Sacred Food, Memory, and Identity of Jacobites in Kerala

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J. Devarapalli
E. Varghese


Food and culinary pattern are cultural variables. Some cultural groups have a concept of a sacred food system. This paper is a discourse on the explicit and implicit meanings of the sacred food system of the Jacobites (an ancient Christian community) of Kerala. The sacred food system is interlinked with cultural theories such as symbolism, interpretive anthropology, cultural memory, and identity. It has an active role in constructing the cultural memory of the community on local and family levels. The cultural memory creates the ‘we feeling’, that is one of the primordial characteristics of the formation of identity and group boundaries. The meanings of the sacred food system might be cultural memory, historical episodes, teachings and values of the community. The study group has various sacred foods that vary throughout the calendar year. The sacred foods of Jacobites thrived through centuries by striking a balance with the native culture of Kerala on one side and the symbolic reflections of Christianity on the other because both cultures acknowledge sacred food. The concept of sacred food is preserving ancient cuisines for the good of what they are. This paper analyses the meanings and role of sacred food patterns in the construction of cultural memory and identity of Jacobites. 

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How to Cite
Devarapalli, J., & Varghese, E. (2023). Sacred Food, Memory, and Identity of Jacobites in Kerala. International Journal of Anthropology, 38(1-2), 95-116.