is given the opportunity to express their offering to the Creator, to say thank you for still being alive, healthy and with family for another Christmas. And also to say welcome to the spirits who are here to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones.

When everyone has said their offering, a minister closes with the blessing of the gathering and food.

Each plate is then passed around and people look to see whose plate it is, pick a little bit of what is on the plate and pass it to the next person. This is done until all the plates have been passed around to everyone in the room.

The Friends Feast is held on Christmas Day to welcome the spirits and on the evening of New Years Day to say goodbye to them. There are several of these Friends Feasts that are held in different parts of the community in Sandy Lake. This traditional celebration was started by our forefathers as one of the ways to celebrate Christmas.