A banquet (ˈbæŋk.wɪt, bɑ̃.kɛ) is a large meal or feast, complete with main course
Main course
A main dish is the featured or primary dish in a meal consisting of several courses. It usually follows the entrée course, and the salad course. In North American usage it may in fact be called the "entree"....

s and dessert
In cultures around the world, dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food. The word comes from the French language as dessert and this from Old French desservir, "to clear the table" and "to serve." Common Western desserts include cakes, biscuits,...

s. It usually serves a purpose such as a charitable gathering, a ceremony, or a celebration
A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well....

, and is often preceded or followed by speeches
Public speaking
Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners...

 in honour of someone.

Historic context

The idea of banqueting is ancient (see Sellisternium
The sellisternium or solisternium was a ritual banquet for goddesses in the Ancient Roman religion. It differs from other goddess banquets in that the divinities were all seated on chairs, as opposed to reclining on couches, as in the lectisternium...

, Belshazzar's Feast
Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon according to the Book of Daniel . Like his father, it is believed by many scholars that he was an Assyrian. In Daniel Belshazzar, or Balthazar , was a 6th century BC prince of...

, and Mead hall
Mead hall
In ancient Scandinavia and Germanic Europe a mead hall or feasting hall was initially simply a large building with a single room. From the fifth century to early medieval times such a building was the residence of a lord and his retainers. The mead hall was generally the great hall of the king...

s) In the sixteenth century a banquet was very different from our modern perception and stems from the medieval 'ceremony of the void'. After dinner the guests would stand and drink sweet wine and spices while the table was cleared, or ‘voided’ (Later in the seventeenth century ‘void’ would be replaced with the French ‘dessert’). During the sixteenth century, guests would no longer stand in the great chamber whilst the table was cleared and the room prepared for entertainment, but would retire to the parlour or banqueting room.

As the idea of banqueting developed, it could take place at any time during the day and have much more in common with the later practice of taking tea. Banqueting rooms varied greatly from house to house, but were generally on an intimate scale either in a garden room or inside such as the small banqueting turrets in Longleat House.

Contemporary times

Today banquets serve many purposes from training sessions, to formal business dinners. Business banquets are a popular way to strengthen bonds between businessmen and their partners. It is common that a banquet is organized at the end of an academic conference. A luau
A luau is a Hawaiian feast. It may feature food, such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi, haupia, and beer; and entertainment, such as Hawaiian music and hula...

 is one variety of banquet originally used in Hawaii. The Nei Mongol provincial government in China levies a tax on banquets.

See also

  • Banquet hall
    Function hall
    A function hall or banquet hall is a room or building for the purpose of hosting a party, banquet, reception, or other social event.Function halls are often found within pubs, clubs, hotels, or restaurants. Some are run by fraternal organizations and rented out as a fundraiser for the organization...

  • Feast
    A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

  • Beefsteak (banquet)
    Beefsteak (banquet)
    A beefsteak is a type of banquet in which sliced beef tenderloin is served to diners as all-you-can-eat finger food. The dining style originated in 19th-century New York City as a type of working-class celebration but went into a decline in the mid-20th century...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.