Allegrini 2018

Wine symbolizes being together and social ties, a fundamental “ingredient” of the festivities

Between religious and secular meanings, the reflections of the anthropologist Marino Niola to WineNews: “Without wine, there is no sense of community”
Wine at Pieter Bruegel’s St. Martin’s Day

The wine is the absolute protagonist of the toast of good wishes, in the glasses that cover the tables already full of gluttony and abundance at the end of the year. More than at other times of the year, the wine has a religious and secular meaning. As Marino Niola, journalist, writer, and professor of Anthropology and Myths and Rites of Gastronomy at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples said to WineNews.

“Wine, in these days of celebration, which is also the celebration of abundance, has a central role, on the level of taste, on the level of tradition but also on the level of religion. We must not forget that the god that Christians celebrate at Christmas, explains Niola, is a God who gives himself to men in the form of bread and wine. While, on a secular level, wine symbolizes, being together, the social bond, because the festivities at the end of the year are a celebration of the community.
For this reason, families and friends meet, the wine has always been a fundamental means to celebrate this bond in western society. It is not by chance that agreements have always been celebrated with wine in the West, a toast sealed a friendship, while on the contrary denying a toast, not drinking together meant not being friends. So it is clear that in a festivity that celebrates the bond, like Christmas, wine is probably a fundamental ingredient, without wine, there is no sense of community”.

In short, as Pope Francis often recalls, without wine there is no party. “Wine becomes so important on the level of religion, precisely because it was important on the secular level, on the level of relations between people, and probably comes before the secular aspect that the religious one, which takes as a model this function - adds Niola - that the wine had in the West even before Christianity, from the time of the great food “orgies” that were celebrated at certain times of the year to celebrate the harvest, the sowing. Christmas reminds the ancient orgy, in the Greek sense of “ergon”, which also means “doing things in a certain way”, prescribed, and it is exactly what we do at Christmas, we eat in a precise way, we always eat the same things, although we often have the impression that there is only a binge, has a very strong ritual content. Let’s say that we stuff ourselves as God commands!”.

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