From The Storyteller
May 20, 2019, Food
“I’ve finished my last final, and I’m heading to the Cheesecake Factory” (granddaughter’s Facebook post). She had just completed her last college final, and graduation really was her next school function. Personally, I believe celebrating with a major food treat makes excellent sense. I’m reminded of those times when my celebrations included BBQ, Chicago pizza with beer, wine and cheese, and White Castle hamburgers. Okay, I confess, my celebration foods are also found listed in menus of Mexican, Chinese, and Italian restaurants, as well as pancake houses, ice cream stores, coffee shops, and bakeries.
This confession triggered my awareness of how “celebration feasts” have existed in virtually every culture, throughout history, and pointed me to an interesting observation. People participate in them because they’re enjoyable, even when the primary joy is happening in the life of another person. In short, the person who is at the center of the celebration creates something like a “joy wave” that flows out to those who are with them.
My observation: “Celebration feasts” continue to exist simply because participating in them feels good. Example: Baby showers are given for a woman who is about to have a baby. She, with her friends, share celebration food while she opens the gifts others have brought for her. The personal joy the new momma is feeling during this baby shower is not hers alone. Her friends are experiencing it at the same time. The result is everyone’s enjoying their time together with smiles and laughter. No, I’m not suggesting it happens all the time to everyone, but it does happen often enough to accept it as reality.
Other examples of one person’s joy being experienced by others includes weddings, births, award banquets, birthday parties, anniversary dinners, engagement parties, baptisms, graduations and final exam visits to the Cheesecake Factory.
Moral: Joy is contagious.